March 3, 2024


Food never sleeps.

B.C. hospital housekeepers, food-service workers to return to public sector

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B.C. hospital housekeepers, food-service workers to return to public sector

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Anyone who cleans or works in food services at B.C. hospitals will soon be a public employee again

The province announced some 4,000 workers will be brought into the public sector

Health Minister Adrian Dix says most of the 21 private contracts will end by March next year

SURREY (NEWS 1130) —  Health Minister Adrian Dix says B.C. is bringing back thousands of workers in acute care facilities previously contracted out to private companies into the public sector. Dix says it will lead to improved wages, better working conditions, and job security for workers.

Catalina Samson works as a dietary aide at Vancouver General and says today is huge after she and many others lost wages and benefits in the privatization.

“In 2004, I went from earning $18.10 an hour with benefits and pension, to $10.15 an hour. I lost all my benefits, nothing, no sick time, no vacation, nothing at all,” Samson said.

She says she does the same job, but the work load has only become heavier because the turnover is so high. She says that low pay and no benefits offer few incentives for good workers to remain in the sector.

“We’re a vital part of the team, and today I feel like our work is being recognized for that. Reuniting us with the rest of the health-care team is a great act of solidarity,” she explained.

The NDP promised to make the change after the Liberals privatized many of the services under leader Gordon Campbell nearly 20 years ago. Efforts to repeal the new two existing pieces of legislation began in 2019 under Bill 47, the Health Sector Statues Repeal Act.

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Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health says the move is “lifechanging,” adding the repatriation of housekeeping and food services contracts is “good for patients, for workers, for the health- care team and for recruiting future health-care workers. It treats those who do the essential and life-saving work of keeping our hospitals and facilities clean and ensuring the nutrition of our patients with fairness and dignity.”

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Dix says most of the 21 contracts given to private companies will end by March next year.

The government says it will work with the Hospital Employees’ Union, health authorities and contractors on a phased-in plan that allows employers to address this change in a way that strengthens and enhances the health system’s services.

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