Hospital privatization will contribute to child poverty

Dear editor,

Island Health has decided the housekeeping and maintenance staff at St. Joe's will not be going to work at the new hospital.

Dear editor,

Island Health has decided the housekeeping and maintenance staff at St. Joe’s will not be going to work at the new hospital.

They are to be fired and their jobs are to be contracted out to a private company.

What this means is more child poverty is coming to the Comox Valley, Campbell River, and a place near you.

Children don’t just get poor. They become poor because their parents lack money.

It isn’t that their parents are lazy or don’t work. Their parents lose their jobs. They are fired by  government representatives.

When their parents find other jobs, they will be at lower salaries. These salaries are being lowered at the same time the cost of living goes up, i.e. higher ferry rates, increased B.C. medical premiums, increased electrical rates from B.C. Hydro, the government refusing to pay for medications they need, and their parents no longer having extended medical coverage.

The announcement is of no surprise to many. This is what happens when the provincial Liberal government decides P3 (private) hospitals are the way to go. The existing unionized workers, making a “living wage” are fired.

The various public relations officers will tell us employers will continue to work with the “affected workers.” How they plan to do that the PR person fails to say.

The housekeeping and maintenance staff won’t be given funds to return to school so they can find work at a “living wage” job.

The impact of the firings will affect the greater community. When people are no longer earning living wages there is less money to be spent. They won’t shop for new cars, appliances, clothes, furniture, etc. Some will be at the food bank, even if they find employment.

Having lived in the Greater Vancouver area, I have seen what happens when housekeeping staff is fired and replaced by sub-contracted out workers. Patients catch diseases they die of.

They die because the hospitals aren’t cleaned as well as they once were. The cleaning companies make a lovely profit.

It shouldn’t be like this.

Now our MLA is a cabinet minister with the provincial Liberals.

It is about time he did the right thing and ensured the continued impoverishment of children in B.C. was stopped and he can begin by ensuring the workers at St. Joe’s will be transferred, collective agreement and all, to the new hospital.

Their children do not deserve to be thrown into poverty.

E.A. Foster,



Comox Valley Record