Midwives in B.C. have been without a contract for four months and are challenging the Premier Christy Clark’s “Family First” pledge.
Midwives across the province say they will stop training students and offering services within 90 days if they can’t reach a contract agreement with the government.
One in six births are overseen by one of the provinces 220 midwives.
Executive director of the midwives association Ganga Jolicoeur said they plan to increase that number to a third by the end of the decade but both sides are “very far apart” in the negotiating process.
New Democrat spokesperson for health Judy Darcy said the province needs to invest more to train midwives.
She said Aboriginal midwife Eveyln Harney has spoke about the importance of community involvement in the birthing process and bonding with family at a very early age.
Darcy said expanding the number of midwives working in the province would help support home births in First Nations communities that are located far away from hospitals.
She said statistics indicate that midwife-assisted births lead to mothers spending less time in hospitals and requiring fewer invasive procedures, which would save the province $60-million in healthcare spending by the year 2020.
B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake’s office released a statement saying they are still hopeful they can reach an agreement that keeps the province’s health care system financially responsible and sustainable while providing quality care to new parents and babies.