Our take: Patients being held hostage unnecessarily

Two months may sound like a long time, but it really isn’t.

That’s how much time remains before the layoff notices issued to Sunridge Place employees take effect. And, yet, there is still no definitive answer from the new owner, Park Place Seniors Living, whether it intends to become the employer or contract-out.

The contacting-out issue remains the sticky point in the process for the Hospital Employees’ Union. The union acknowledges everything else Park Place has done in terms of notices through the B.C. Labour Code and Employment Standards Act is clearly above board.

But if you compare the situation to the recent buy-out of Safeway stores — including the one in Duncan — by Save-On Foods, they’re like night and day. The staff at Safeway is basically being retained by Save-On and the union was notified to ensure a smooth transition.

No one knows yet what’s going to happen with Sunridge. Keeping patients and employees on pins and needles isn’t the way to go.

If many employees won’t have a chance to reapply for their jobs, they need to know so they can get on with their lives. And if the facility’s services are going to be contracted out, patients and their families need to know immediately that care won’t be disrupted.

The care facility is not like a grocery store where you can just restock the shelves if you want to. These are people we’re talking about, and people in need of assistance to function in their everyday lives.

You also have to ask yourself where Island Health is in all this. It’s responsible for ensuring the continuity of care and a proper transfer of ownership.

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