UPDATED AT 2:30pm with additional information, Ministry statement

One of five women’s shelters that serve Cochrane and Timiskaming Districts is closing… and already not accepting new residents and their children.

The Canadian Mental Health Association operates Tranquility House in Matheson.  It confirms its closure, which becomes official on April 12th, but refers all other inquires to the provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

The ministry declined an interview, issuing a statement instead.  It says CMHA terminated its service contract with the province… and the services have been operating at below 50-percent capacity for several years.

CMHA says the other shelters – two in Timmins and one each in Kapuskasing and Haileybury – are NOT closing.

FULL STATEMENT FROM ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES:

The ministry funds Canadian Mental Health Association of Cochrane Temiskaming (CMHA-CT) to deliver services to women and children fleeing domestic violence.  

The CMHA-CT decided to terminate their service contract with the ministry for Violence Against Women programs, as these services are not part of their core business. 

These agency’s Violence Against Women services have also been operating at below 50% capacity rate for several years. 

All women currently receiving services either through Tranquility House or through one of the community-based programs will be referred to appropriate services as seamlessly as possible.

No women will be at risk because of this decision.  There are sufficient services in the area to meet the needs of women requiring these supports.

We are committed to the safety of abused women and their children by providing safe shelter, crisis intervention and crisis counselling, outreach and transition housing support services so they can live free of violence.

The ministry will continue to support the agency and where necessary work with partner agencies so that adequate and quality services continue to be provided to women and their dependants without disruption.