At a ceremony in the Parliament Buildings’ Hall of Honour, Premier David Eby joined health-care workers and members of the legislative assembly to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the passing of Bill 47.
Since then, 4,601 health-services workers have returned to the public system, resulting in more stable, consistent and supportive patient care for people throughout the province.
“The people who clean our hospitals and care homes, provide food and care to our loved ones, deserve to be treated like the valued members of the public health team that they are,” said Premier Eby. “This anniversary is an important milestone in the work started by John Horgan and Adrian Dix to reverse the failed privatization policies of the past, deliver fairness to workers, and better care for people. To all those coming back to the public sector, I say: Welcome home.”
The change comes after almost 20 years of these workers having their services contracted out to private companies. This paved the way for years of contracting out, contract flipping and layoffs that saw 9,000 people, mostly women, lose jobs and benefits.
“Environmental and food-service workers within the public health system play a vital role in our delivery of seamless, high-quality care to patients across our province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am deeply proud of the accomplishments our government is able to make under Bill 47, because bringing back justice, respect and fair wages for these workers was a key priority for our government. Today, we celebrate every single one of the 4,601 workers whose lives have changed for the better now that they have stable, well-paying jobs.”
Since the bill was passed in November 2018, workers have been repatriated across health authorities and Providence Health Care:
- Fraser Health – 1,163 workers at 31 sites
- Island Health – 967 workers at 12 sites
- Providence Health Care – 551 workers at 7 sites
- Provincial Health Services Authority – 247 workers at five sites
- Vancouver Coastal Health – 1,673 workers at 44 sites
“I could not be happier with all the progress made since the legislation was passed back in 2018,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors' Services and Long-Term Care. “Bringing these workers back in house is benefiting not only them, but also their families, the patients they care for and communities as a whole. Today is a great day.”
Work to bring health-care service workers back into the public system began in 2019 with the passage of Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act). 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 significant labour impacts.
To address inequality and enhance working conditions for employees in health-care facilities, government is ensuring workers have the benefits, pension and wages 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 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
A backgrounder follows.