Kenney’s government has failed seniors and their families
EDMONTON – Today, Albertans woke up to the news more people have died in continuing-care facilities in our province than in British Columbia.
Government figures released yesterday (June 9) confirmed a total of 116 Alberta seniors living in these facilities have been lost to the pandemic, compared to 115 in B.C.
"Despite COVID-19 arriving there more than five weeks ahead of us, more Albertans have died in continuing care and we appear poised to pass them in total deaths overall any day now. This is a result of Jason Kenney’s government's mishandling of the situation from the outset," said AUPE President Guy Smith.
"The B.C.government took steps that Jason Kenney was unwilling to take. It quickly realized the danger the virus posed to those in continuing care and acted swiftly to implement a single-site rule,” he continued.
“That government took control of all staffing arrangements and boosted pay faster, higher, and for more workers. Most importantly, it brought all parties to the table early on – employers, unions, and the government – to work out a plan.”
AUPE argues these moves meant facilities in our neighouring province avoided the staffing chaos Alberta saw. The union points to the single-site public health order introduced two months ago that still has not been fully implemented, with Alberta Health Services (AHS) recently requesting an exemption to the order in Vegreville because it cannot recruit enough workers.
While the British Columbia government has indicated it will make the single-site employment rule permanent through legislation to protect the most vulnerable seniors, Kenney’s UCP seems more concerned about protecting corporate profits.
"When Albertans, particularly the families who lost loved ones, look back on Jason Kenney’s handling of this pandemic, they will rightly ask: ‘Why didn't the Alberta government do more to protect seniors when they had the roadmap laid out right in front of them?’” said Smith.
AUPE President Guy Smith is available for comment.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Mimi Williams, AUPE Communications Officer, 780-930-3416