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Union Update – SEIU promotes home care as solution to ER backlog in Canada

February 19, 2009 – TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEIU Local 1 Canada President Sharleen Stewart says an effective home care strategy is key to solving the backlogs in emergency rooms.

“People who can be cared for in their homes shouldn’t be stuck in a hospital. But home care is facing a human resource crisis that will make that impossible,” said Stewart. “Until we have an effective strategy to support the women and men who provide these services people who need home care, and our whole health system, will suffer.”

While the Ministry of Health, Local Health Integration Networks and hospitals have all identified home care services as a key to reducing ER backlogs, little has been done to improve work conditions in the sector. Retention of home care professionals has been identified as a major problem in home care with studies suggesting half the work force will leave within a five year period.

Now, home care providers employed by Red Cross are on the verge of a potential strike that could effect as many as 40,000 home care clients across Ontario. SEIU Local 1 Canada has called on the Ontario government to work with workers and the Red Cross to find a long-term solution that can prevent job action.

“The solution to the ER crisis, and the future of our health system rests on quality home care,” said Stewart.

Keep us posted on other news about union activity in home care in your local marketplace.

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