Alberta's New Democrats says it's time for the provincial government to end a labour dispute at a Calgary seniors home.
Ninety workers at Monterey Place who cook, clean and care for seniors were locked out two months ago by the private company that owns the centre.
Their jobs are being done by replacement workers.
It was a similar story at two other seniors homes in northern Alberta this summer, but in those disputes the government stepped in. The province said the quality of care to seniors was dropping so it imposed a form of binding arbitration.
David Eggen, an NDP MLA from Edmonton, was on the picket line on Wednesday at Monterey Place saying the province should help end this dispute too.
“And not waiting for a tragedy to happen like we had in Edmonton, we ended up with someone dying and so we would like to see us acting ahead of a potential tragedy and problems like that,” Eggen said.
Saveeta Prakash, who is part of the workers' bargaining committee, questions why the government would stop labour disputes at other seniors care centres but not at this one.
“They should have been stepping in before,” Prakash said. “I don't know why government is taking that long.... They're waiting for a crisis to happen here.”
An official with the company that owns Monterey Place declined to comment on the call for government intervention, but said recent audits done by the government have shown the level of care at Monterey remains within provincial guidelines.
But the Alberta government says there is no need to intervene in the contract dispute.
Dave Hancock, minister of Human Services, agrees with the owners of Monterey Place that it is being kept up to standard.
"They've been monitoring the health and the safety and the care levels," he said. "And they're basically saying that the quality of care at Monterey Place has not declined as a result of the strike action. There's no basis for the minister of labour to interceed."
Hancock says if patients or their families have concerns they should contact their MLA or Alberta Health Services.