British Columbia will spend $8.5 million over the next three years to form a new independent group that will bring unions, province, and healthcare organizations together to tackle workplace safety for health care workers.
On Sunday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the BC’s provincial government if forming an organization to reduce and tackle injuries and violence against medical or health care employees in the workplace.
According to the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, WorkSafeBC, injury claims increased by more than $11 million from 2017 to $107 million in 2018.
Adrian Dix said, “Health-care providers are there for us when we need them most — they deserve safe and healthy workplaces.”
“This new organization represents a significant consensus by all stakeholders that we must do more to protect the health and safety of the skilled healthcare workers that all British Columbians depend on,” he added.
The Health Ministry, the BC Nurses’ Union, the Hospital Employees’ Union, Doctors of BC, and the Health Employers Association of British Columbia will be leading the new organization.
Secretary-Business Manager at the Hospital Employees’ Union Jennifer Whiteside said the new organization is “an important step forward in reducing injuries and promoting safe workplaces in the health-care sector.”
“A focus on safety in health care will improve the lives of workers while improving the quality of care,” added Whiteside.
CEO of the Health Employees Association of BC Michael McMillan supported Whiteside’s comments. He said, “Reducing injuries and time lost among workers means health-care workers can better provide care to those who need it.” The BC health ministry said the agency is expected to be operational by 2020.