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

Driver slapped with $483 ticket for excessive speeding in Saanich construction zone

Police traffic unit reminds drivers to slow down in McKenzie interchange

Victoria International Airport deemed the most efficient for its size

Ranking appears in a report comparing airports across three international areas

Saanich makes ALC appeal for Prospect Lake Elementary parking, portables

Council votes in favour of seeking non-farm use designation

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

Police asking public to register bikes with them in case lost or stolen

Province expands substance use teams to address overdose crisis

People who use substances to have greater access to health care services

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. health officials pleased with likely extension of Canada-U.S. border closure

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the situation is ‘very serious in the United States’

Children suffer swollen eyes, burns while playing at Lower Mainland spray park

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read