The Alberta government plans to cut the equivalent of 9,700 full time health service jobs in an effort to save $600 million annually.
As many of the employees affected are part-time workers, the actual number of layoffs could rise.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the cuts will not affect front-line medical staff including nurses and doctors.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Shandro said the majority of jobs lost will come from outsourcing jobs in laboratories, housekeeping, food services, and laundry. Shandro estimates approximately 800 jobs will disappear due to attrition.
Another 4,000 housekeeping jobs, 3,000 food service jobs, 2,000 laboratory jobs, 400 laundry jobs and at least 100 management jobs are also expected to be axed in the proposed cuts.
“68 per cent of laundry services in Alberta and, if we look at in the north of the province, 70 per cent of community lab services are currently delivered by the private sector, under contract,” said Shandro. “AHS has also been given permission to develop business cases for contracting out, environmental services like housekeeping in 2022 and food preparation for consideration in 2023.”
Sandro claims most workers will not actually lose their jobs in the transition to privatization.
“Contracting out isn’t a reduction in employment,” explained Shandro. “For most cases, it’s this is a matter of workers just changing their employer from AHS to the (private) provider.”
Shandro says changes in the workforce could start next spring, but changes to the labs may not come into effect until February 2022, when a contract with (current provider) Dynalife ends.
Contracting out laundry services could begin as early as next April.
The Ernst and Young report had recommended even deeper cuts, amounting to 16,000 lost jobs.
Shandro said the government scaled back the cuts because of the current pandemic response. He did not say the additional cuts have been shelved, only that they are being delayed.
'Already struggling' Calgary downtown core will be hit hard by job cuts from Cenovus-Husky merger – National Post
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“It’s an unfortunate thing, because, the timing being such, the pandemic has affected everyone in Calgary and certainly in Alberta,” Ball said. “For non-profits it means there’s been an increase in the demands for their services.”
It’s especially acute for the cultural non-profits, most of which are based downtown, she said.
“Of course people working downtown creates a vibrancy 5 to 7 and 7 beyond for bars and restaurants and also live in-person events and so the arts sector is tied to, in some ways, the vitality of the downtown core.”
Still, in spite of the doom and gloom, there are bright spots: On Monday, Suncor announced it would be relocating employees at its branch offices in the Toronto area to Calgary, essentially bringing 700 positions to Calgary.
“Yesterday, Suncor’s leadership spoke with our Downstream employees and let them know that over the course of 2021, we’d be moving our Downstream head office from Mississauga and Oakville to Calgary,” Suncor spokesperson Sneh Seetal said in an email.
Nenshi said that Suncor moving people to the city is good news, evidence of the city’s appealing real-estate market, compared to overheated business markets such as Toronto, something he hopes will bring even more business to the city.
“That’s really the pitch that we’re making to a lot of firms,” said Nenshi.
Woolley, for his part, also remains optimistic: “There is hope, I am a hopeful, optimistic Calgarian, I believe in our city, but it really does speak to the importance of us taking a look at economic diversification,” said Woolley.
With files from Geoffrey Morgan
UPDATE: 17 New COVID-19 Cases in Windsor-Essex – AM800 (iHeartRadio)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19 in our region.
Of the new cases, 12 are considered close contacts of confirmed cases. Further breaking that down, the health unit says nine of the 12 are household contacts of a confirmed case from the same household. Two other unrelated cases are close contacts of cases that visited from another jurisdiction and one case is a household contact from a different household.
According to the WECHU, the two households are not related to each other at this time.
Of the five remaining cases, three are community acquired and two are still being investigated.
There are still 44 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex as well as outbreaks at two workplaces, one in the construction sector in Lakeshore and the food and beverage industry in Kingsville.
The health unit is not reporting any outbreaks at local schools, long-term care or retirement homes.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is reporting 827 cases of COVID-19. 355 new cases are in Toronto, 169 in Peel, 89 in York Region and 58 in Ottawa.
Premier Eschews Media Questions in House – VOCM
Premier Andrew Furey refused to take questions from the media today regarding two key issues facing the government.
The media was seeking clarification on the status of government’s talks surrounding the merger of Husky Energy with rival Cenovus, as well as the status of embattled MHA Perry Trimper.
The premier did take questions in the House but when the time came to face the media afterward, his office said he would not be available.
The Premier spoke with Innu Nation Grand Chief Etienne Rich earlier today after Rich called for Trimper to be removed from the Liberal caucus over controversial comments he made regarding Indigenous people in Labrador.
The premier’s office issued this written statement late this afternoon:
“I spoke with Innu Nation Grand Chief Etienne Rich this morning, and we agreed that we have a good dialogue we plan to maintain. We continued a conversation about moving forward with cultural sensitivity training throughout government.”
No reason was immediately given for the premier’s no-show, which Tory Leader Ches Crosbie called disgraceful, given the importance of the Husky merger and the highly-charged and sensitive issue of Innu relations with government.
It was left to Energy Minister Andrew Parsons to field questions regarding the Husky-Cenovus merger, noting a call with executives of the newly formed company is still planned for this week.
Trimper, meanwhile, says he has no further comment, adding he’s looking forward to continuing to assist his constituents until ‘the writ is dropped’ on the next election.
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