BCGEU raises concern over Chinese government takeover of Anbang Insurance - BCGEU

Last year, The Chinese private equity and insurance firm Anbang Insurance purchased Retirement Concepts -- B.C.'s largest private chain of care homes -- for an estimated $1 billion.

Last week, the Chinese government announced it would be assuming direct control of Anbang Insurance Group. Corruption, fraud and risk of insolvency were the reasons cited.

The federal Liberal government is now being pressured by various groups to reconsider its decision to let Anbang Insurance Group purchase Retirement Concepts. This is because of the ongoing concern of foreign corporations -- and now foreign governments – having control over BC's seniors' care.

We have expressed concerns about this previously, particularly about the ongoing privatization of seniors' care in BC and how the sale of Retirement Concepts to Anbang may generate regulation and accountability issues associated with private delivery when there is foreign ownership.

"We will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it unfolds," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "We will continue working in the best interests of our members and for the vulnerable clients they serve. We want to ensure that both our members' jobs and services to seniors are protected."

Retirement Concepts -- which operates 21 seniors homes in BC -- has made assurances that there are no impending changes to staffing plans, policies, procedures and operating standards. In a letter from Azim Jamal, President and CEO of Retirement Concepts, he confirmed that "there will be no change in staffing levels, funding, quality of care or existing policies and procedures." 

The BCGEU represents more than 850 workers at nine sites operated by Retirement Concepts throughout BC, with worker classifications including residential care aides, home support workers, recreational assistants and support services workers.