The organization representing private residential care facilities in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) wants an increase in the daily amount the counties pay them for housing subsidized residents in their facilities.

On June 26, Nicole Normand and Normand Tremblay of the Prescott-Russell Private Residence Association addressed UCPR council, requesting that the counties increase the amount.

Currently, the counties subsidize 440 residents at $55 per day.  The association wants an 83 cent per person, per day increase.The 83-cent per resident per day increase works out to an additional $133,298 per year (440 residents x .83 x 365 days) to subsidize residents in private residences.

In a letter it submitted to council, the association stated that the Social Services Department had told them in April 2019 that the rate would increase by 1.5 per cent in July.  However, the department told the association in June that this year’s increase was cancelled.

The association claimed that whenever there are increases in Old Age Security or Ontario Disability Support Program benefits, the counties’ daily subsidy decreases.  But, the association wants an increase to complement the increases that have been made through those government programs and sees 83 cents as an acceptable compromise.

In response to the association’s delegation, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux noted that that the operational costs for the counties go up every year as well.

Prescott-Russell is unique among Ontario county governments because it provides the daily subsidy to residents of private facilities even though it is not required to do so.

The UCPR does a lot for people living in subsidized residences compared to other jurisdictions, according to Casselman Mayor Daniel Lafleur.

With the 2019 budget already in place, council had to decide how to address the issue.

Lafleur suggested referring it to the Social Services Committee.

“I don’t think we have a choice at this point but to refer it to the committee in September,” said Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien.

Alfred and Plantagenet Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin said it should be considered in the next budget process.

However, Parisien also suggested revisiting the issue in August.  Social Services Director Sylvie Millette will be making a presentation on the background of the daily subsidy for people living in private residences at the next UCPR Committee of the Whole meeting.  It takes place on August 12 at 9 a.m. at the UCPR administration building on Court Street in L’Orignal.