Some hospital services to be privatized, Victor Boudreau announces

Move could save millions, but mean job losses in areas such as food, cleaning, health minister says

CBC News Posted: Apr 23, 2015 4:43 PM AT Last Updated: Apr 23, 2015 4:43 PM AT

The New Brunswick government is moving to privatize the management of non-medical services in the province's hospitals, which could save millions of dollars, but mean job losses, according to Health Minister Victor Boudreau.

He announced Thursday that the government is currently negotiating with a private company to take over areas such as food services and cleaning.

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Health Minister Victor Boudreau could not say how soon non-medical hospital services, such as food and cleaning, will be privatized. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Boudreau says a request for proposals was launched under the previous Progressive Conservative government, but stalled last summer. Now, the Liberals are moving ahead with the process and have picked a bidder.

"We're still in the early stages of negotiations with the proponent," he said, declining to name the company.

Boudreau says employees doing the work will remain unionized, public-sector workers, but there may be fewer of them.

"I'm guessing there will be an impact, but we don't know how significant it will be yet," he said.

"But we are talking about significant savings throughout the system as well."

The government has notified CUPE of the process, said Boudreau.

He could not say when the new management system will be put in place.