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MAHCP letter to Health Minister: Take immediate steps now

Manitoba Legislature

Message to MAHCP members:

The news of late has been increasingly alarming for MAHCP members and everyone in health care.  This weekend it got worse, with a nightmare scenario unfolding at Maples Long Term Care Home involving multiple patient deaths.  This is the scenario we have all been fearing, signs of a system that is breaking down.  And today, we learned that a Health Care Aide, a CUPE member, who contracted COVID-19 due to the Victoria General Hospital outbreak, has died.  Words can’t express our collective sorrow at these developments.  Our hearts and thoughts are with the families affected, including the entire staff at Victoria General Hospital who are mourning today.

At MAHCP, we continue to focus on protecting our members.  There can be little doubt that the dire situation our members and all Manitobans are currently facing is due in very large part to inaction on the part of Manitoba government officials.  MAHCP has repeatedly called for more to be done to ensure adequate staffing, PPE and other measures so that our members are protected and supported.

Today, I once again called on Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen to take urgent action.  You can read the open letter here.  At the same time, we continue to pursue these issues through grievances and other labour relations tools, and I highlight them in the media wherever possible to focus the attention of government and the public on these urgent issues.

It is clear that current PPE protocols are not adequate to protect our members.  It is clear that the level of community spread we are seeing has rendered green, orange and red zones in health care facilities all but meaningless.  It is clear that current staffing levels are inadequate to ensure both employee and patient safety.  And it is clear that the time government decision makers and health care officials had over the summer to prepare for this moment was squandered.

MAHCP members work for many different employers and many different settings, so if these dire circumstances don’t apply to you, that’s great.  However, we know that the vast majority of our members are increasingly fearful, frustrated, exhausted and angry.  I want to remind you that social media posts are monitored by the Employer and that public statements of any kind can put you at risk of disciplinary action.  We strongly recommend that individual members exercise discretion and not publicly share any information that can lead back to you.

Instead, I want you to share your stories and your frustrations with your Labour Relations Officer or with me directly, as so many of you have already done.  We will continue to take your issues forward and demand action, but we will do so in a way that ensures you are protected from any potential reprisal.

Please stay safe and reach out to us for help.

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz, MAHCP President