OTTAWA – The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will outsource its in-house publishing division and cut the position of senior advisor on social justice.
"No area of the conference is not affected by the effort to cut down expenses and maximize productivity," CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Patrick Powers said. "We have had to rethink the way we do things, to do more and to cost less."
"For many years the bishops have been grappling with finances," he said. "The dioceses cannot afford to pay the amount of money required to keep the conference running."
Powers said he has met with CCCB employees to explain that conference must rein in spending "or the bank will close our doors."
"It's always so difficult to see people lose their jobs," he said. "The bishops don't take that lightly."
Powers said the bishops voted to eliminate Publications Service in its current form. "We don't have the funds to keep it technically up-to-date."
Details of the outsourcing will be revealed later next month after the arrangements are finalized, he said. Eight to 10 jobs could be affected.
The bishops have been studying the issue of CCCB Publications for 15 years, Powers said. The key, however, was finding a reputable North American company with a reputation for treating its employees well.
Francois Poitras, the senior advisor for social justice, has also been eliminated, said Powers. Poitras occupied the position of secretary to the Justice and Peace Commission as part of his duties.
"This is no reflection on his work as a theologian," Powers said. "We're grateful for the work he's done."
The role of senior advisor to the Justice and Peace Commission was never a fulltime responsibility, as Poitras and other advisors on the CCCB staff perform many other duties as well, Powers said.
Executive director of Citizens for Public Justice Joe Gunn expressed disappointment with the decision to make Poitras' position redundant.
"I feel quite sorry for the four bishops on the Commission for Justice and Peace," the former CCCB social affairs director said.
"I hope the bishops get the help they need to fulfill their mandate."