May 28, 2002 (Fredericton) – The New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions (members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees) held a news conference today to publicly release a report on Workload, commissioned by the provincial government. The report, prepared by independent consulting group DMR, called for the immediate creation of 279 new positions in nursing homes across the province. The province has yet to act on the recommendations.
“These recommendations were made after a thorough study of workload in New Brunswick nursing homes. Despite the fact that the Lord Government was paying their fees, DMR concluded that there definitely is a workload crisis,” said Michel Boudreau, President of the NBCNHU. “These 279 positions would only be a stopgap measure, yet the province seems unwilling to even do this much to help us provide adequate care.”
Nursing homes pay a very high rate to the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. This rate is set according to the number of workplace injuries. In nursing homes, this is twice as high as in hospitals – higher than mining, iron foundries or highway construction.
“During our last round of bargaining, our main issue of concern was the workload crisis,” Mr. Boudreau continued. “There simply aren’t enough of us to provide the kind of care that residents deserve. And we are all – residents, families and nursing home workers – paying the price.”
On May 27, information pickets were held outside nursing homes across the province, as part of renewed efforts by nursing home workers to get the province to take action.
“The handful of positions that the government has promised would only allow for an additional 0.01 worker per nursing home resident. And they don’t plan to come through on this promise until July 1st!” said Mr. Boudreau.
Nursing home fees in New Brunswick are the second highest (by as much as 74 per cent) in Canada because of high rates of injury and chronic underfunding. There is simply no reason for NB nursing home residents to pay as much as 74% more than those who live in other provinces. When inflation is taken into account, funding to nursing homes has decreased since 1992. Deep cuts to transfer payments from the federal government over the last 15 years have had a devastating effect on health care funding in New Brunswick.
“We plan on making the workload crisis an issue in the next election. The Tories say they care about seniors, but their actions have never backed that up. Our members are prepared to do what it takes to bring an end to underfunding and understaffing in our nursing homes,” said Mr. Boudreau.
The New Brunswick Council of Nursing Home Unions represents more than 2,600 women and men who work in 36 nursing homes across the province. We care about our residents and about the quality of care they receive.
For more information:
Gordon Black, CUPE Nursing Homes Coordinator,
Michel Boudreau, President, NBCNHU, 506-381-7490