Plan to raid funds intended for injured workers a betrayal, says HEU

News release

Burnaby, B.C. – A pre-election promise by the B.C. Liberal government to divert funds intended for injured workers into employers’ pockets is short-sighted, says the 46,000-member Hospital Employees’ Union.

HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside says that the B.C. Liberal government is turning its back on injured workers with its plan to force WorkSafeBC to return “surplus” funds to employers.

“In the health care sector, and especially in residential care homes, injury rates from strains and from violence are unacceptably high and overwhelmingly impact women,” says Whiteside.

“There really is no surplus to return – those funds are needed by WorkSafeBC to boost health and safety education, expand violence prevention training, and more stringently enforce health and safety regulations.

“And it appears that the BC Liberals are gifting surpluses to employers with no strings attached – no requirement that those funds be used to make workplaces safer,” says Whiteside.

“Meanwhile, care home staff are being injured at a rate four times the provincial average – and that’s unacceptable.”

The health sector injury rate is one and a half times higher than all B.C. workplaces combined (measured in accepted claims for every 100 person years worked). In long-term care facilities, the rate is more than four times higher.

According to a WorkSafeBC report from 2015, 61 per cent of injury claims related to violence came out of health care over the previous decade and women accounted for 80 per cent of these claims.

Forty-one per cent of these claims were made by care aides – more than any other group in the health care sector.

HEU represents a diverse range of health care occupations throughout the health team including direct patient care, logistics and supply, labs and pharmacy, support services, health records, clerical and finance and IT.

Contact: Sara Rozell, communications officer, 604.209.3861 (cell) / 604.456.7161 (direct)