Health minister to detail 11,000 job cuts at Alberta Health Services

Health Minister Tyler Shandro is expected to provide more details Tuesday on Alberta’s plan to cut 11,000 jobs at Alberta Health Services.

Shandro and Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS, will hold a joint news conference at 10 a.m. MT. You can watch it here. 

In a message to CBC News on Tuesday, Shandro’s press secretary Steve Buick said almost all the layoffs — some 9,700 positions — will come through outsourcing contracts for services including labs, laundry, housekeeping and food services. 

A confidential internal AHS draft plan dated July 29 revealed that the planned cuts were initially much larger.

The document, obtained by CBC News, reveals that under direction from Shandro, AHS had proposed a cost-cutting plan that would have resulted in the elimination of as many as 10,300 full-time jobs, affecting up to 16,700 employees, including nurses and other front-line staff.

On Tuesday, Buick said the proposed cuts were scaled back to “avoid disruption of frontline care” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The job changes were disclosed to the unions in December, Buick said. 

The planned job cuts follow a February report by external consultants Ernst and Young, which spelled out dozens of ways the province could save up to $1.9 billion and find new efficiencies within AHS.

Among the report’s 72 recommendations was outsourcing several non-clinical supports, including housekeeping, protective services, laundry and linens. The outsourcing move was expected to provide savings of between $100 million and $146 million.

At the time of the report’s publication, Shandro said some of the recommendations, including hospital closures, would be off the table, but assembled an implementation team and promised to follow through on some of the measures within 100 days.

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