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B.C. hospital housekeeping staff transfer as service contracts end

Fraser Health first in phased return to direct employment
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan at announcement of primary care centres across the province, June 5, 2018. (B.C. government)

Food service and housekeeping staff at three B.C. hospitals have shifted back to direct employment by Fraser Health, as the NDP government’s plan to end contracting out of non-medical services gets underway.

The first phase involves 362 employees at Eagle Ridge, Royal Columbian and Burnaby Hospitals, as a contract with U.S.-based Aramark Corporation has ended. Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in August 2021 that 21 food and housekeeping contracts with B.C. hospitals were expiring, mostly in March of this year, and 4,000 employees province-wide would be returning to direct employment by health authorities.

Island Health began the process in 2020 as contracts expired for 150 workers at Comox Valley Hospital and North Island Campus Campbell River and District.

The change ends “decades of injustice” for people who worked through the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when the province is working to recruit more people to work in the health care system, Dix said in announcing the shift last summer.

Direct employment brings wage increases and pension plans for support staff contracted out by the previous B.C. Liberal government in 2003. The shift back to direct employment is to continue over the next two years, for contract employees of Aramark, Sodexo, SerVantage and Compass in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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