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RCMP investigating private addiction rehab centres in Alberta
Published Thursday, August 18, 2016 11:01AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 18, 2016 12:01PM MDT
RCMP are investigating two private addiction treatment centres, called Addiction Canada, after employees in Alberta claimed they were not being paid.
John Haines, the man who owns the rehab centres in Sundre and Glendon, also runs three facilities in Ontario where he is currently facing several charges including fraud of more than $6-million, money laundering and drug trafficking.
In early August, seven former employees, including managers, alleged they were never paid, that medical staff were laid off and clients were not provided the care they were promised.
In an interview with CTV, Jennifer Scheible said she worked for a few weeks without pay before leaving, but some of her other colleagues carried on for months without receiving their paycheques.
Scheible said she and many former employees stuck it out for so long because they were concerned about the clients.
“I enjoyed working there and I loved the clients and staff,” said Scheible.
RCMP would not provide details into the investigation and would only confirm that officers were looking into complaints.
Wendy Caron, a former client who now lives in B.C., said she paid $26,000 for treatment with Addiction Canada. Caron said she was promised a five-star resort equipped with a gym, massage therapist, and high-end meals prepared by a red-seal chef. She told CTV none of those amenities were available when she arrived on site.
Her biggest concern, however, was getting the care she needed for her addiction.
“It was horrible,” Caron said. “I wondered if [staff] would come in or not. Not only are you deathly ill, you were thinking if this guy doesn’t pay them, I might not have them tomorrow.”
A spokesperson with Addiction Canada denied allegations about non-payment, adding the company is restructuring and that all bounced cheques have been replaced.
“By no means at all are any of the clients in any way, shape or form in any type of danger or not being treated properly through their therapy,” said George Hirschler, Addiction Canada’s National Director.
As for the RCMP investigation, Hirschler said in a statement:
“We are not aware of any current RCMP investigation but if there is, we will remain transparent and cooperative. As we at addiction Canada maintain that we provide the very best in drug and alcohol addiction treatment as many of our successful paths and present clients will attest to.”
Fifty-one former employees of both locations have filed complaints to the provincial labour board.