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Alberta government deliberately hiding care fees and standards

UCP set to risk Alberta’s most vulnerable on another dangerous privatization gamble

Apr 08, 2024

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EDMONTON – The Alberta government has deliberately written the Continuing Care Act and its regulations to make it easier for private, for-profit operators to increase fees and cut standards of care, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). 

“At first we thought this was just about removing the minimum hours of care from regulations, but we took a deeper dive and found that the government has also removed continuing-care fees from regulations,” says Sandra Azocar, vice-president of AUPE, Western Canada’s largest union, representing 95,000 workers. 

“This is dangerous and it is deliberate,” she says. “By removing these items from regulations, the government is making it easier for them to be changed away from the public spotlight.” 

The changes in the Continuing Care Act, which came into effect on April 1, will encourage private operators to pressure the government to increase fees and cut minimum hours of care – and the government will be happy to oblige. 

“Elderly and vulnerable Albertans will see the quality of care fall while their costs rise. Front-line workers will once again be asked to do more with less,” says Azocar. 

“We believe this is being done for two reasons,” she says. “One is to help private operators increase revenue and cut costs at existing facilities. The other is to make public care facilities operated by CapitalCare and Carewest more attractive for buyers.” 

CapitalCare operates 14 public facilities in Edmonton and Carewest operates 14 facilities in Calgary. 

The government is dismantling Alberta Health Services (AHS), splitting it into four separate agencies, one of which will be continuing care. This is budgeted to cost $85 million. The continuing-care unit is scheduled to come on stream in the fall. 

“We know that this government is obsessed with giving away good public health-care services to their corporate friends,” says Azocar.  

“Despite the costly failure of the attempt to privatize laboratory operations, despite the recent news that private surgeries have led to longer wait times and despite problems with privatized hospital laundry, this government is determined to ignore the evidence. Next on the block will be continuing care.” 


AUPE vice-president Sandra Azocar is available for media interviews. 

For information, please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, at 403-831-4394 or

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