CALGARY—Premier Jason Kenney’s negligent COVID-19 response has forced Alberta Health Services (AHS) to prepare for new emergency provisions in the Calgary zone, a process that would harm the same health care heroes Premier Kenney wants to fire.
In October 2020, Premier Kenney’s government announced its plans to fire 11,000 front-line health care workers—about 9,000 of whom are AUPE members—and downgrade many of the services they provide through privatization. On April 24, 2021, AHS informed AUPE that AHS plans to enact emergency collective agreement provisions to reinforce the pandemic response in the Calgary zone.
“AUPE members have been working tirelessly to help Albertans throughout the pandemic,” says AUPE Vice-President Bobby-Joe Borodey. “We don’t oppose the emergency provisions; we hope they help us effectively fight COVID-19. But we do take issue with the UCP government's hypocrisy and the incompetence that led us to this situation.
“Premier Kenney wants to fire 11,000 health care workers, the same front-line heroes he needs to fix the COVID-19 disaster he made. Isn’t that rich?”
The emergency Collective Agreement provisions allow for the redeployment of staff, cancelling of approved vacation, and other measures which all ask Alberta’s health care heroes to sacrifice even more than they already have.
“Health care workers—and all Albertans delivering front-line services—are burnt out,” says Borodey. “We deserve a premier who supports us during a pandemic. Instead, we have Premier Kenney, who forces us to bear the burden of his incompetence while he’s openly threatening our livelihoods. It’s disgraceful.
“Premier Kenney should be embarrassed,” she says. “Given the exponential increase in cases—most of them from extra-dangerous variants—alongside rising hospitalizations, deaths, and the need for these emergency measures, there can be no clearer indictment of Premier Kenney’s COVID-19 response and his total lack of care for Albertans.”
AUPE is western Canada’s largest union, standing over 90,000 members strong.
Vice-President Bobby-Joe Borodey is available for interviews.
Please contact Alexander Delorme, AUPE Communications Officer: 780-264-9274 or firstname.lastname@example.org