Last Friday, Oct. 14, Providence Health Care welcomed 309 Environmental Services (EVS) housekeeping staff on their first day as employees of Providence. This change followed months of work done across Providence to transition and onboard staff at seven PHC sites:

  • St. Paul’s Hospital – 199 housekeeping workers
  • Mount Saint Joseph Hospital – 49 housekeeping workers
  • St. Vincent’s: Langara– 16 housekeeping workers
  • Holy Family Hospital – 14 housekeeping workers
  • St. Vincent’s: Brock Fahrni– 13 housekeeping workers
  • Youville Residence – 13 housekeeping workers
  • St. John Hospice Providence – five housekeeping workers

EVS staff pictured at the ‘Welcome Home’ event on Friday, Oct. 14 at St. Paul’s Hospital. Photo credit: Brian Smith, PHC Media Services.

After nearly 20 years of contracting out to private companies, returning to public sector employment was a joyous day for EVS staff, some who were working at Providence when services were privatized in the early 2000s, and are now returning.

“It really helps me a lot. Thank you for your service.” – Patrick Bergman, housekeeping aide, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital

While EVS housekeeping staff have always been a part of our extended family, the move to repatriate these staff back to PHC will offer them better wages, benefits and job security.

“I am happy to join with Providence Health Care. I hope I will get a better shift … and also glad about our benefits, too. Thank you.” – Nathapriya Thayaal, housekeeping aide, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital

Speaking at Friday’s welcome event at St. Paul’s Hospital, Benson Low, PHC’s EVS Director, said:

“I want to thank all Environmental Services staff for your contributions to Providence over the years. Your work to keep our facilities clean is fundamental to our ability to deliver exceptional patient care, particularly in these past two years with COVID-19 enhanced cleaning protocols … Looking ahead, beyond enabling housekeeping staff to all the opportunities, benefits and services afforded to PHC staff, this repatriation bridges the divide to empower meaningful communication and collaboration.”

Evidence has shown that people who feel secure and safe in their jobs provide higher-quality care for people, and in turn, helps employers to attract and retain their staff.

EVS staff celebrate their first day as PHC employees on Friday, Oct. 14 at St. Paul’s Hospital. Photo credit: Brian Smith, PHC Media Services.

In the BC Government news release issued on Friday, Fiona Dalton, President and CEO, ​ said:

“Providence Health Care values the close partnerships that we have built over the years with our housekeeping staff, and we are pleased to welcome workers and services back into Providence. Housekeeping workers are critical to the running of our facilities, and are fundamental in improving the health, safety and wellness of everyone within our walls – the patients, residents and families who we serve and those who work here. On behalf of everyone at Providence, we thank housekeeping staff for their dedication to this essential and life-saving work of keeping the hospitals, care homes, clinics and hospice within PHC clean.”

See more photos from the Welcome Event in the Photo Gallery on connect.

New look, same​ service

While there is no change to EVS operations or service continuity, what is changing is a new look for housekeeping staff.

As PHC staff, EVS staff will wear PHC-issued scrub-like uniforms, similar to current PHC clinical staff uniforms, and some may have lab coats or aprons.

Members of the PHC Bill 47 Project Team. Photo credit: Brian Smith, PHC Media Services.

Thank you to everyone involved in this great work including key members of our People team: Labour Relations, Recruitment, Staffing, Compensation and Classification, Workforce Strategy, Systems and Analytics and Occupational Health & Safety; the dedicated people in the Communications, Office of Strategy and Results, Facilities, Operations and Finance teams, and the support of IMITS and Business Initiatives & Support Services.

Our people are our greatest asset and on Oct. 14 we grew by 309 hard-working and dedicated individuals who are critical members of the health care delivery team. Across Providence, many of us have built close partnerships with the dedicated people who ensure our hospitals, care homes, clinics and hospice within PHC are clean. So critical to the running of our facilities is our extended health care team of EVS colleagues, bringing EVS in-house better enables us to ensure the health, safety and wellness of everyone within our walls.

Please join us in welcoming and thanking the dedicated people who continue to do the essential and life-saving work of keeping our sites clean!

To learn more about the EVS Repatriation, visit the EVS Onboarding web page.

Learn more about B​​​ill 47

The provincial government first announced its plans in August 2021 to repatriate commercial housekeeping and food service contracts under Bill 47— the Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act.

Bill 47 repealed the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94), which had facilitated contracting out in the health sector.

Following the initial announcement, health authorities and PHC served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and have started a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts.

For more information, read this Ministry of Health News Release.