One month before his twentieth anniversary as a home care worker, Pascal Le Gal left his job at the local Winnipeg health office.
Le Gal, 52, said he decided because of the poor working conditions he and his colleagues were exposed to. The problems he mentioned included a lack of planned breaks, lack of time off to deal with personal matters, work to exhaustion due to staff shortages and no salary increases with rising inflation.
“The only increase we have seen in the last five years has been an increase in mileage of two cents,” he said. “It’s quite offensive and a lot of us are furious.”
As gas prices rose in April, Le Gal sold his apartment and moved into an apartment that was closer to his home care route so he could shorten his commute.
“I was lucky to be able to move, but I know others who have personal commitments or don’t have enough money to get them out of the impasse and zero potential to raise their standard of living,” he said.
“Almost everyone knows someone who is in the facility or needs care. We can contact our MLAs and demand fair dealings. Real people are hurt right now. Everyone has the right to the dignity and prompt service for the care they need and the people who they are looking for a fair, tolerable salary for them, “he said.
Le Gal would consider returning to work if the health office showed more respect for the work he and his colleagues did, he said. So far, he is satisfied that he can speak for them and for the clients he serves.
The province announced in April that it would examine senior Manitobans to develop a strategic plan in response to federal census data that show Canada’s senior population is among the fastest growing demographics in the country.
An advisory board will meet in the coming months to develop a plan to address housing, home care and community integration issues, Scott Johnston, a minister for seniors and long-term care, told a news conference.
The surveys will be conducted through face-to-face meetings with 50 community organizations working with seniors, along with the EngageMB website, where more than 10,000 Manitobans over the age of 65 have registered.