North Vancouver district council supports seniors' privatization concerns

NORTH VANCOUVER’S district council will be communicating their opposition to the privatization of public health care services, following an appeal from concerned seniors and front-line health care workers about the impact of contracting-out on Lion’s Gate hospital.

The Council of Senior Citizens’ Organization of BC asked council at its January 19 meeting to let the provincial government and its health authority know that privatizing health care by eliminating unionized jobs with good wages should not be tolerated.

In a supporting presentation, HEU Provincial Executive member Cathy Pinsent told council that the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is using the provincial government’s contracting-breaking legislation, Bill 29, to sell off public health care one piece at a time.

She said the health authority’s agenda of contracting out, bed closures and service cutbacks was already seriously impacting the public and that contracting out in North Shore facilities to date has cost 500 skilled and experienced health care workers their livelihoods.

“Laying off workers does not promote wellness,” she said. “It will cause and has caused stress-related illness, family strains and the breakdown of the family unit.”

Following the hour and half discussion before a packed chamber, council voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking its concerns with privatization to the provincial government.