(Flickr)

Check on elderly neighbours as Metro Vancouver transit shutdown looms: care providers

Three-day lockout by bus operators is imminent if an agreement is not reached between Unifor and Coast Mountain

People in Metro Vancouver are being asked to check on their elderly neighbours should the impending transit strike shut the system down next week.

That’s the word from B.C. Care Providers Association vice-president of public affairs Mike Klassen ahead of a three-day lockout planned by bus drivers from Nov. 27-29.

“It can just be as easy as calling them or knocking on the door or leaving them a note,” Klassen told Black Press Media by phone Thursday.

The association said its members, who provide care for around 11,000 people each year, are busy making arrangements for the shutdown, which would halt bus and SeaBus service for three days next week.

At issue in the dispute is break time and a $150-million gap between wages offered by the Coast Mountain Bus Company and ones requested by the bus workers’ union. Talks broke down last week and had not resumed as of Thursday morning.

Klassen said the impact of a three-day shutdown on seniors needing home support workers could be significant.

“For some employers, up to 40 per cent of home support workers do use the transit system to meet with clients,” he said.

He said TransLink has been communicating with them, but the transit agency’s spokesperson has said there’s not much they can do to mitigate the effects of a full employee walkout.

Care providers have options in the event of a short-term strike, he added, but those alternatives could become too expensive if it drags on.

“When we had some major weather activity a couple of years ago, and the buses were not running in some parts, it required hiring cars and drivers to be able to get people around,” Klassen said.

“Those are the kinds of things you can do in the short term, but if it goes on for the long term, there’s a real risk someone could be sitting at home not getting the services they need.”

HandyDart shuttles, which is not affected by the strike, are only available to those who meet the criteria of physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.

SkyTrain and Canada Line are not affected by the Unifor lockout, but SkyTrain workers are in the midst of their own contract negotiations, scheduled for set mediated talks in the coming days.

READ MORE: $150M sticking point: Coast Mountain, Unifor fight over wage gap as transit lockout looms

READ MORE: Workers union calls strike vote in SkyTrain labour dispute


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Maple Ridge wants to push through to 240th Street

Council endorses another step for Abernethy Way extension

New pool systems being checked out as renos near completion

Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pools open some time next year

Former Maple Ridge mayor new Chamber president

Al Hogarth takes over from Ken Holland

Caddy Shack, one of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs, baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

VIDEO: MPs reflect on anti-feminist violence on 30th anniversary of Montreal massacre

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at Ecole polytechnique on the evening of Dec. 6, 1989

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Most Read