For a government focused on fiscal responsibility, spending money on a name change doesn’t make a lot of sense. “There’s a cost to this. The memo said this name change will be a huge task, replacing name tags, business cards, you name it. Why do it if it’s not significant?” – Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Winnipeg (30 Jan. 2017)—In a recent memo, the provincial government instructed employees of the Manitoba Home Care Program to stop using the words “Manitoba” and “Program” when referring to their workplace, and Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU/NUPGE), is wondering what this might mean.
Why the name change now?
“The memo to staff said 'the practice of referring to the ‘Home Care Program’ must stop. It must now be referred to as ‘Home Care Services,'” she said. “Why now, why all of a sudden?”
This sudden name change comes at the same time that the provincial government released The Future of Home Care Services in Manitoba report, which recommended that Manitoba look at “different funding models for home care services.”
Fears of home care privatization and user fees
These developments follow the government’s decision last fall to hire consulting firm KPMG to make recommendations on restructuring our health care system. Manitobans may remember that KPMG is the same company behind the Filmon government’s failed scheme to privatize home care in the 1990s.
“We’re worried about what this sudden name change, talk of new funding models, and the hiring of privatization experts means for the future of home care in Manitoba,” Gawronsky said. “Manitobans should be very concerned about the possible introduction of home care user fees or privatization of the program.”
She pointed out that for a government focused on fiscal responsibility, spending money on a name change doesn’t make a lot of sense. “There’s a cost to this. The memo said this name change will be a huge task, replacing name tags, business cards, you name it. Why do it if it’s not significant?”
The home care program in Manitoba has been a public service for 43 years.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE