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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

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

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

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

Most Read