HEU applauds announcement of five new non-profit care facilities for seniors

News release

The Hospital Employees’ Union is applauding last night’s announcement from Victoria giving the go ahead for pilot projects for five new non-profit seniors care facilities in different regions of the province, which will create 600 new beds and reduce the long waiting lists for seniors to receive the care they need.

“We’re extremely pleased that this long-awaited announcement has finally been made,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Together with seniors and community groups, our union has worked hard to press government to expand the role of non-profit organizations in developing and operating seniors care facilities in communities right across the province.

“Three years ago,” says Allnutt, “government was on the verge of making a tragic mistake by relying on private, for-profit corporations to build and operate all new long-term care facilities in the province. So the go ahead for the pilot projects represents an important victory for non-profit organizations and for our seniors. It’s been a long haul and a lot of effort, but the right public policy is now in place.”

Allnutt says HEU supports a bigger role for non-profit organizations in providing seniors care. “There’s real value in these groups being more involved because they build a sense of community and they offer a wealth of ideas,” he says. “They also foster more creative community-based solutions and innovation to meet the growing need for health care services for an increasingly aging population.

“This announcement means that Victoria will be supporting their efforts with expertise and creative funding arrangements during a time of limited government resources.”

HEU, notes Allnutt, engaged in the lobbying effort because it’s strongly opposed to for-profit seniors care. He also says one unexpected outcome of the debate on the issue is that the B.C. Liberals have also embraced the not-for-profit model for development of new seniors care facilities over reliance on for-profit corporations.

Not too far down the road, says Allnutt, there will be an urgent need to build more new seniors care beds and replace thousands more in aging facilities. “This model, based on creative social partnerships, has to be the way of the future,” he says.