Contracting-Out Care in Nursing Homes

Contracting-out care: The socio-spatial politics of nursing home care at the intersection of British Columbia’s labor, land, and capital markets

CS Ponder, Florida State University, USA
Andrew Longhurst, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada
Margaret McGregor, The University of British Columbia, Canada

First Published September 22, 2020 

[Abstract] The provincial health services labor market was fundamentally altered in 2002 with the introduction of a series of legislative and policy changes enabling the contracting-out, or subcontracting, of care workers in nursing home facilities in order to encourage private sector investment in nursing home infrastructure and provision. 

This legislation was intended to shrink provincial expenses and replace aging facilities through partnerships with the private sector that would keep debt off provincial books.

Through in-depth interviews with front-line workers and provincial and Health Authority administrators, this research foregrounds care as a political relationship by mapping how these legislative changes related to provincial budget concerns splintered a specialized labor market, eroding both working and caring conditions, and exposing eldercare in British Columbia, Canada to the speculative dynamics of finance.