Laboratory privatization is ill conceived, says HSAA | National Union of Public and General Employees

Laboratory privatization is ill conceived, says HSAA

Albertans will be left to pick up the tab again, warns health-care union.

Edmonton (12 Dec. 2013) – The move by Alberta Health Services (AHS) to privatize all laboratory services in Edmonton is another example of the Alberta government ramming through ill-conceived and ideologically driven polices, says Elisabeth Ballermann, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).

Conservative pushing its privatization agenda on public services

“This drive to privatize is clearly being driven by the Conservative government. It is part of a disturbing pattern of ignoring the evidence, failing to consult with front-line experts and forcing through poorly thought out policies – just like the anti-union Bills 45 and 46,” says Ballermann.

“We have been down this lab-privatization road before and every time it has failed. AHS has not offered a single scrap of evidence that there will be a different outcome this time,” says Ballermann, whose union represents nearly 25,000 paramedical technical, professional and general support employees in health care, including lab workers.

HSAA/NUPGE members working in laboratories will continue to provide high level health care to Albertans

Ballermann said HSAA/NUPGE members who work in laboratories are dedicated health care professionals and will work to the best of their ability whether in the private or public sectors.

“HSAA/NUPGE is justifiably proud of the work our members do, whether they are employed in the public or, private sectors. However, the evidence is clear that privatizing health care costs more and reduces transparency and accountability. At a time when health care in Alberta is already stressed with continuing management shakeups and budget cuts, it is unwise to embark on this unnecessary, costly and counter-productive change,” she says.

No evidence from AHS that private labs will serve public better

“Without supporting arguments to back the AHS move, one can only assume that this being driven by an Alberta government ideologically committed to handing over taxpayer dollars to boost the bottom lines of their corporate benefactors. Profit should not be used to drive health-care policy. Every dollar of profit is a dollar not spent on care,” says Ballermann.

AHS held a media conference this morning (Wednesday) to reveal details of its Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide laboratory services in the Edmonton Zone. While HSAA/NUPGE doesn’t have details yet, the drive to privatize has been made clear by AHS.

“There has been no real consultation with front-line health-care workers – the experts who make the system function. This is just like the recent changes to home-care services and to services for Persons with Developmental Difficulties (PDD). Those changes were ill conceived, didn’t work and had to be fixed later. It’s time to stop putting profits before patients.”


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


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