Progress Alberta Report #237 October 14, 2020

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Tuesday morning the UCP government announced massive cuts to AHS.

Side-stepping the swelling public support for doctors and nurses, the UCP are going after workers in less high-profile roles: support staff like housekeepers, laboratory workers, and laundry workers.

In total the cuts amount to 11,000 layoffs–that’s 11,000 good, stable health care jobs eliminated in the middle of a pandemic. 

The government plans to outsource this work to the private sector. They claim privatization will create $600 million in savings for the province. I have my doubts that these savings will materialize. Historically, privatization of services in Alberta has tended to make things more expensive, not less. CEOs and shareholders dipping their hands into the pot is going to mean less funding for services and less pay for workers, as always.

What’s worse is that these 11,000 layoffs are just the beginning. CBC acquired a copy of AHS’s draft plan and it proposes nearly an 8% cut across the board to public health care funding in Alberta.

Here’s just a few of the proposals from the AHS draft plan:

  • Eliminating up to 1800 full-time nursing and clinical support roles
  • Seniors and others receiving continuing or community care: The health authority would increase accommodation fees for continuing care, introduce a co-pay for home care, and shift more patients from subsidized long-term care to designated supportive living.
  • Reducing pay for nurses,
  • Bringing in legislation to break collective agreements with health care workers

And this is what the UCP government plans to do in a pandemic in the face of overwhelming public support for health-care workers. If this is what they think they can get away with now, imagine what they’ll try next.

The privatizing and layoffs announced today are expected to reach their peak in 2022-2023, ahead of the next election. We can’t stop them by voting. If Alberta’s health care workers strike to protect their jobs and their patients, are you ready to join them on the picket line?


In case you missed it last week–researchers at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network caught members of the ‘Alberta Separatist Youth League’–and prominent organizers in the Wexit movement–discussing their plans to sneak literal Naziism into Alberta’s Wexit parties. Duncan interviewed the author of the report for the Progress Report podcast last week, and we’re working on a followup story with responses from the Wexit leaders–I read the draft this weekend and what they had to say is wild. Keep an eye on our social media for that story later this week.

That’s all for this week. Please share our newsletter with any friends or family who you think would like political news and commentary from a progressive point of view. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up for it here. If you would like to support our ongoing work, please consider donating to help us keep going.

Jim Storrie

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