British Columbia will no longer contract out hospital cleaning and food services.
The B.C. government announced Monday that it will end the practice of hiring private contractors to perform cleaning and food services at hospitals after nearly 20 years.
The province says it will begin a phased approach to repatriating housekeeping and food-service contracts, resulting in 4,000 workers becoming public employees, including 687 private workers in Island Health.
“The repatriation of housekeeping and food services contracts is good for patients, for workers, for the health- care team and for recruiting future healthcare workers. It treats those who do the essential and life-saving work of keeping our hospitals and facilities clean and ensuring the nutrition of our patients with fairness and dignity,” Adrian Dix, the province’s Minister of Health, said in a press release.
In the early 2000s, the provincial government of the day opted to contract out housing keeping and food services at care facilities in B.C., in a bid to save money.
“Previous government actions cut health-care wages, took away the jobs they relied on, and created a chain reaction of layoffs that saw women disproportionately affected – the largest such layoffs in Canada’s history. Nearly 20 years later, we are still living with the aftermath of those choices, with workers paid less to do the same work as their colleagues in the public system. It’s time to put a stop to it,” said Premier John Horgan in a press release.
The province says it is working with the Hospital Employees’ Union, health authorities and contractors on a “phased-in plan” that allows employers to deal with the change in a way that “strengthens and enhances” the healthcare system’s services.
.@adriandix announcing what was a BC NDP elxn promise in 2020 – that the gov would end private contracting out of hospital cleaning and food services. Health authorities served notice to end 21 contracts, bring 4,000 workers into public service as employees of health authorities.
— Rob Shaw (@RobShaw_BC) August 30, 2021