Union demands removal of AgeCare as operator of 4 Calgary-area senior care facilities facing outbreaks

CALGARY — The Alberta Union of Public Employees is calling for the intervention of Alberta Health Services at four long-term care facilities in the Calgary area that are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to AUPE officials, AgeCare, the current operator, has been allowed to “bungle their way through with dire consequences.”

AUPE says they outlined their demands to replace AgeCare in a letter sent to Dr. Deena Hinshaw — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health — and AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu on Feb. 1.

“AHS needs to solve this crisis immediately as the physical, emotional and psychological toll on workers and residents is extreme,” said AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey in a statement released Monday. “The pandemic has exposed how the supposed superiority of the for-profit sector in seniors’ care is a fairy-tale. Letting AgeCare’s services implode is reprehensible.

“AHS must fix this disaster immediately or the senior residents, families of those seniors and healthcare workers will continue to pay the price with their health and their lives. Make it public. Save lives. It’s that simple.”

The union is calling on AHS to take over operations at the following four facilities:

  • AgeCare Skypointe in northeast Calgary
  • AgeCare Walden Heights in southeast Calgary
  • Agecare Glenmore in southwest Calgary
  • AgeCare Sagewood in Strathmore

The AgeCare Skypointe location is the site of Alberta’s fourth largest COVID-19 outbreak. More than 40 residents of the facility have died of COVID-19 and, in total, more than 350 staff members and residents have had confirmed cases.

AUPE alleges AgeCare management has pressured staff to work while sick or to return to work before they’ve fully recovered after contracting COVID-19, and employees have not received proper training or support for dealing with outbreaks.

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