People in health-care facilities in the Lower Mainland are benefiting from stable, consistent and supportive patient care as more support service workers, who were previously contracted out, return as Fraser Health employees.
This comes after almost 20 years of these services being contracted to private companies.
“We’re seeing excellent work done by health authorities, first with Island Health leading the way, and now Fraser Health is stepping in,” said Adrian Dix, Health Minister. “Bill 47 is important to government, important to the community and most of all, it’s bringing equity and fairness to the people it impacts the most: our valuable health-service workers. Good work, Fraser Health. I look forward to your next series of repatriation efforts.”
Following the initial announcement on Aug. 30, 2021, health authorities served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and are starting a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts. This process began with Island Health.
This month, the first two rounds of workers at three Fraser Health sites will be brought in house, for a total of 362 workers repatriated to the following three facilities:
- Eagle Ridge Hospital
- Burnaby Hospital
- Royal Columbian Hospital
“Support service workers in the health-care sector are needed now more than ever,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “They deserve fair working conditions and better pay and benefits. After years of working for private contractors, bringing them back as employees of Fraser Health is the right thing to do.”
Health authorities will continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47 over the next two years, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back in-house. Other health authorities repatriating food and housekeeping staff include Island Health, Providence Health Care, Provincial Health Services Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health.
“It’s exciting to see another advancement in the repatriation of health-service workers across British Columbia’s health authorities,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long Term Care. “Providing a safe space to receive care is something we strive to do for all British Columbians, and we know providing more support to our health-care workers is a crucial step in meeting that goal.”
This move started when the B.C. government brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force through regulation on July 1, 2019. Bill 47 repealed two existing pieces of legislation, the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94, which had facilitated contracting out in the health sector and caused significant labour impacts.
In 2020, the process began with North Island Hospitals, which spearheaded the move independently of Bill 47 to bring 150 contracted workers in house at North Island Campus Campbell River and District, and Comox Valley Hospital.
Evidence has shown that employees who feel secure and safe in their jobs provide higher-quality care for people, and in turn, employers can attract and retain staff at a higher and more consistent level.
Learn more about Bill 47: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2017-2021/2018HLTH0102-002147.htm
For the Aug. 30, 2021, announcement on Bill 47: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0157-001703
Two backgrounders follow.
What people re saying about repatriating housekeeping workers in Fraser Health
Rick Glumac, MLA Port Moody-Coquitlam –
“I know how hard the past two years of the pandemic have been on our health-care providers and British Columbians seeking care. These challenges have affected us all. I am proud our government is taking action to address these issues. By bringing housekeeping workers back in-house at Eagle Ridge Hospital, we can continue to provide the high quality of care that the people in our community deserve.”
Anne Kang, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training –
“I am thrilled to see Fraser Health take action to improve its delivery of health care. This project gives more opportunities for British Columbians to access long-term careers in the growing Fraser region, and more importantly it is another step toward our goal of providing top quality care provincewide. I look forward to the future work to come.”
Jennifer Whiteside, MLA for New Westminster and Minister of Education and Child Care –
“Health care is a vital part of our community and many people who work at Royal Columbian Hospital also live in New Westminster. Bringing contracted services back under the direct control of Fraser Health restores good-quality jobs and dignity to health-care workers, builds a stronger health-care team and results in better care and services for everyone in our community.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health –
“Dedicated staff and medical staff are the backbone of our health system. I am proud to welcome housekeeping workers back to the Fraser Health family where they will continue to play a critical role in supporting our patients, clients, and residents. I want to take this opportunity to also acknowledge their significant contributions throughout our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Meena Brisard, secretary-business manager, Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) –
“HEU members are proud to be reunited as a team under Fraser Health authority. Like all health-care workers, housekeepers and food-service workers are vital to patient safety and care. Their return to in-house reverses two decades of privatization that fragmented our health-care system and devastated the lives of thousands of mostly racialized and women workers.”
Ma Luz Williams, housekeeping aide at Royal Columbian Hospital since 2006 –
“I'm so excited. My colleagues and I are happy because we will receive a living wage, a pension plan, new uniforms and additional support for our health as Fraser Health employees. We have looked forward to this change.”
Workers being repatriated at Fraser Health
Repatriation contract timelines: April 6 and April 20, 2022
- Eagle Ridge Hospital: 65 housekeeping (April 6, 2022)
- Burnaby Hospital: 92 housekeeping (April 6, 2022)
- Royal Columbian Hospital: 205 housekeeping (April 20, 2022)
Contracts to be repatriated by health authority:
- Contractor Sodexo: 297 full-time-equivalent (FTE) housekeeping and 63 FTE mixed services
- Contractor: Aramark: 214 FTE housekeeping
- Contractor Compass: 132 FTE mixed services
Provincial Health Services Authority
- Contractor Compass: 91 FTE housekeeping and 47 FTE patient/retail food services (two contracts same service, same provider, across multiple facilities)
- Contractor SerVantage: 25 FTE housekeeping
Vancouver Coastal Health/Providence Health Care
- Contractor Compass: 12 FTE patient food services, 736 FTE housekeeping and 13 FTE mixed services (two contracts same service, same provider, across multiple facilities)
- Contractor Sodexo: 538 FTE patient/retail food services (four contracts same service, same provider, across multiple facilities)
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