Government should prevent closure of Ally Centre

October 5, 2016

For Immediate Release

SYDNEY — In light of news of the federal government’s decision to stop funding the Ally Centre of Cape Breton, the Nova Scotia NDP is calling on the McNeil government to intervene.

On Friday, the Executive Director  of the Ally Centre received a letter from the Public Health Agency of Canada saying that it was not eligible for funding. The Ally Centre operates a needle exchange program throughout Cape Breton Island, as well as a health clinic and food bank.

“The Ally Centre provides an essential service to people in Sydney and across Cape Breton,” said NDP Community Services Critic Marian Mancini. “At a time when food bank use is up significantly in Nova Scotia, we need to be providing more support to communities—not less.”

Last year, the organization distributed 623,000 syringes—nearly 30 per cent more than in the previous year.

Although Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking met with the federal health minister to discuss reinstatement of funding, the organization’s future is still in limbo.

“Cape Breton has the highest rates of Hepatitis C and drug overdose in the province,” said NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson. “The effects of removing these services would be devastating.”

Although the Ally Centre is a federally-funded service, it is the responsibility of the Nova Scotia government to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.

“Stephen McNeil should commit to keeping the Ally Centre open, and work with the federal government to ensure long-term sustainable funding,” said Mancini.


For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.