Chilliwack nursing home fires care staff

News release

Move by ex-Socred health minister violates community care legislation, says union

The operator of a publicly funded Chilliwack nursing home has fired more than 20 direct care staff in an unprecedented move that jeopardizes care for seniors, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

The union has written Fraser Health Authority chief medical officer Andrew Larder asking for an investigation into whether Valley Haven Guest Home operator John Jansen is violating the provincial law that governs operation of continuing care facilities by contracting out care staff to a third party.

And HEU says Jansen an ex-Social Credit health minister recently contracted out laundry, housekeeping and food services at the facility to a new firm with no track record in health care. That firm — Fraser Valley Assisted Living Services Inc. is operated by Jansen’s brother Henry.

“Mr. Jansen has a license to employ and supervise staff to look after seniors in his care,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “He can’t shirk those responsibilities to a third party — even if that third party is his brother.”

Allnutt says that the regulations of the Continuing Care Facility Act require Jansen to have a hands-on role in providing supervision and care to seniors at Valley Haven.

And even the legislation that tore up health care collective agreements earlier this year doesn’t excuse Jansen from those responsibilities, adds Allnutt.

This past summer Jansen fired about 16 housekeeping, laundry and dietary staff and contracted the work out to his brother’s firm which hired many of the same workers back at lower wages with minimal benefits and longer hours of work.

On September 11, Jansen gave 60 days notice of layoff to about 23 care aides who provide the bulk of personal care to the home’s seniors.

“Mr. Jansen is running a seniors’ care facility, not a construction project,” says Allnutt. “He can’t simply sub-contract care to third parties who haven’t been vetted by health authorities to provide these services to seniors. The Campbell Liberals are opening up a Pandora’s Box if they tolerate the violation of care standards in this manner.”

Contact: Stephen Howard, communications director, 604-240-8524 (cell)