Petition on Oak Bay Lodge & Mount Tolmie Hospital

Demand for reconsideration of closures backed by 1,600 signatures.

Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE)Victoria (7 May 2010) - The future of seniors' care at Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital was the subject of a petition tabled this week in the B.C. legislature.

Signed by more than 1,600 people, the petition calls on Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong to "advocate strenuously and publicly" to stop the sale and privatization of Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) announced in October that they were going to close the two facilities and fund the opening of a new, privatized building.

Two municipal Councils – Oak Bay and Saanich – have passed resolutions opposing this plan. Community members, residents and their families have written letters, attended forums and contacted elected representatives to demand a stop to the sell-off of these public assets.

"VIHA's decision came out of the blue and we are very concerned for the continuity of care for seniors in these facilities," says Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).

BCGEU represents workers at the Oak Bay Lodge. The Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) represents workers at Mount Tolmie Hospital.

"We fully support this petition and urge the government to ask VIHA to reconsider their plans," says Walker.

Tabled by MLA Rob Fleming (Victoria), the petition reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned citizens of Greater Victoria, call on Ida Chong, MLA of Oak Bay-Gordon Head and all MLA’s to advocate strenuously and publicly exercise their power, influence and constitutional responsibility to public health care to put a stop to the sell-off and privatization of publicly-provided, -funded and –owned seniors’ care in our community, recognizing that connection to community, friends and family are vital to seniors’ health and well being.

"We further call on the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) to cease and desist with plans to sell off Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital properties, recognizing that these lands are a sacred trust for future generations.

"We further call on VIHA to cease and desist with plans to contract out seniors’ public health care, recognizing that privatization and corporatization has consistently led to a loss of complex residential care; a loss of public accountability, control and transparency; and increased costs to the taxpayer. We call on the Board of VIHA to advocate strenuously and publicly for seniors’ care."

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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

More information:• Oak Bay council opposes sale of seniors' lodge• BCGEU condemns plans to privatize seniors' care