BCGEU working with supporters of long-established facility to prevent privatization.
Oak Bay (25 March 2010) - The Oak Bay Council has passed a motion urging B.C.'s Campbell government to keep Oak Bay Lodge in public hands instead of selling it off to the private sector as the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) plans to do this spring.
"I congratulate Oak Bay Council for responding to the community and taking a strong stand for keeping public seniors' care in Oak Bay," says Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
"Now, with the support of council, this community has sent a clear message to VIHA that seniors' care is too important to be sold-off to the highest bidder."
The BCGEU was shocked last October when the VIHA made the surprise announcement of its intention to privatize the long-established facility.
Walker says the decision was made without prior consultation with the Lodge's staff, residents or families and was in response to the VIHA's $45 million budget shortfall — caused by the provincial government.
"The planned privatization of the lodge creates uncertainty for everyone, seniors and their families, the workers at the facility and the community. And privatizing seniors care will not save government money," says Walker.
"Stable seniors' care drives costs down by keeping seniors out of expensive hospital acute care beds. Government and the health authority should be looking for ways to improve the facility at Oak Bay Lodge rather than take it out of public hands and sell it off."
VIHA is currently evaluating bids from five private operators and is expected to award the contract by early April.
BCGEU is continuing to work with community groups and seniors' advocates in the area to try to prevent the sell-off of the lodge.
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
BCGEU condemns plans to privatize seniors' care