VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s midwives are urging the province to support a new contract to solve the maternity care crisis. The Midwives Association of BC has given the government a deadline before it considers potential job action.
Executive Director Ganga Jolicoeur says the 220 members will terminate their agreement in 90 days if they don’t get the deal they’re offering. If that happens, she says they will consider taking other measures. “Midwives attend to women throughout their pre-natal period, labour and delivery and then six weeks into their post-partum care, so we may decide to take actions related to that care. Or to limit the intake of clients for instance or to pull certain elements of the service they provide.”
It’s not something she hopes to do but wants to send a strong message to the province and show how dire the situation is. The proposal includes 3 million dollars every year for 5 years, to help provide better services for women in rural areas, as well as a pay 15 per cent pay raise over 5 years.
Joliceur says there is a maternity care crisis in BC. As she explains many women from remote locations and First Nations communities are lacking access to pre and post-partum health services and programs.
“Over the last decade there have been numerous closures of hospitals (and in our case specifically) maternity care facilities across the province. Women in all of rural British Columbia are finding themselves in situations where they have to travel very far from home to access appropriate care…these are women that are resourced challenged anyhow and they’re delivering under great stress.”