The Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been put on probation for one year by the B.C. Division of the of the CMHA. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been put on probation for one year by the B.C. Division of the of the CMHA. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Heath Association on probation

Misconduct by board, management among the complaints

The Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been placed on probationary status for one year after an independent investigation.

A press release from the B.C. Division of the CMHA said the parent organization will oversee a plan aimed at improving accountability, transparency and service delivery at the Cowichan Valley branch.

The action comes after CMHA BC received a report from Joanna Gislason, a Victoria lawyer who conducted an investigation into three complaints about the Cowichan Valley branch received in late 2019.

The Cowichan Valley branch requested an external investigation which CMHA BC responded to immediately.

The first complaint alleged discriminatory and unfair treatment of a tenant, and the second complaint was made by a former board member and alleged unfair treatment and a failure to engage in a respectful resolution process.

The third complaint was broad in nature and expressed general concerns about mismanagement at the branch.

RELATED STORY: DUNCAN’S OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE TO MOVE THIS FALL TO NEW WELLNESS CENTRE

But concerns that the Cowichan Valley branch is not spending funds appropriately or not accounting for spending properly were not substantiated by the investigation and the branch was compliant with accounting requirements, including completing an annual audit and posting its audited financial statements and annual report publicly on its website, according to the report.

“However, based upon the findings of the investigation, the branch can do more to actively communicate with funders and community stakeholders while developing processes to facilitate greater transparency,” the report said.

As part of her investigation, Gislason interviewed 28 witnesses and reviewed detailed records and information.

Her report goes on to identify a number of issues at the Cowichan Valley branch regarding governance, management, and operations within the branch’s housing programs.

The report presents a number of findings with recommendations to bring the branch into compliance with policies and CMHA values.

They include that the branch’s housing policies and practices undermined and interfered with a tenant’s security, the conduct of two staff members was inappropriate and interfered with a tenant’s security and the branch’s housing program would benefit from a thorough review and redesign.

“We have now completed the external investigation and we are fast-tracking solutions to ensure that the branch adequately responds to the problems identified in the findings,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of CMHA BC Division

“It is also important to emphasize the report also found that the branch provides incredibly important services, thanks to a group of skilled, compassionate, and hard-working staff. These recommendations will ensure that care reaches those who need it.”

RELATED STORY: KAMLOOPS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ON LEAVE AMID CANADIAN MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION PROBE

The press release said the CMHA’s provincial office is satisfied that current board members at the branch cooperated fully with the investigation and will take the next critical steps to respond to the investigation’s findings and recommendations.

During the year on probation, the provincial office of the CMHA will oversee the branch’s plan to implement all of the recommendations included in the investigation report.

A failure to satisfactorily implement the plan could result in the branch no longer being able to use the “Canadian Mental Health Association” name.

“Going forward, priority will be placed upon providing training related to board governance, cultural safety and humility, a review of all housing programming, dispute resolution, and ongoing transparency with all key accountability and operational documents,” the press release said.

“Further, the branch will review all of its policies related to its services to ensure that they do not conflict with provincial legislation. To improve the delivery of services to people across the province, the recommendations included in this report will be shared with CMHA branches across the province.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

mental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read