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'It could have been me': Care workers rally for protection changes
CALGARY -- Friends and former colleagues of a Calgarian care worker killed in October gathered on Sunday to once again call for policy change.
Deborah Onwu was stabbed to death on Oct. 25 while working at an assisted-living home. Friends say she was working alone at the time of the incident.
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Police believe Onwu was in an argument with an 18-year-old man at the time. That man, Brandon Newman, has been charged with second-degree murder.
On Sunday, about 80 people gathered to speak out against the situation they say led to Onwu’s death.
“The system has failed her,” said friend Rebecca Opoku. “There shouldn't be any times that a staff [member] is working alone. We are asking for constant monitoring of homes that individuals are placed in.”
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CUPE, the union that represents many care workers in Alberta, attended the rally.
Union representative Rory Gill said it’s up to the provincial government to enact change. He would like to see better training for staff and more situational awareness and preparedness for those starting their shift.
“Get in touch with your MLAs, talk to them directly and say '[Workers are] literally putting their lives on the line. It's your job to make sure they're as safe as possible.'”
Opoku echoed the sentiment, and said the group isn’t done pushing for change.
“We will fight for her, because I know she would want for us to do this.”