Auditor General is Right: Urgent Need for a Community Care Services Authority, Not More P3 Nursing Homes

Fredericton – While hospitals operate under health authorities and schools work under districts, nursing homes, home-care and other community care services (CCS) remain rudderless.

Bureau du vérificateur général de la vérificatrice générale / Office of the General Auditor

Kim MacPherson, NB Auditor General. 

The complete absence of a centralized structure for these key services results in skyrocketing costs for both the users and the government, a patchwork of services and no real quality standards of care.

“The state of senior care in our province reminds me of the decentralized mess that was education and health care before the Equal Opportunity Program of Louis-J. Robichaud,” said Daniel Légère, CUPE NB President. “This government can and needs to organize a provincial public system, a CCS Authority, which would offer quality services, pay employees fairly and prevent gouging seniors’ savings,” he added.

The 2016 Auditor General’s Report, released last June, stated that nursing homes are operating at 98% capacity and demand is growing at an alarming rate. Auditor General Kim MacPherson recommended that the Department of Social Development create “a comprehensive long-term plan as a starting point in addressing this critical issue”.[1]

“The lack of a multifaceted strategy for sustainable care and services is costing New Brunswickers an arm and a leg. Private sector health providers are looking to cash in on the decentralized status quo”, said Légère.

NB has more than 250 CCS providers, most of them being small mom & pop shops. The overwhelming majority of these employers struggle to offer living wages to their mostly female workers.

“I fear the planned P3 nursing home deal in Miramichi reveals more than a bad trend in Atlantic Canada,” said Légère. “Private sector is currently taking advantage of lack of regulation and structure to establish facilities that are the most profitable and do not offer what citizens truly need,” he added.

“MacPherson has been clear:  more P3s beds are not the solution to the looming senior care crisis. She explicitly stated that there is no proof that public-private model for delivering nursing home services is more economical. A multi-faceted solution means ending government laissez-faire,” said Légère.

Numerous Auditor General reports throughout Canada have consistently criticized the P3 models. These reports have not only mentioned frequent cost overruns, but stated that they often compromise efficiency, transparency and quality in the name of profitability.[2]

“With our aging population, costs and demand for CCS will inevitably increase. CUPE knows that P3 are not part of a sustainable solution,” said Légère. “I see hospitals, nursing homes and home care as the Health Care Triangle: all three corners have to be public and work in tandem,” concluded Légère.

 

[1] 2016 Report of the Auditor General of New Brunswick – Volume I (June 2016) Chapter 2 – Department of Social Development – Nursing Homes. See http://www.agnb-vgnb.ca/content/agnb-vgnb/en/media/releases/renderer.2016.06.0539.html

[2] Privatization Nation: The Canada-wide Failure of Privatization, Outsourcing and Public-Private Partnerships – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, November 2015. See online https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/privatization-nation

NB Court Stenographers to Receive Pay Equity Adjustments

Fredericton – The Government of New Brunswick formally announced this Thursday that Court Stenographers, members of CUPE Local 1840, should expect a lump sum pay equity adjustment in the coming months.

“Our members have been waiting six years for this, but the fight has been all worth it,” said Odette Robichaud, CUPE 1840 President and CUPE NB Vice-President.

 The Pay Equity Act, 2009 came in effect on April 1st, 2010, with wage adjustments to begin April 1st, 2012.  The law covers all government employees (Departmental employees, Part I; School system, Part II; Hospitals, Part III; and Crown Corporations, Part IV.) The 2009 law replaced the 1989 Pay Equity Act which applied only to Part I.

The government has still not established an effective Pay Equity Bureau as called for in the legislation. The Bureau’s mandate would be to oversee the application of the Act, produce educational material and provide information, assistance and advice to employees, employers and bargaining agents.

 “While today the government made a step in the right direction, it needs to review the Act. The Legislation is weak and flawed as a tool for achieving fair pay for female-dominated jobs in the public sector. It offers little to hold the government accountable for timely completion of pay equity studies,” said Robichaud.

 Today, the majority of women – mostly working in the private sector – are not covered by any pay equity legislation.

 “To all women working in the private sector: don’t give up! The fight for women’s right to pay equity is far from over, but it’s worth it,” Robichaud concluded.

CUPE joins court challenge over violation of Charter rights by the Province of New Brunswick

Fredericton, NB – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has served the province of New Brunswick with a Notice of Motion to intervene in a lawsuit launched by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) against the unilateral conversion of the province’s Public Service Pension Plan into a Shared Risk Pension Plan.

“The rights of CUPE members and many other public sector workers were violated when the government unilaterally imposed pension changes on workers, in violation of their right to free collective bargaining,” said Daniel Légère, president of CUPE NB.

CUPE Press Conference, Fredericton - June 2016

CUPE Press Conference, Fredericton – June 2016

In December of 2013, the Province adopted Bill 11 – An Act Respecting Pensions which converted the province’s pension plan – to which CUPE’s members belong – into a so-called ‘shared risk’ pension plan. Far from sharing risk, however, the effect of the conversion was to reduce benefits and shift substantial pension risk from the province to CUPE members and other public servants.

The conversion significantly reduced the benefits provided by the pension plan, significantly reduced the security of benefits and barred any collective agreement provisions that could improve members’ pension benefits in the future.

“These changes violated our members’ rights under section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”),” said Légère. “CUPE fully supports this court challenge and will intervene to defend our members’ rights.”

A Statement of Claim filed by PIPSC in February of this year alleges that the statutory imposition of the shared risk model, together with the denial of fundamental collective bargaining rights, substantially interfere with the guarantee of freedom of association protected by section 2(d) of the Charter. CUPE’s intervention will support the challenge on that basis.

CUPE has also sought full disclosure under the Province’s Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in accordance with the government’s promise of transparency and openness in regard to the conversion. However, notwithstanding findings in favour of disclosure by the Province’s Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner in a decision dated March 4, 2016, access to conversion relevant materials has so far been denied.

Notice to municipal workers (CUPE 1505) from Fort McMurray

On Monday May 23, 2016, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo sent out an intent to return to work form to be filled out by all employees with a mandatory form return date of May 27.

The contents of this form have in no way been endorsed by CUPE nor does CUPE condone the form’s intent. CUPE Local 1505 has been asking numerous questions about this form, but the employer is being very selective and evasive in answering these questions.

At this time CUPE is advising all members to refer to the re-entry guidelines put out by the Province and the RMWB specifically page 2  outlining those who should not be returning to the area prior to the hospital being re-opened. If you suffer from any physical or mental health issues that prevent you from returning to Fort McMurray or are currently undergoing treatment we encourage you to obtain a medical certificate from a physician.

Below is a link to a form, developed by CUPE, that you can fill out if you are unable to return to work immediately for any reason and requesting a meeting with Union representation to discuss options with the employer.

If you have any further questions or concerns please email president@cupe1505.ca.

Click here for the form

http://cupe.ca/notice-municipal-workers-cupe-1505-fort-mcmurray