CUPE calls on Minister Horne to reverse the Home Care Services contract at Strathmore Lodge

STRATHMORE – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has presented Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne a petition signed by nearly 400 Albertans calling upon the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services to reverse the contracting of Home Care Services at Strathmore Lodge to Bayshore Home Health.

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Alberta government made public a decision to reverse contracting of Home Care Services to for-profit health care providers in select cases in Edmonton.  The criteria for these changes were: “congregate” living facilities, such as lodges and supportive living centres; maintaining a single care provider known to the residents; and increasing cohesiveness and quality of care by ensuring that Home Care Services and other on-site services are delivered by the same provider.

CUPE President Marle Roberts points out that Strathmore Lodge meets the criteria used to identify sites in Edmonton where Home Care Services by non-profit providers were restored.

Strathmore Lodge is a facility in Strathmore, Alberta run by Wheatland Housing, a not-for-profit agency. Currently the residents are provided with Home Care Services by CUPE members employed by Wheatland Housing. Alberta Health Services awarded the contract for Home Care Services at Strathmore Lodge to a for-profit health care provider, Bayshore Home Health.

If this contract commences as proposed on July 29, 2013, fourteen Employees of the not-for-profit agency, Wheatland Housing that deliver Home Health Services will be terminated. Employees have been told they can work for Bayshore Home Health, but at a lower rate of pay, fewer benefits, and they will no longer belong to their pension plan.

“When you cut wages and benefits in an industry that is already underpaid, you increase turnover and lower the expertise at the facility,” said Roberts.

“In 2005, the Auditor General raised the alarm about low wages in this industry,” explains Roberts. “Clearly, the Redford government hasn’t yet gotten the message.”

Contact: Nicole Bownes
Acting Communications Representative