Calgary-based Wood’s Homes, which operates the Trailcross Treatment Centre in Fort Smith, has chosen not to submit a proposal to run the centre again – and neither have any other organizations.

The centre employs approximately a dozen people, a significant number in a small town presently concerned 70 jobs could be lost if Aurora College’s headquarters is moved to Yellowknife.

The Fort Smith Health and Social Services Authority first posted a call for proposals on May 7 . When no proposals came in by the June 15 deadline, the closing date was updated to September 14.

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Wood’s Homes spokesperson Sylvia MacIver confirmed the last day of the company’s five-year contract is October 31.

David Maguire, NWT Health and Social Services Authority spokesperson, said he was unable to speculate what would happen if no proposals are submitted by the revised closing date, or if six weeks would afford enough turnaround time between contractors to ensure no gap in services.

Trailcross provides tailored mental health treatment to NWT youth aged 12-18, who have been referred to the program. The centre can accommodate around six teens at a time.

In an email, MacIver wrote, “Our contracts (two of them, each for a five-year term) involved work with children and families in the North that Wood’s Homes felt honoured to do in conjunction with the NWT government for the past 10 years.

“Our decision to step aside to let another organization take on this very meaningful work is simply related to increased demands on our own programs.”

Wood’s runs more than 40 children’s mental health programs and services throughout Alberta.

Multiple sources told Cabin Radio Wood’s has offered employees a month’s severance pay if they stay until October 31, as well as the opportunity to relocate to one of the company’s Alberta-based programs. Wood’s did not confirm this when approached by Cabin Radio.

The only similar program for youth in the NWT is the Territorial Treatment Centre in Yellowknife, a family centred program run by the non-profit Unlimited Potential Community Services. The program serves children aged 8-12 with behavioural, emotional, and psychiatric challenges.