It’s time for government to support B.C. midwives and the B.C. families and babies they serve.
Public demand for midwives continues to grow. In B.C., we have reached an all-time high in parents seeking midwifery care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum with midwives involved in almost one quarter of pregnancies in the province.
Here’s the problem. B.C. midwives can’t afford to provide the care that families need. Right now, B.C. midwives are the second lowest paid in their profession across the country. Second. Lowest. Paid. The result? If the fundamental inequities of the broken status quo remain unaddressed, one in three B.C. midwives say they will be forced to leave B.C. to make it in the profession or change careers.
We’re in this situation because successive B.C. governments have failed to invest in midwifery.
Registered midwives and family physicians provide the same primary maternity care, and yet B.C. midwives are excluded from provincial benefits – such as health and disability, pension and parental leave.
That’s on top of low pay and having to cover costs for medical supplies and office overhead out of their own pocket. This is now made worse with the COVID-19 pandemic as B.C. midwives have received no assistance to offset costs associated with increased sanitation and physical distancing requirements, including the necessary move to virtual care.
In B.C., midwives have been taken for granted and left behind—no benefits, no retirement security, no help with overhead costs and minimal involvement in primary care transformation initiatives currently underway in B.C.
Midwifery in our province is at a tipping point.
B.C.’s next government has the opportunity to address the inequities in our healthcare system and ensure the long-term availability of midwifery services for all British Columbians.
Where does the MABC stand?
The Midwives Association of BC (MABC) is asking political parties aspiring to form the next provincial government to make midwifery a priority. We are calling on them to address the challenges that midwives are facing and deliver for B.C. midwives so we can continue to deliver for B.C. families.
Specifically, we are asking political parties to:
1. Ensure B.C. families continue to receive high-quality primary maternity care by investing in benefits and business supports for midwives.
2. Make certain that Indigenous families have access to maternity care in their own communities by removing barriers to entry for aspiring Indigenous midwives.
3. Ensure the interests of all British Columbians are represented in provincial initiatives to transform our primary healthcare system by providing equitable funding and support that enables all primary care providers to contribute to the changes.
Find a comparison of the B.C. political parties' commitment to midwifery here.