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Ridge Meadows Hospital workers back with Fraser Health

65 housekeeping employees had been with contractor Sodexo
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Ridge Meadows Hospital. (The NEWS/files)

Housekeeping workers at Ridge Meadows Hospital are again employees of Fraser Health, and not working for a company that contracts services to the health authority.

“Hospital housekeepers are critical to patient care and safety. Reuniting them with the health-care team recognizes their essential work and improves their lives by providing better wages and benefits, which leads to less turnover and an improved public health-care system for all of us,” said Meena Brisard, secretary-business manager for the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Some 474 housekeeping workers across 18 sites, including Ridge Meadows Hospital, returned as Fraser Health employees. This change comes after two decades of these workers having their services contracted out to private companies.

The change includes 65 workers at Ridge Meadows Hospital, who were employees of Sodexo.

“When workers are treated fairly and receive fair pay, they, their families, their communities, and their patients all benefit,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. “Bringing housekeeping workers back in-house as Fraser Health employees is a big step to creating a better health care system for everyone in B.C.”

READ ALSO: Privatized Ridge Meadows Hospital workers coming back in-house

Health authorities and Providence Health Care continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back into the public system.

Fraser Health said in a press release the changes will address inequality and enhance working conditions for employees in health-care facilities.

“Implementing Bill 47 ensures that health care services workers – many of whom are women and people of colour – are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “I’m pleased to see that Fraser Health is repatriating hundreds of workers, helping better our health care system and making a stronger B.C. for everyone.”

Following the initial announcement on Aug. 30, 2021, health authorities and Providence Health Care served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and began a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts, beginning with Island Health.

Work to bring health-care service workers back into the public system began in 2019, when the Province brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force. It repealed laws that facilitated contracting out in the health sector.

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