Earlier today, I received a copy of a memo that Alberta Health Services sent to staff in Calgary announcing the layoffs for several health workers.
The memo indicates that the affected workers are those specifically working at two COVID-19 testing facilities: Bow Trail Assessment Centre and Macleod Trail South Walk-Up.
The Assessment Centre management team who sent the memo claim that they are “seeing a shift in demand for our resources and physical space from testing for COVID-19 immunization to providing COVID-19 immunization”.
It’s not clear where that demand shift is coming from: is it patient driving, AHS-leadership driven, government driven? Something else?
As part of the transition to immunization, AHS will be terminating multiple positions for health care workers who had been hired to help with the government’s pandemic response.
The following Health Sciences Association of Alberta staff who were hired externally into AHS as urban community testers at the above locations will be laid off.
- Registered nurses
- Licensed practical nurses
- Public Health workers with vaccination expertise
These are specifically for temp positions. The management team claims they will provide casual opportunities for laid off staff, relative to their scope of practice.
United Nurses of Alberta assistant head nurses in temporary positions at the above locations and who have a positions within Public Health that involve immunization. Although the memo did indicate that managers would work with AHNs to assigning them to another urban testing site.
Several AUPE admin positions will end for temporary staff at the Bow Trail location and who were hired externally into AHS. They, too, will receive casual opportunities.
Additional AUPE positions, such as “admin IV” and stores staff, won’t be affected by the transition. Staff in these positions will transition into the vaccination programme.
Workers personally affected by the terminations will be contacted directly via email regarding their individual job loss.
The memo didn’t mention how many workers would be affected and union officials I contacted were unsure of exact numbers.
The transition to immunization will begin in less than a week, on the 20th. Layoffs will begin then, with the final termination occurring sometime within the next two weeks.
The management team called the shift in demand that they’re using as an excuse for the layoffs as “exciting” and an “important step forward”. And they did conclude the memo saying how much they appreciated the labour of these soon-to-be laid off health care workers.
Here is a screenshot of the memo I received: