Lay-offs at Kelowna seniors’ home

One hundred and thirty health care aids and health care assistants at the Spring Valley seniors' home in Kelowna received lay off notices.

  • May. 8, 2012 5:00 a.m.

One hundred and thirty health care aids and health care assistants at the Spring Valley seniors’ home in Kelowna have received lay off notices.

Advocare Health Services, a subcontractor at Spring Valley, has told the workers they will lose their jobs on July 11.

The workers are members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union and many have worked at the facility for decades.

“These experienced and dedicated workers provide quality care. They should not be tossed aside in a drive to reduce costs and increase profits,” said Darryl Walker, president of the BCGEU. “Equally concerning is the instability this creates for the residents and their families. Stability and continuity of care is crucial in seniors’ facilities. Instead, Spring Valley residents now face uncertainty. These seniors deserve better.”

The passage of Bill 29 in 2002, allowed care facilities to contract out care and support services to reduce wages. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down key parts of Bill 29 in 2007, but it did not restore contracting-out protections to health care workers.

“This is one more example of how Liberal policies have failed seniors and their families. At the same time it continues to drive down the wages of health care workers, most of whom are women,” said Walker.

Changes announced two weeks ago by the Harper government have fast-tracked the recruitment of temporary foreign workers and will allow employers to pay temporary foreign workers salaries 15 per cent lower than a Canadian would receive for doing the same work.

“The provincial government created this contracting, subcontracting and contract flipping that has driven down wages and created instability in seniors’ care. Now the federal government has made it easy for contractors to replace Canadian workers with cheaper foreign workers. This is bad for seniors and their families. It’s bad for health care workers. It’s also bad for B.C. We need a meaningful job strategy, one that protects and creates good jobs, not one that drives down wages or subcontracts the work to lower and lower paid temporary foreign workers,” said Walker.

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