Health Care Restructuring Leaves More Questions than Answers

Mar 26, 2019

The President of Manitoba’s largest union wants the Health Minister to provide clarification on some recent legislative changes that could have a significant impact on MGEU members and the services they provide.

Earlier this month the Manitoba government introduced bill 10, which will change the name of The Regional Health Authorities Act to The Health System Governance and Accountability Act.

The bill also makes way for the government’s continued changes to Manitoba’s health care system as it establishes Shared Health as a provincial health authority and sets out the organization’s responsibilities, duties and authority.

The province also says that some existing organizations – including Selkirk Mental Health Centre (SMHC), the Addictions foundation of Manitoba (AFM), and Cadham Lab – will be transferred to Shared Health, which could take anywhere from 18-24 months.

It is unclear what these changes will mean for the services currently provided by the employees in these organizations, which is why MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky, has written to the minister seeking clarification.

“How does forcing these organizations together improve patient care?” questions Gawronsky. “It really feels like it’s all about the bottom line, instead of focusing on the health and wellness of Manitobans.”

The government’s announcement states that the changes will begin in April, and that, “... no employment changes are expected through the transition process.”

However, the legislation also states that the AFM will be eliminated and the provincial health authority will assume its responsibilities in providing addictions services.

“Members shouldn’t be stuck in limbo for years, and I don’t feel that Manitobans needing mental health and addictions treatment should have to wonder how they will continue to receive the services they rely on,” said Gawronsky.  “The MGEU is committed to getting to the bottom of what all these changes will mean.” 

Members impacted by The Health System Governance and Accountability Act are reminded that their MGEU collective agreement will remain in force until a new one is ratified with either their current employer, or with Shared Health.

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