Providence Health Care welcomes back 227 health-care service workers

PEOPLE accessing health care in Vancouver are benefiting from more stable, consistent, and supportive patient care, as more support service workers previously contracted out return as Providence Health Care (PHC) employees, the Province said on Friday.

This comes after almost 20 years of these workers having their services contracted out to private companies.

“The repatriation of housekeeping and food services contracts means better care for patients, better working conditions for workers and strengthens our ability to recruit additional workers, now and in the future,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The previous government’s decision to contract out workers to private companies had devastating impacts. Bringing Providence health workers back in house is another important step in our work to end the contracting out of health-care service workers.”

Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, said: “All workers deserve stable employment that treats them with dignity and respect. Years ago, dedicated people who worked hard to provide quality services to support their families, unfairly lost their jobs due to contract flipping. They had to reapply – at lower wages, and without previously negotiated seniority and other collective agreement protections – for their own positions. I am so gratified to see that terrible injustice now will be corrected.”

Health authorities and PHC continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back into the public system. On June 24, a total of 227 food services workers at PHC sites will be repatriated to the following facilities:

* Holy Family Hospital – 41 food service workers

* Langara Residence – 31 food service workers

* Mount Saint Joseph Hospital – 46 food service workers

* St. Paul’s Hospital – 96 food service workers

* Youville Residence – 13 food service workers

“Today’s announcement means 227 more health-care service workers in B.C. will benefit from improved wages, working conditions, job security and stability,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Services and Long Term Care. “These workers make vital contributions to our health-care system every day, and when their contributions are recognized and valued, our entire health-care system benefits.”

To address inequality and enhance working conditions for employees in health-care facilities, government is ensuring that workers have the benefits, wages and working conditions that they deserve to be able to help patients.

Evidence has shown that employees who feel secure and safe in their jobs provide higher-quality care for people. In turn, employers can attract and retain staff at a higher and more consistent level.

Following the initial announcement on August 30, 2021, health authorities and PHC served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and have started a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts.

Work to bring health-care service workers back into the public system began in 2019 when the Province brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force. Bill 47 repealed 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 significantly affected labour.

In 2020, the process began with North Island Hospitals, which spearheaded the move independently of Bill 47 to bring 150 contracted-out workers in-house at North Island Campus Campbell River and District, and Comox Valley Hospital.


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Learn more about Bill 47: