2016 Edition 3
In This Issue...
Fort McMurray is on the road to recovery and may emerge from the wildfire stronger than ever, says HSAA member and long-time Fort Mac resident Winona Winsor. By the end of June, grass was beginning to poke up through the ashes (which act as a great fertilizer) making the city look greener than ever, says Winsor, a medical radiation technologist at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.
In the midst of disaster, you can count on HSAA members to be there for you. As the city of Fort McMurray saw 80,000 people flee the fire that became known as ‘The Beast,’ EMS workers headed toward the blaze, ready to tackle any medical emergencies.
HSAA was quick to act when the wildfire crisis hit Fort McMurray and forced the evacuation of more than 200 members. Within a few days, the HSAA board had allocated $100,000 to the Membership Assistance Fund, to help members get through the emergency.
What a ride! How to end a 21-year run?
Elisabeth has now taken up a new role on the national stage as secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), to which we are affiliated, and has relinquished her role as president of HSAA. This has meant that I moved from vice-president to president and that an election is being held to pick a new VP. The result of that is expected August 18.
Clara Hughes – winner of six Olympic medals in summer and winter games, member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame – told the 300 people attending that we need to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and get people talking, because talking leads to healing.
Alberta has changed in the 12 months between the annual general meetings (AGMs) of 2015 and 2016, said Ricardo Acuña, executive director of the Parkland Institute. “When I was here last year (immediately after the election of Alberta’s first NDP government) … I made reference to the fact that we hadn’t actually accomplished change yet. What we had accomplished when I was here at this time last year was the possibility of change in Alberta, the possibility of heading in a new direction.
The wildfires of Fort McMurray were on Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s mind when she spoke on June 2, the first time a sitting premier has ever addressed an HSAA annual general meeting (AGM). “If you’ve been following my updates about Fort McMurray, you know how grateful that I am to all of the heroic first responders and supporters and health-care workers who have played such an important role during the wildfire. I would like to begin by thanking you for your courage and your dedication in evacuating patients from the hospital while your own homes were at risk,” said the premier.
Health-care professionals, it seems, just can’t stop caring. When HSAA members attending the AGM heard about what happened to teenager Lincoln Grayson of Beaumont, near Edmonton, they opened their wallets as well their hearts to raise thousands of dollars toward his continuing care needs.
Getting involved in her union is a lesson Tiffany Toussaint learned from her father. “I was taught growing up the best way to know your rights, stand up for what is right and do right by others is to be involved and active in the union,” says Toussaint, a case management co-ordinator with Alberta Health Services (AHS) at the Jasper (Seton) Healthcare Centre.
Members attending HSAA’s AGM in June decided to postpone a decision on going to a delegated convention until several questions were answered.
You’ve heard about it on the news. You’ve probably heard colleagues talking about it at work. But do you know what the changes in essential-services legislation and the restoration of the right to strike mean for you?
The summer of 1986 is one that Albertans will remember for some time. Six major strikes and labour disputes came together that summer when, following a period of record profits and uncontrolled speculation, employers and governments responded to a downturn in the economy by asking workers to sacrifice wages and working conditions as the price of restoring investor confidence
Helping others seems to run in the family for some HSAA members. Seven-year-old Nolan Asplund, whose dad Travis is a paramedic with Calgary Metro EMS and an HSAA board member, saw what was happening to people as the wildfires swept through Fort McMurray and wanted to do something himself. What better way to help that setting up a traditional lemonade and iced-tea stand?
Kris Moskal, an EMT Paramedic with Edmonton Metro EMS and member of the HSAA board, grew his hair and donned pirate garb for a costume party last year, but instead of trimming his locks after the party was over, he decided his hair could be used to help someone else. “Somebody asked if I had thought about donating my hair. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I looked into it,” says Moskal.
The annual Yellowhead Regional Go Girl Conference is a full-day event for girls aged 11 to 15 years. The goal of the conference is to engage young impressionable girls in activities that will promote healthy and active lifestyles, to which they may not be otherwise exposed.
On May 28 the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes took place in Lethbridge. A total of 144 participants raised $29,127.18 for diabetes research!
By Sandra Azocar,
Friends of Medicare
On May 26, 2016 Wildrose MLA and health critic Drew Barnes rose in the Legislature to repeat myths about paid plasma collection and chastise the NDP government for not allowing a private pay-for-plasma clinic to open in Alberta.
The push for paid plasma collection is rooted in an outdated ideology that sees marketization of our health system as the solution to every problem.
By Joel French,
Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta
Nearly one in six Alberta children live in low-income households, a rate that has remained roughly the same since 2006, according to a new report from Public Interest Alberta (PIA).
Meanwhile, nearly one in five Alberta workers earns $15 per hour or less, and three-quarters of those workers are 20 years old or older.
By Jerry Toews,
HSAA Executive Liaison
HSAA was proud to accept the Ed Finn award for excellence in writing for print (staff produced) at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM).