Layoffs are about privatizing Alberta's public health system during a pandemic

“This government has decided to tear apart its best line of defence against the ongoing pandemic. To be clear, this is about privatizing health care. Money isn’t being saved; it’s being transferred to private pockets instead of being used for patient care.” — Mike Parker, HSAA President

Edmonton (13 Oct. 2020) — Mike Parker, President of Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE), has issued a statement reacting to the news that between 9,700 and 11,000 Alberta Health Services employees will be laid off (reported by CBC News).

Cuts will hurt Albertans

“Privatization costs more and could very easily result in poorer health outcomes during this pandemic . . . and the next one,” said Parker.

“Just days after again praising the work done by our lab professionals, the current Health Minister has targeted the very people he claims are protecting Albertans in his misguided drive to privatize health care,” said Parker. “Support workers are clearly front-line workers. It takes a team to make health care happen. Docs and other health care professionals cannot do their work in dirty facilities or in unsanitary conditions.”

Bad for individuals, bad for the economy

Parker continued, “The Health Minister’s announcement today is shameful. He has abdicated all responsibility for the health and safety of Albertans. He has instead decided his role is to fire highly trained public health professionals in order to facilitate the transfer of our public health resources into private hands.

“These ‘positions’ represent thousands of Albertans who will be added to the list of the unemployed,” said Parker. “That’s thousands upon thousands who will no longer be contributing to our economy. And that’s thousands and thousands who will no longer be there to ‘protect’ Albertans.” 

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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