B.C. to phase out private housekeeping, food service contracts in acute care

·1 min read

VICTORIA — Workers employed by private contractors that provide housekeeping and food services at acute health-care facilities in British Columbia will have their employment returned to provincial health authorities.

The provincial government says it will serve notice starting this fall under the terms of 21 commercial contracts of its intention to start returning the workers' employment to the health authorities.

It says the phased-in approach to its decision will affect about 4,000 workers.

The province says it is working with the Hospital Employees' Union, health authorities and contractors on its plan.

Premier John Horgan says in a statement the decision to contract out the work almost 20 years ago has led to lower wages and less job security, particularly for women.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the move will benefit workers and help in recruitment.

"It treats those who do the essential and life-saving work of keeping our hospitals and facilities clean and ensuring the nutrition of our patients with fairness and dignity," he said in a news release.

Horgan says the decision also puts workers who have been employed by private companies on an even footing with public health-care workers.

"Nearly 20 years later, we are still living with the aftermath of those choices, with workers paid less to do the same work as their colleagues in the public system," he said. "It's time to put a stop to it."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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