By Letter to the Editor on November 19, 2019.
Many Lethbridge residents are probably unaware that health-care services for Albertans with vision impairments have been drastically reduced this year. Most Albertans have long associated these services with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), but as of this year there is a new player on the block, at least in Alberta. It is called “Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta (VLRA).
VLRA is tasked with providing many of the services previously provided by CNIB, but with less money. As a consequence, four of the six regional offices in Alberta were shuttered on Sept. 20. These were the Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Grande Prairie offices. The closure of these regional offices was accompanied by the reduction of VLRA staff from 27 to 16. Clients living outside Calgary and Edmonton must therefore wait until over-stressed staff in the two remaining offices can schedule visits to their communities.
I know Albertans voted for fiscal restraint in the last provincial election, but I am not sure they intended to impact the most vulnerable Albertans in such a hurtful manner.
Robert D. Tarleck