Monday, January 8, 2018

Three opportunities for change in 2018

Opportunities to make positive changes to our province will be plentiful in 2018 for the New Brunswick Union (NBU) and its members.
Here are three issues members have identified as important for the union to take on, not to mention those we continue to pursue.
1. Medavie taking over the management of the Extra-Mural program
Despite government signing a deal with Medavie for the private company to manage the Extra-Mural and Tele-Care programs, we remain committed to opposing this change. Many groups throughout the province have voiced concerns about the deal and how it will impact the service.
We know the health care professionals who work in these programs will continue to provide excellent care. The concern lies with how Medavie will manage it and if it will reduce the level of service to New Brunswickers who rely on Extra-Mural care in order to reach its performance-based goals which result in bonuses.
2. Paid Plasma
The NBU and its partners will also continue the fight against paid plasma operations in New Brunswick. Despite warnings from Canadian Blood Services, an expose from MacLean's magazine and warnings from physicians, the NB government welcomed the private company with open arms.
Our province is one of only two in the country in which the company - Canadian Plasma Resources - operates. In fact, its New Brunswick location is in the riding of federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. I've spoken with Petitpas Taylor about the clinic before it opened, but attempts to follow up with her over the past year have been ignored.
A recent opinion editorial in the Toronto Star from the chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare - Dr. Danyaal Raza - calls into questions the work being done by Health Canada, the federal institution who gave the company its license in NB and Saskatchewan:
"[W]hat is going on at Health Canada and to who do they consider themselves accountable? As the public regulator responsible for the nation’s health, it is the well-being of Canadians that should come first, not the bottom-line of private enterprise."
3. Domestic Violence Leave Legislation
We're also working on bringing forward Domestic Violence Leave Legislation. Last year, the NBU formed a coalition of community partners to advocate on behalf of this bill. It would provide victims of domestic violence with paid leave from work and make sure they could not lose their job for accessing this leave.
I'm confident this will be brought forward for a vote in the Legislature this year. When it does, we encourage not only our members, but everyone who believes this is a necessary piece of legislation to contact their MLA and encourage them to vote in favour.
These are just a few of the priorities the NBU will take on in 2018 on top of negotiations and providing excellent service to our members.

Susie Proulx-Daigle, President of the NBU