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

Cowichan’s Waldon Park ready for Gord Closson Classic

the Gord Closson Fall Classic will kick off its second half-century this August 21-23

Sonia Furstenau column: MCFD needs overhaul of requirements for social workers

BCASW advocating for mandatory registration for social workers with B.C. College of Social Workers.

Chris Wilkinson column: An ode to my caregiver

You help keep me safe. You help keep me strong.

Stevenson reflects on her seven years as Chemainus Elementary School principal

Strong community and parent support for the school always evident during her tenure

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside north of Cowichan Lake

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Most Read