(file photo)

The Ministry of Health announced on Friday that support service workers will return to be employed by Island Health at health-care facilities on Vancouver Island, after almost 20 years of these services being contracted to private companies.

This means, various health care workers in housekeeping, food services and mixed service roles will be brought back in-house rather than being contracted out. 

According to Island Health, health care staff under this change will now benefit from stable, consistent and supportive patient care as support service workers.

A total of 235 workers will be repatriated to the following facilities: Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, Glengarry Hospital, Aberdeen Hospital, Gorge Road Hospital and Priory (Hiscock and Heritage Woods) long-term care.

“To the people who kept Vancouver Island’s hospitals clean, long-term care homes safe and patients well fed, I say, ‘Welcome back!’,” said Premier John Horgan. 

“Our government is righting wrongs committed nearly 20 years ago to improve wages, working conditions and job security for health-care workers. It is long past time for you to once again be treated like the valued members of the team that you are.”

The move to this change began when the BC Government brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force in 2019. 

The bill repealed the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94) which facilitated contracting out various jobs in the health sector to private companies.

“We’re now putting workers back where they belong – in house, within our health authorities,” said Adrian Dix, Health Minister. 

“I’m proud to see Island Health lead the way and look forward to more workers receiving the compensation, working conditions and benefits they deserve for doing the essential and life-saving work of keeping British Columbians well cared for in our facilities,”said Dix.

This is just the beginning. 

According to the Ministry of Health, health authorities across the province will continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47 for the next two years. 

It is estimated that, as a result, 4,000 workers will return in house.

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