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Group Health Centre responds to claims made by CUPE

Group Health Centre says the Canadian Union of Public Employees missed important details in its recent release
20200526-Group Health Centre summer stock-DT-02
Group Health Centre. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Group Health Centre (GHC) issued a response to a recent release by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which GHC says made several "incomplete" and "inaccurate" claims. 

For more information, read the news release below: 

Group Health Centre (GHC) would like to respond to several incomplete and inaccurate assertions made in a recent news release.

The release in question was issued by Local 894 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents GHC’s administrative support staff, registered practical nurses, medical technologists and technicians, respiratory and physical therapists, social workers, and dieticians. While the release outlined CUPE 894’s position and underscored the crisis facing the healthcare sector across the province, it was missing some context and key details and did not present the whole picture.  

While it is true that staff retention and recruitment have been a challenge, this is in no way unique to GHC. In fact, this is an issue that is plaguing the healthcare sector across the country.

Moreover, GHC shares CUPE’s position that the Province’s Bill 124 has only compounded this problem by capping annual wage increases to 1 per cent for public sector employees, including healthcare workers. Given that Bill 124 is still in effect, there is very little GHC or any other public sector organization can do until the three-year moderation period has passed.   

With respect to staff retention, there has been a high turnover rate since 2020. However, CUPE didn’t mention that through our recruiting efforts, GHC hired 71 permanent staff members over the same period.       

Concerning the statement that GHC staff were “denied the pandemic pay provided to other front-line healthcare workers,” this tells only part of the story. While it is true that GHC staff did not receive “pandemic pay,” unlike many other healthcare organizations, under Regulation 195/20, ambulatory care facilities like GHC were not exempt from Bill 124 restrictions and, as a result, were not eligible for temporary COVID-19-related payments.

Since its founding in 1963, GHC has focused on providing the community with high-quality, patient-focused care. GHC looks forward to CUPE returning to negotiations where it feels confident that a reasonable, fair, and equitable agreement can be reached.