Services for seniors put in jeopardy while Liberals fail to act on seniors advocate promise
Centre which primarily serves veterans plans to contract out food, cleaning and recreation
BURNABY – Services for veterans are being jeopardized by Liberal government cuts, as George Derby Centre in Burnaby plans to contract out some of its staff, say the New Democrats.
George Derby Centre, a residential facility primarily serving veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War, informed the Hospital Employees’ Union Tuesday it intends to contract out some services.
“We know that when facilities like this contract out their services, the result is invariably lower service levels or poorly paid workers,” said New Democrat seniors critic Katrine Conroy. “Dropping wages makes it hard to retain better trained, experienced workers.
“A race-for-the-bottom, cut-at-all-costs mentality is no way to provide needed services for our seniors.”
Conroy said this is precisely the type of issue that could be examined by an advocate for seniors, which the New Democrats first proposed in 2007, and which the Liberal government has repeatedly promised but won't be in place until next spring at the earliest.
“The minister responsible for seniors now says they might not be able to get it accomplished in the shortened spring session,” said Conroy. “It’s clear that the needs of seniors are not a high priority for the Liberal government.”
The contracting out of employees at George Derby follows cost-cutting measures by Fraser Health, which provides the bulk of the funding for the facility. The cuts will affect food services, housekeeping and laundry services, recreation and clerical services.
New Democrat health critic Mike Farnworth said the sad irony is that this is happening less than two weeks away from Remembrance Day.
“At a time when we should be thinking about honouring the service of our veterans, cuts by Fraser Health are putting those services at risk,” said Farnworth. “Seniors deserve better than the treatment they’ve been getting from the Liberal government.”
Adrian Dix and the B.C. New Democrats believe in supporting seniors and providing adequate resources to meet seniors’ residential needs.