Unions call for shutdown of private for-profit emergency clinic

Delegates to the B.C. Federation of Labour annual convention called this week for the immediate shutdown of the False Creek Surgical Centre's private, for-profit emergency clinic.

Tuesday morning, 1,100 delegates to the B.C. Federation of Labour's 50th Convention unanimously approved of a resolution demanding the federal, provincial and municipal governments enforce, support and maintain the Canada Health Act and called for the immediate shutdown of the Centre's clinic.

Subsequently, HSA President Cindy Stewart joined a delegation of labour leaders to meet with Vancouver City Council to urge the city to take action to stop the clinic from operating.

The delegation asked that the city make clear to the private operators of Canada's first private, for-profit emergency clinic that such an operation is in contravention of the clinic's existing business license.

Vision Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie promised to raise the issue at  Tuesday's council meeting, as he is concerned the clinic's current zoning requirements do not permit for the operation of an emergency clinic.

Louie echoed the labour movement's concern, not only about protecting public Medicare, but about the immediate shortage of trained health professionals who would be depleted from the public system, should private clinics continue to grow.

"Public health care is too important to stand by and allow private-for-profit emergency clinics to open wherever and whenever they want," B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair said.