On September 8, the Manitoba government is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the province's Home Care Program and proclaiming Manitoba Home Care Week.
Winnipeg (08 Sept. 2014) — On September 8 at 11:30 a.m., in Room 200 of the Legislative Building, the Manitoba government will proclaim September 8 to 12, 2014, Manitoba Home Care Week, in recognition of Canada’s oldest, most comprehensive, province-wide universal home care program.
MGEU/NUPGE welcomes Home Care Week proclamation recognizing home care workers as integral part of Manitoba's health care system
“As a past health care aide and home care attendant, and as President of the union who represents the Manitobans who provide home care services, it feels really special to be part of this recognition,” said Michelle Gawronsky, President of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE). “I know what it’s like to be greeted by someone whose been waiting for help with daily tasks like taking a bath, or getting dressed to face the day, or sometimes just to chat as you give them their medication. People are just so relieved to be treated with dignity and respect in their own homes.”
Health Minister Erin Selby, Minister of Healthy Living and Seniors Sharon Blady, and President Gawronsky will all be on hand to salute the achievements of Manitoba’s home care program and officially launch Home Care Week.
“Thanks to a number of visionary health advocates back in 1974, our province has gradually built the most organized and reliable home care service in the country,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “From those folks who assess a client’s needs when they’re being released from hospital, to those who schedule literally hundreds of intimate and varied tasks per day, we’re always striving to keep the care in home care,” Gawronsky said. “When it comes to those providing the hands-on care, we’ve made strides in turning what was essentially a casual job with no benefits or security into an organized and sustainable workforce of nearly 5,000 members. The key now is to keep building so that all Manitobans can age with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Long history of standing up for access to home care: workers went on strike in the 90s when the Filmon government tried to privatize the program
In the mid-1990s, thousands of home care members went on strike over threats to privatize the program and successfully forced the Filmon government to back away from their plans to dismantle the comprehensive public home care service.
“Manitobans go into this field because they truly enjoy the personal level of care they’re able to provide to their clients,” Gawronsky said. “Our challenge now is to keep building this workforce to meet the needs we know are coming.”
As the boomer generation moves into vulnerable old age in the next couple of decades, Gawronsky pointed out that the need for a trained and reliable home care workforce is only going to grow.
“Helping elderly and disabled Manitobans stay in their own homes for as long as possible is a win-win for all of us,” Gawronsky said. “Not only does home care allow those who need help to maintain their independence, it’s also more cost-effective than admitting them to hospitals or care homes.”
The Manitoba government is asking home care workers who are available to join the Ministers in the celebration.
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