Legislation to improve working conditions for health and social-sector employees introduced

Adrian Dix
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

THE Province said on Thursday that people throughout B.C., including patients, families and especially seniors and people with disabilities, will benefit as legislation that has been introduced takes aim at improving working conditions for health and social-sector employees.

The proposed health sector statutes repeal act would rescind two existing acts – the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, commonly known as Bill 29, 2002, and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act, commonly known as Bill 94, 2003, in their entirety.

“We need to celebrate health-care workers and recognize the fundamental value of their contributions and make working conditions fair for everyone in the health sector,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “With an aging population, now is the time to inspire a new generation of health-sector workers and we need to attract more care aides, community health and hospital workers throughout the province.”

Coming into effect through regulation in 2019, the proposed legislation will restore successorship and common employer protections to health-sector workers and remove the major financial incentive of contract flipping for companies to reduce or avoid unionized labour costs.

The government said repealing bills 29 and 94 will improve job security and stability by strengthening the uncertain employment conditions workers have faced for years. In doing so, the government will be better able to recruit and retain the skilled health-care professionals needed to support better continuity in patient care. These statutes stripped affected employees of the workplace protections and rights available to other workers in B.C. and paved the way for years of privatization, contracting out and layoffs.

“To truly make a difference for patients and seniors in care, we need to focus on the continuity of care they receive,” Dix added. “This legislation will help to enhance the team-based care environment people count on at every level, from hospitals to care homes and in the community.”

In addition to care aides, affected employees include food services and dietary workers, maintenance, laundry, security, information technology and accounting staff working in health-care settings throughout the province.

Repealing bills 29 and 94 will improve job security and stability by strengthening the uncertain employment conditions non-clinical workers have faced for years. In doing so, government will be better able to recruit and retain the skilled health-care workers needed to support better patient care.

As the repealed legislation affects many areas of the health sector, the government will work collaboratively to consult with unions, stakeholders and for-profit, not-for-profit and non-denominational employers to implement this repeal in a way that continues strengthening the publicly funded health-care system.

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