Under the new legislation, pay and benefits that care home workers have negotiated would transfer if a new contractor takes over at the facility where they are employed.

The province has introduced legislation to repeal bills 29 and 94 that were introduced beginning in 2002 by former premier Gordon Campbell and effectively allowed health-care providers to lay off unionized workers and then hire them back at lower wages.

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the provisions of Bill 29 were unconstitutional and in 2008 the province rescinded those parts of the bill but both laws continued to exclude health care workers.

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA, Doug Routley said, together, the two bills led to the layoff of more than 8,000 health care workers.

“It corrects a wrong where that bill led to the largest mass firing of women in Canadian history. And so, to me, it is of paramount importance on a philosophical level that we deal with it and move it from the books of this province.”

The Hospital Employees’ Union secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside said the repealing the bills will remove the major financial incentive of contract flipping.

“What will happen is that there will no longer be a prohibition on health care workers being covered by the successorship of the provisions of the labour code and that’s very important.”

Currently, residential care home workers can been let go and rehired with different wages and benefits.