Health Minister Adrian Dix and Mental Health Minister Judy Darcy wait to go into the B.C. legislature to introduce bill repealing measures that allow seniors care home operators to get out of union contracts. Darcy headed the Hospital Employees’ Union during a long court battle with the B.C. government. (Twitter)

B.C. union celebrates end of senior care ’contract flipping’

Adrian Dix says stability is key to increasing care standards

The Hospital Employees’ Union is cheering the B.C. government’s move to repeal legislation that took away union successor rights and allowed care home operators to get out of negotiated employment contracts.

Health Minister Adrian Dix introduced legislation Thursday that repeals legislation from 2002 and 2008 exempting care home employer and subcontractors under the B.C. Labour Relations Code, allowing them to avoid successor rights and common employer declarations when operation of a care home shifts from one contractor to another.

The legislation led to thousands of care home employees being laid off and then offered their jobs back with reduced wages and benefits, Dix said.

“Fragmentation of health care delivery, the disruption of care relationships, and more precarious and lower-paid work is the direct result of these mean-spirited laws,” said Jennifer Whiteside, secretary-business manager of the HEU.

Dix said Thursday the new provisions will not be implemented immediately, to allow the operators to adjust. Stability is urgently needed to attract more care aides and bring facilities up to the province’s standard of more than three hours per day of personal care per patient, he said.

RELATED: Bathing, meal times need work, residential care survey finds

Care aides provide “the most important personal care in the life of a senior,” and there are 29,000 currently in government and contracted care facilities, Dix said. With a wave of retirements among workers and a rising tide of elderly baby boomers in B.C., a labour shortage is already being seen in community care, hospitals and seniors homes.

After completing a 2017 survey of care home residents and family members, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie summed up the message for government regarding seniors who don’t get the provincial standard of care visits, and get only one bath a week: “more staff, more freedom and more conversation.”

In its submission to the B.C. legislature finance committee in October, the B.C. Care Providers Association called for an additional $130 million to be spent to improve care, including community care visits that allow seniors to stay in their homes.

Dix said additional money is going to care homes, with more directed at private care facilities that have used the contract flipping and have fallen farthest behind in meeting provincial standards.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Living life to the fullest with Alzheimer’s – an Okanagan couple’s story

Stella Adams and Willi Brombach are making their way through the uncharted waters of Alzheimer’s

Freezing rain, some snow forecasted for Okanagan-Similkameen-Shuswap

Environment Canada forecasting freezing rain and snow for much of the region

Summerland’s solar power array on schedule

Solar project nearing public consultation stage

Growth in many ways for Summerland

Looking back on 2018 and looking forward to 2019 with Mayor Toni Boot

Video: New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

We toured Penticton’s newest creator space

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Study finds more than half of food produced in Canada wasted

The study released Thursday is the world’s first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates

Snowed-in Austrian nuns insist they’re staying put

Authorities have deployed heavy equipment to clear snow and fallen trees blocking the road to the monastery

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Most Read