'This government is getting out of caring for seniors and trying to turn a quick buck by selling off some valuable properties.' - Darryl Walker.
Vancouver (16 Oct. 2009) - The surprise announcement of plans to sell off residential care homes on lower Vancouver Island, including Oak Bay Lodge, has been greeted with shock and disappointment from the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
"Without warning or any consultation with residents and their families or staff, the government announced its plan to sell off a residential care facility that has been home to hundreds of seniors in the area for decades," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker.
"This is another unfortunate example of the B.C. Liberal government privatizing health care and putting profits before people. It is clear that this government is getting out of caring for seniors and trying to turn a quick buck by selling off some valuable properties."
The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) announced the sell off as part of a means to meet a $45-million budget shortfall downloaded from the provincial government. The sale of Oak Bay Lodge is part of a larger plan that is intended to "revitalize" and create "service equalization" across the Island.
"Making cuts and privatizing services isn't the way to revitalize or equalize health care," says Walker. "The government seems to be intent on dragging services down to the lowest common denominator when what they need to be doing is making smart investments that will strengthen health care and generate future savings."
VIHA announced that it will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to private operators for Oak Bay Lodge later this month.
"The RFP process, which VIHA says will take up to four years, guarantees ongoing uncertainty for residents and their families and the over 290 staff who work there, many long-term employees," Walker says. "What a bombshell to drop on public service workers just after the deputy to the Premier told them that there would be no more cuts announced this year, and after the province won an award for being one of the top employers."
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