KINGSTON The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) has been shut out of providing nursing home care services to the Kingston and area community, the union representing nurses and clerical staff at the non-profit charitable agency has learned.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says that despite the VONs exemplary service record and a 100-year service history in Ontario communities like Kingston, three for-profit, private home care agencies have been awarded contracts under a competitive bidding process for home care through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).
The competitive bidding process introduced by the Mike Harris Conservative government is heavily based on lower costs for services rather the quality service provided. For-profit home care providers hire expert consultants to put together proposals province-wide. In addition, private companies offer lower wages and poorer working conditions. For-profit providers are winning contracts because they can under-bid the non-profits like VON, which pay nurses reasonable hourly wages and provide good training in order to give quality-nursing time to vulnerable people needing home care.
Over the past year, the Kingston VON has worked to regain its financial footing during a court-supervised re-structuring that included an agreement with CUPE to keep wages in check.
The VON has worked very hard to stay afloat. The decision by the CCAC to shut the agency out of the home care contracts, may unfortunately be the death knell for VON in Kingston, says Mary LeRoy the president of CUPE Local 3932.
Under the competitive bidding model, Ontarios long-standing non-profit home nursing and support services like the VON have been devastated. The VON has lost significant amounts of home nursing all across the province. Some of the latest bid losses include:
- VON lost nursing contract in Sudbury. For-profit Bayshore Health Inc. won.
- VON lost nursing contract in Halton-Norfolk. For-profits Care Plus and Care Partners won.
- VON lost nursing contract in Kenora-Rainy River. For-profit Comcare won.
- VON lost 55 per cent of nursing contract in North Bay. For-profit Paramed won.
In Victoria-Haliburton, the VON withdrew nursing services because they were losing too much money to continue. For-profit ParaMed has taken over the contract.
For more information contact:
Mary LeRoy, President CUPE Local 3932
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
Cheri Dobbs, CUPE National Representative