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qathet General Hospital, Evergreen Care Unit workers hired back

Former contracted staff now employees of Vancouver Coast Health
FORMERLY CONTRACTED: Former private sector health-care workers in the qathet region have returned to the public sector as employees of Vancouver Coast Health.

A total of 49 workers in qathet General Hospital, Evergreen Care Unit and Willingdon Creek Village have returned to the public sector as Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) employees.

According to a provincial ministry of health media release, the change comes after almost 20 years of workers having services contracted out to private companies.

“Every health-service worker that returns to the public system is essential in building a stronger health-care system and stronger communities.,” stated Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons. “I am so pleased that these workers will now benefit from well-paying, secure jobs and that Bill 47 made this possible.”

The release stated that health authorities and Providence Health Care continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back into the public system. The workers in qathet were repatriated on October 28.

“A strong health-care workforce begins with workers who have stable, well-paying jobs and are respected as integral part of the care team,” stated Adrian Dix, minister of health. “That is why we have been working hard over several years to transition workers back to the public system with better wages, better benefits and better working conditions. Welcoming them back to Vancouver Coastal Health is a critical step forward, creating a stronger health-care system for all of us.”

According to the release, to address inequality and enhance working conditions for employees in health-care facilities, the government is ensuring workers have the benefits, pensions and wages 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, and in turn, employers can attract and retain staff at a higher and more consistent level, according to the release.

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 Bill 47 repealed the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94), which had facilitated contracting in the health sector and caused labour impacts, according to the release.