A Message From SafeCare BC CEO Jen Lyle

December 9, 2019 | News

Over the next three years, the Ministry of Health is committing $8.5 million to support the creation of a new occupational health and safety agency for health care as part of the latest round of collective bargaining.

We have strongly advocated for more workplace health and safety resources for the continuing care sector. With this latest funding commitment, along with the $10 million provided by the provincial government through the Seniors Safety and Quality Improvement Program in 2017, we’re seeing a positive shift toward greater investment in workplace health and safety.

Since SafeCare BC’s founding in 2014, continuing care organizations across BC have collectively invested over $5.5 million in workplace health and safety to respond to the sector’s challenges. This investment has funded the creation and delivery of critical workplace health and safety initiatives, including:

  • Delivering education to nearly 12,000 continuing care workers and leaders across high-priority streams. This includes safe handling, violence prevention, dementia education, health and safety management systems, safety leadership for RNs and LPNs, psychological health and safety, and joint occupational health and safety committee training.
  • Facilitating peer-to-peer learning through the Peer Resource Network
  • The creation of a customized engagement program, the Tailored Outreach Program (TOP), to support organizations in improving their workplace health and safety culture
  • Developing sector-specific resources formulated to meet the sector’s needs, including safety huddles, policy templates and toolkits, instructional videos, and print materials
  • Taking innovative approaches to sharing safety knowledge through initiatives such as the Safety Den, Hearts and Hands conference for health care assistants, the Safety Innovations Database, and the SafeCare BC app
  • Establishing partnerships with organizations like the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to leverage existing resources for members

These efforts have translated into real results. From 2013 to 2018, the injury rate for SafeCare BC’s long-term care members have declined by 19%—outperforming the sector’s average decrease of 13%. Among SafeCare BC members in the community health support services sector, the injury rate over the past three years has declined by 21%, outperforming the entire sector’s average decrease of 12%.

Work is currently underway to finalize the governance structure and establish the workplan of this new agency. The details of what initiatives this new agency will undertake have yet to be released; however, SafeCare BC will keep our members informed. We look forward to supporting eligible members in taking advantage of the additional supports to be offered by the new agency, while continuing to improve access to safety resources for all continuing care organizations and workers.

Greater investment in workplace health and safety translates to lower injury rates for the entire sector. We’re all in this together. The more we can do collectively to improve the culture of health and safety in continuing care, the better off we will all be.

Jen Lyle
CEO, SafeCare BC

For more information, please contact us at info@safecarebc.ca.