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Health-care employer accused of violating pandemic Ministerial Order

Patchwork of private operators continues to disrupt continuing care, says AUPE

May 25, 2020

CBI under fire

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EDMONTON – The chaos in Alberta’s handling of health care during the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing, with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) forced to file an unfair labour complaint over the treatment of front-line workers.

“Our complaint alleges that one employer is violating the Ministerial Order regarding the restriction of workers at continuing-care sites to employment at a single site,” says Susan Slade, Vice-President of AUPE, which represents about 95,000 members, with more than 58,000 in health care.

The complaint alleges that CBI Home Health in Edmonton has refused to follow the Ministerial Order relating to single-site employment for workers in continuing care.

CBI has refused to give leaves of absence to workers who have been forced to temporarily give up their jobs in CBI home care or CBI lodges because they are required to work at only one site. It has also refused to guarantee they can return to their jobs after the pandemic with their original status intact.

AUPE’s complaint says: “This flagrant violation (of the Ministerial Order) has caused to these vital and already stressed health-care workers an enormous amount of pressure and uncertainty while they put their physical health on the line each and every day.”

“It is insulting that this employer values their own bottom line more than these workers. This is no way to treat heroes,” says Slade.

A resolution conference is scheduled at the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) on Thursday, May 28.

“This situation is just one symptom of what is wrong with Alberta’s continuing-care system. The patchwork of private, mostly for-profit, operators each have their own rules and agendas and puts their interests above the interests of patients.

“Another example is that it’s taking up to two months for employers to pay workers the $2 per hour pandemic pay boost that was promised, even though the employers have already received the money,” she adds.

“This chaos cannot continue. It is abundantly clear that some employers cannot be trusted to do the right thing and that the government isn’t willing to push them. The only solution is to bring all continuing care, including home care, into the public health-care system. It’s the only way we will be able to see that care is being delivered as it should be.”



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