People in health-care facilities in Vancouver are benefiting from stable, consistent and supportive patient care as more support service workers and services return in-house as Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) employees.
This change comes after nearly 20 years of these services being contracted to private companies.
“From Island Health to Fraser Health and now PHSA, we’re seeing great progress in restoring the rights and equity to workers in health facilities,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Bill 47 continues to be important to workers, patients and families alike, and by restoring and protecting their rights, we’re building a stronger B.C. for everyone.”
Following the initial announcement on Aug. 30, 2021, health authorities served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and have started a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food-service contracts.
“Protecting workers has been integral to my personal and professional life,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “That’s why I’m so proud to see what we can achieve with Bill 47 and what has already been done. Good work, PHSA, on your repatriation efforts.”
Workers at PHSA sites will be brought in-house for 247 workers repatriated to the following facilities:
- BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and BC Children’s Hospital (excluding Teck Acute Care Centre)
- BC Cancer – Vancouver Centre
- Brock Fahrni
- BC Cancer Research Centre
Health authorities will continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47 over the next two years, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back in-house. Other health authorities repatriating food and housekeeping services include Fraser Health, Island Health, Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health.
This move started when the B.C. government brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force through regulation on July 1, 2019. Bill 47 repealed two existing pieces of legislation – the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act – that had facilitated contracting out in the health sector and caused significant labour impacts.
In 2020, the repatriation process began with North Island Hospitals, which spearheaded the move independent of Bill 47 to bring 150 contracted workers in-house at North Island Campus Campbell River & District, and Comox Valley Hospital.
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.
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour—
“All workers deserve stable employment that treats them with dignity and respect. Support service workers are crucial to keeping B.C.’s health-care system functioning effectively. Repatriating these workers is a step toward better wages, job security and improved working conditions for them.”
George Heyman, MLA for Vancouver-Fairview —
“I am very pleased to see the progress that PHSA has made to bring support services workers back in-house. By actioning Bill 47, our government is demonstrating meaningful support for these members of our health system who have always deserved to be treated with dignity and fairness on the job.”
David Byres, president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority —
“Housekeeping and food services staff are an integral part of the health-care system. Working alongside our clinical staff, they play an important role in supporting the needs of our patients and families, making them feel as comfortable and cared for as possible. We have long been working together to provide quality service and now we look forward to officially welcoming everyone to PHSA.”
Meena Brisard, secretary-business manager, Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) —
“For nearly 20 years, privatization in our hospitals created poor working conditions for workers and eroded quality care. Today, HEU members are proud to be reunited with their colleagues in hospital housekeeping and food services. Bringing these workers back into the public sector is a recognition of the vital role they play in our health-care system, keeping patients safe and well cared for.”
Rose Ravina, housekeeper, BC Cancer Vancouver Centre —
“When we heard that the Provincial Health Services Authority was taking us back, our hearts were overwhelmed with hope and joy. Finally, our hard work will be recognized as part of the health-care team. We can feel at ease for our future knowing we have better wages, benefits and pensions.”
Learn more about Bill 47: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2017-2021/2018HLTH0102-002147.htm'
For the Aug. 30, 2021, announcement on Bill 47: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0157-001703
A backgrounder follows.