Looking back on 2022, Providence has achieved some pretty significant accomplishments, and all while living and working through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a team effort across the organization, and responding to the illicit drug poisoning crisis, a public health emergency since 2016. (See Fiona’s Progress Report on the Mission: Forward plan for 2022). And, ICYMI, results from Accreditation Canada’s visit earlier this month were glowing! A remarkable achievement and testament to the incredible work happening here every day. (Read more about Providence Health Care’s initial accreditation results).

Between all we have done and the day-to-day contributions we continue to do in service to others, you may not have noticed that we also successfully on-boarded 551 Food and Environmental Services (EVS) staff under Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act): 239 Food Services staff across five PHC sites in June (Read: Celebrating the return of Food Services to Providence Health Care), and 312 EVS staff across seven PHC sites in October (Read: Providence celebrates the return of 309 Environmental Services housekeeping workers).

Bringing these staff back in-house comes after almost 20 years of these workers being contracted out to private companies, a move facilitated by political changes that caused significant labour impacts and resulted in lost jobs and wages to a largely female and racialized workforce, according to the Ministry of Health. Of the 551 staff who joined Providence, 83% identify as women and are on average 49 years-old.

Today, these staff have better working conditions, job security and access to all the opportunities, benefits and services afforded to all PHC staff, and the people we serve have more stable, consistent and supportive patient care. Speaking on behalf of her staff, Bridgette Turner, manager of 50 EVS staff working at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital says,

“Since joining Providence, staff have told me that they feel​​ welcome and are happy to be part of PHC. I find the same sentiment is common among most of my staff.”

Evidence has shown that employees who feel they belong in their work environments provide higher-quality care for people. For Providence, we can attract and retain staff at a higher and more consistent level, increasing our resiliency as an organization​.

In the coming months, we will keep working to fully integrate these staff into our care teams, knowing how important good food and a clean environment are for everyone at Providence. Our facilities don’t run without these members of our extended health care teams.

Please continue to welcome and thank the dedicated people who continue to do the essential and life-saving work of nourishing our patients and residents, and keeping our sites clean.

In total, 4,586 health workers across the province returned to the public system this year. Learn more about Bill 47 in this Ministry of Health News Release.