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DynaLIFE out as provider of Alberta lab services


Albertans who've struggled with major delays for lab procedures may see some changes now that the province has swapped providers.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said Friday that "an agreement in principle" had been reached that would see DynaLIFE transferring staff, equipment and property in all Alberta regions to Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL).

The process will be executed through a number of phases, with a target date of completion in December.

The change is meant to address the delays that made acquiring lab tests "very difficult" in Alberta.

"Lab services are crucial in the diagnosis and treatment of Albertans," said Premier Danielle Smith in a statement. "It is wholly unacceptable that Albertans had to face long waits and delays to get simple blood work done."

LaGrange said the switch was "an important step" in improving Alberta health care.

"Albertans expect and deserve a world-class health system," she said.

APL is made up of health-care professionals that work exclusively out of hospitals and urgent care centres.

Earlier this year, the province used APL to boost the number of appointments it could offer in order to address a severe delay in services.

The change will not affect existing appointments, the province said, and anyone needing tests will be able to book new ones throughout the process.

Appointments however are still a hot commodity according to some Calgary patients like Carmen Skeet, who say wait times are far longer than expected.


“Sometimes booking an appointment online can take anywhere from three to six weeks just to get in,” she said.


“It can be frustrating because I've had to spend quite a bit of time online monitoring the site just to try to get seen.”


Others like Al McCutchin however, are already noticing improvements to the system.


“My experience has gone from before having to wait up to five months to get an appointment to now getting in within an hour of seeing my doctor so it’s definitely improved,” he said.

DynaLIFE was awarded a contract to take over the majority of Alberta's community lab work in January 2022.

By April of the following year, Alberta Health Services said it was dealing with long wait times at several locations in the Calgary area.



The Southern Alberta Drivers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta Local 8, say that the short staffing of DynaLIFE drivers has been driven primarily by low wages.


Compared to their northern Alberta counterparts, CUPE says pay for drivers in the south ranges from a 13 per cent gap at the bottom of the pay scale to a 19 per cent gap at the top.


CUPE Local 8 president Kelly Spence says her team has been bargaining with the province for higher wages for more than two years.


“It has been hard for DynaLIFE to retain staff, you know, it's kind of been a revolving door at the site level,” she said.


“We hear from our members constantly how people are hired, they get trained, and then they see how much that they could make working in Edmonton rather than in Calgary for the same employer. So then they leave.”


Spence says her team is continuing to call on the province for wage parity in the south and northern regions of the province, otherwise the next step will involve filing for mediation.


“We see it all the time, you know, lab samples aren't delivered on time and they might need to be redone again,” said Spence.


“Our drivers are working around the clock, trying to get it all done because they do recognize that it is extremely important, but as we've all seen, there's been a lot of wait times at the labs and people are getting burnt out.”


CTV News asked Minister LaGrange Friday if wage parity was on the table for Edmonton and Calgary drivers, but no definite answer was given.


“That will be an operational issue that Alberta Precision Labs will be working on with AHS on,” she said.


Alberta Health Services President and CEO Mauro Chies says discussions are ongoing.


“As we look to operationalize and integrate as Minister LaGrange indicated, we’ll look at the salary levels between the two and look to standardize that in the near future.” Top Stories

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