Reid Johnson re-elected president of HSABC

Urges members to get active in their union and communities to make a difference.

Reid Johnson, president of the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE)Vancouver (27 April 2009) - More than 250 delegates at the 38th annual convention of the Health Sciences Association of B.C. (HSABC/NUPGE) have acclaimed Reid Johnson to lead the union as its president for another two-year term.

Johnson, who holds a masters of social work, worked at the Centre of Ability before his election in 2007. He urged members to get active in their union and communities to make a difference.

"When we look around ourselves, at communities that are suffering in a tough economic climate… at the highest child poverty rate in Canada… at seniors who are living with inadequate home support and limited access to supportive living and residential care… at low-wage workers who are forced to get by on the lowest minimum wage in the country… when we look around at all that, I know that we are impoverished if we don’t do our part to make a difference," he told delegates.

With a theme of A Vision for Change, delegates passed a number of resolutions that set direction for the union's activities in the coming year.

The convention also heard from keynote speaker Carole James, B.C. NDP leader, who thanked health science professionals for supporting hundreds of thousands of patients across the province.

James, who is leading her party in the current B.C. election campaign, said she is committed to addressing the training, recruitment and retention challenges facing health science professionals. She also announced a party proposal to establish wait time guarantees in five key areas - cancer, cardiac, hip and knee, cataract and diagnostics.

Other guest speakers included Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour (BCFL), who urged members to get involved in the current provincial election by talking to their neighbours and colleagues about the issues important to them, and Larry Brown, secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Provincial and General Employees (NUPGE), who reported on a number of campaigns underway on a national level.

Saturday afternoon, a forum on the effects of poverty on the health of British Columbians featured four HSABC members who deliver health and community services to vulnerable British Columbians. Also taking party was Seth Klein, executive director of the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which is calling on all political parties in the election to adopt a poverty reduction plan for B.C.

HSABC represents 16,000 health science professionals, registered psychiatric nurses and community social services providers who work throughout British Columbia.

NUPGE

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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