Time to Fix Long Term Care

May 20, 2020

It’s time to fix long-term care in order to ensure better support and health outcomes for seniors, fair wages and working conditions for workers, and appropriate staffing and workloads. 

At the May 2020 regular meeting, the VDLC adopted the following motion on this issue: 

Subject: Long Term Care Homes

BECAUSE policies and legislation brought in by the former BC Liberal government starting in 2002 resulted in widespread privatization and contracting out in the long-term care sector; and

BECAUSE these policies and legislation opened the door for many long-term care operators to opt out of the common master agreement that covered all funded long-term care homes and hospitals in 2001; and

BECAUSE this master agreement provided for standard wages and working conditions for care home staff regardless of whether it was operated by a health authority, a non- profit group or a for-profit company; and

BECAUSE There is now a wide range of wages in the long-term care sector, for example some care aides earn as much as $7 an hour less than they would under the master agreement; and

BECAUSE this discrepancy in wages and working conditions has resulted in a critical recruitment and retention crisis that was undermining the quality of care for B.C. seniors, and increasing workloads for care staff to dangerous levels prior to COVID-19 pandemic; and

BECAUSE Health care workers required two and more jobs in order make ends meet which became a significant challenge to cohort workers to a single site to prevent the transmission of the disease. Our government recognized the inequity as a barrier and agreed to level up the wages to minimize the economic impact on workers as the orders rolled out; and

BECAUSE the Health Services of CUPE – the Hospital Employees’ Union – is campaigning for a permanent restoration of common wage standards in the long-term care sector to address the recruitment and retention crisis, improve care for seniors and make workplaces safer; and

BECAUSE the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union is also campaigning on this issue, calling on the BC government to phase-out for profit residential seniors’ care in B.C. in order to stabilize working conditions, ensure quality care, and provider safer conditions especially given the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities,

THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL join with the Hospital Employees’ Union (the BC Health Services Division of CUPE) and BC Government and Service Employees’ Union in lobbying the B.C. government to permanently restore wages and working conditions to a common standard across the government-funded long-term care sector, and move toward public not-for-profit ownership and operation of all long-term care facilities.

Visit the following links for more information, and to take action: 

Hospital Employees’ Union – Care Can’t Wait

BC Government and Service Employees’ Union – Seniors Deserve Better

Canadian Labour Congress – Canada’s unions call for overhaul of long-term care system

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