An employer’s letter to Canada’s western premiers on unfair labour practices

BC Care Providers Association recently filed a formal complaint to B.C.’s Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology regarding unfair labour mobility restrictions imposed on out-of-province workers through the B.C. Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.

The regulations contravene the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) which was intended to support the free flow of workers between the western provinces of Canada.

Below is a letter from John T. Manton, President of AdvoCare Home Health Services, asking the premiers of Western Canada to address labour mobility restrictions that are exacerbating the severe staffing crisis in many regions of B.C.

Dear Premiers of Western Canada,

I will try to be as concise as possible. I recently watched your Premiers’ Meetings with great interest; particularly the four Western Premiers’ discussion about the New Western Partnership Agreement that has been in place since 2010. Various Provincial Governments have put up barriers that have not allowed the agreement to flourish.  I own a small healthcare business of a few hundred staff and have a very difficult time understanding why the agreement is not allowed to flourish under its present form.  I know that not only are private health care providers short of staff but most of the Health Care Authorities are also. 

For many years I have hired numerous out of province healthcare workers from the Prairies with no issues because they are fully qualified in their respective fields.  Approximately two years ago the BC Government passed a regulation stating ONLY BC Residents can apply for these positions; which is completely contrary to the Western Partnership Agreement.

There is a massive need for Care Aides, LPN’s and RN’s in British Columbia and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have an abundance of workers in these areas that want to move to BC. These people are highly trained and certified individuals in their fields with many years of experience.  

I have been trying for nearly two years to get this regulation changed with little progress. The BC Care Providers association has filed a complaint with the Western Partnership Tribunal and we have yet to get a response.

The only way another Canadian can be hired in British Columbia is if they move to BC and become a resident. It takes 90 days to become a resident and at that point you can apply to work in your field that you are already qualified to work in. Then once you have taken a very onerous test (I have yet to find anyone that can explain why they have to take this test) that is only offered at one location in Vancouver with few available spots so the waiting list is many many months long with only being offered in Vancouver it costs people many thousands of dollars that most people cannot afford.

I have spoken with my Member of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Steve Thompson and the BC Seniors’ Critics, Ms. Linda Reid about this issue.  They have brought this to the attention of our Health Minister, Hon. Adrian Dix with no progress to date.

I am requesting whomever is responsible for the enforcement of this Agreement to please get this archaic and outdated regulation changed so all Canadians will have healthcare employment opportunities in British Columbia and all provinces.

Thank you for time and attention to this very critical issue.

John T. Manton
President, AdvoCare Home Health Services