B.C. health care worker dons personal protective equipment for infection control. (The Canadian Press)

COVID-19: B.C. completing single-site work for senior care homes

Care aides get retroactive pay increase to union rates

B.C.’s groundbreaking transition away from multi-site employment for senior home care aides is nearly complete, as COVID-19 outbreaks at health care facilities are brought under control.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the end of multi-site care home work March 24, effective for senior homes with coronavirus infections found in staff and residents. The infection control issue first emerged at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, with infection travelling with a part-time staff member to Lions Gate Hospital.

More than 20 B.C. senior care homes were affected by coronavirus, with 558 people infected, 218 of them staff. As of June 8 there were only four active outbreaks remaining, all long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region, Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the intention to end the practice province-wide early April, with orders to care home operators to provide all their employment data to the ministry. He estimated the cost of giving part-time workers sufficient single-site hours to support themselves at $10 million per month. By April 30, the half-way point had been reached.

By June 4, Dix said the transition was almost complete, with fewer than 400 of the 8,878 multi-site employees assigned to a single site. The measure has been adopted in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, in some cases with orders that were not used in B.C., where private and non-profit operators agreed to move to single-site employment with union wages.

RELATED: Single-site project grows to include mental health

RELATED: B.C. care home outbreaks down to just four

“I think this is both an important step we’ve taken and a remarkable achievement that’s happened in the context of COVID-19 in the last number of weeks,” Dix said. “It’s because we made the decision to level up hourly wages to union wages in accordance with the terms of the single staffing.

“I know jurisdictions have proposed and even ordered single-site staffing, but to make it happen requires ensuring that workers are treated both fairly and appropriately and that’s happened in B.C. I think it’s an enormous achievement.”

Dix said the employees will see retroactive pay on their mid-June cheques, and facilities will be compensated by the health authorities they contract with.

The completion comes as the Lynn Valley Care Centre was declared virus-free after 20 patients died of COVID-19 related causes. Betty Wills, director of care at the facility, said while staff are hired through different companies, they work together effectively.

“We are immensely grateful for the work they have done,” Wills said. “We are relieved to see that 32 of our residents and all our team members have recovered from COVID-19.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Northern Health assuring public it has declared no public exposure events or outbreaks

As of Sept. 17, there are 241 cases in the Northern Health Authority region

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read