Talbot House funding pulled by province

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CBC News

Posted: Apr 16, 2012 9:20 AM AT

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2012 9:31 AM AT

The future of Talbot House Recovery Centre in Cape Breton is uncertain after the province pulled its funding because it was not following proper procedures.

The Community Service Department pulled the home’s funding after a review of its operations, Dr. John Gainer, chairman of the home’s board of directors said. He said the province found that the home was not following proper procedures.

Neither the province’s investigation of Talbot House, nor the board’s response, has been made public.

But Gainer said the report is riddled with errors.

“If the conclusions that they’ve drawn are based on what we consider to be inaccurate information, then it renders the report, in our view, unbalanced, prejudicial, biased and it does, again, in the opinion of the board, represent a misrepresentation of the history, the governance and the operation and perhaps, more importantly, the outcomes of Talbot House,” he said.

The provincial review began after Rev. Paul Abbass, executive director of the facility in Frenchvale for 17 years, stepped down in February after a former resident made unspecified allegations about him.

Cape Breton Regional Police announced last week there are no grounds to lay criminal charges against Abbass.

The addictions treatment facility shut its doors in early March after an interim executive director abruptly quit.

Gainer said the unfounded allegations against Abbass have touched off a spiral of events.

“The effect of these allegations and residual effects, if you will, not only to Father Abbass, but to residents of Talbot House, the staff, the community, have been absolutely immeasurable and catastrophic,” Gainer said.

The province plans to call for proposals for a facility to replace Talbot House, he said, and the board has been told that it can apply.

Talbot House received $420,000 from the Department of Community Services last year. The 53-year-old facility outside of Sydney normally had 18 residents who stayed for between three and six months.

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