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Reid Johnson re-elected HSA president at 38th annual convention

More than 250 delegates to the 38th annual convention of the Health Sciences Association of BC have acclaimed Reid Johnson to lead the union as its president for another two-year term. Johnson was first elected president 2007.

Johnson, who holds a Masters of Social Work and worked at the Centre of Ability before his election in 2007, urged members to get active in their union and communities to make a difference.

"When we look around ourselves, at communities that are suffering in a tough economic climate• at the highest child poverty rate in Canada• at seniors who are living with inadequate home support, and limited access to supportive living and residential care• at low-wage workers who are forced to get by on the lowest minimum wage in the country•. When we look around at all that, I know that we are impoverished if we dont do our part to make a difference," he told delegates in his keynote address.

With a theme of "a vision for change," delegates passed a number of resolutions that set direction for the union's activities in the coming year.

Delegates also heard from keynote speaker Carole James, BC NDP leader, who thanked health science professionals who support the hundreds of thousands of patients, like her, through the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of their serious illness and injuries.

James told delegates that she is commited to addressing the training, recruitment and retention challenges facing health science professionals throughout the province, and announced wait time guarantees in five key areas - cancer, cardiac, hip and knee, cataract and diagnostics.

Other guest speakers included Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour, who urged members to get involved in the current provincial election by talking to their neighbours and colleagues about the issues important to them, and Larry Brown, secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Provincial and General Employees, who reported on a number of campaigns underway on a national level.

Saturday afternoon, a forum on the effects of poverty on the health of British Columbians will feature four HSA members who deliver health and community services to vulnerable British Columbians, and Seth Klein, Executive Director of the BC Officer of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which is calling on all political parties in the provincial eleciton to adopt a poverty reduction plan for BC.

HSA represents 16,000 health science professionals, registered psychiatric nurses and community social services providers who work throughout British Columbia.

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