AUPE responds to Premier Kenney’s continuing care announcement
EDMONTON—Using public dollars to subsidize private seniors care is a bad investment, warns the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
“Albertans need more continuing care beds,” says AUPE Vice-President Mike Dempsey. “But Albertans don’t want their tax dollars handed out to private providers who are more focused on making profits than delivering quality care.”
Dempsey was responding to Premier Jason Kenney’s September 1 press conference on the future of continuing care in Alberta, in which he announced that his government will create hundreds of privately owned and operated continuing care spaces throughout the province and revive the controversial Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI).
“This new plan would allow the government to use even more public money to subsidize the profits of private care providers,” says Dempsey. “Reviving ASLI would even let the government pay private providers to run ‘public’ beds out of their empty rooms that are otherwise not generating profit.”
Earlier in the pandemic, AUPE members demanded continuing care employers suspend profits so that 100 per cent of their revenues would go towards front line care. Instead, employers kept making profits and received even more support from the public sector.
“Premier Kenney says private care providers in Alberta are so great that we didn’t have to call in the army to support them like Ontario had to,” says Dempsey. “But guess what? We did call in an army: we called on dedicated Alberta Health Services employees who have been filling in gaps and picking up private operators’ slack throughout this pandemic.”
“It’s simple,” says Dempsey. “Health care funding is spent more efficiently when it all goes towards actually providing care.”
Dempsey also noted that Alberta Health Services has still not given any indication of the status and future of Capital Care and Carewest, public care facilities which the government’s Ernst & Young report recommended selling to private providers.
“It’s a scary situation,” he says. “We could be looking at a situation in the future where all continuing care in this province is delivered by private organizations who just want to make a buck, but not if Albertans fight back against this government’s dangerously ideological agenda.”
AUPE is western Canada’s largest union with over 95,000 members, half of whom work in health care.
Vice-President Dempsey is available for interviews.
Please contact: Alexander Delorme, AUPE Communications Officer, 780-264-9274