Forgotten workers caring for Alberta’s most vulnerable are being left out by UCP policies and programs

Government funded non-profit agencies and group homes have been left with no support for staffing or retention during COVID-19

EDMONTON - On April 20th, Health Minister Tyler Shandro publicly promised a $2 per hour wage top-up for Health Care Aids for those working in private continuing care facilities. Shortly after the government also announced a new provincial order of a one-site policy, which would restrict some care workers from working at multiple long-term care facilities. Both of these policies left non-profit community care agencies and group homes in the lurch.

“Many care workers are forced to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This often means a worker in a private continuing care facility will also work in home care, a group home or elsewhere to making a living”, said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan. “By restricting the provincial policies to only certain continuing care facilities the UCP government is now causing staffing concerns for the other community agencies and workplaces where these workers also work.”

Non-profit agencies providing care for society’s most vulnerable are receiving no extra PDD funding or support for staffing from the provincial government. With many workers restricted to one workplace, and receiving higher wages if they choose to work at other facilities, these agencies are left without the support required to compete for, or retain staffing.

“The federal government announced support for provinces to boost care worker wages, but the UCP have chosen not to expand their wage top-ups to help support these crucial non-profit agencies caring for some of our society’s most vulnerable”, said McGowan. “This exclusion is leaving many group homes in a constant struggle to provide adequate staffing levels or support for their residents.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that care workers are crucial all of the time and have always deserved to get paid more than the lowest legally allowed wages,” said McGowan. “Unions representing care workers have repeatedly requested to be at the table for these discussions to help this government implement better policy decisions during this pandemic. So far the Kenney government has shown no interest in involving workers in decisions and as such they are missing the mark for ensuring society’s most vulnerable are protected and cared for during this pandemic.”

The Alberta Federation of Labour has joined with LiUNA 3000 to co-sponsor a petition calling on the UCP government to act on these issues. The petition can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/all-frontline-heroes-deserve-pandemic-pay-2.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Ramona Franson
Director of Communications, AFL
rfranson@afl.org