The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says provincial funding cuts are resulting in the loss of 53 full-time positions at seniors care homes operated by the Bethany Care Society in Calgary, Cochrane, Airdrie and Red Deer.

"It's unconscionable that Health Minister Fred Horne is allowing [Alberta Health Services] to balance its budget by slashing the quality of health services for seniors and others in continuing care," said AUPE president Guy Smith.

"We are still learning the full effect these AHS cuts will have, but so far we know that at least 25 people will be out of work completely, while many more will see their hours cut."

Smith says the layoffs and hour reductions are a result of Alberta Health Services new patient care-based funding model, which reduces patient care levels in non-profit and publicly-operated seniors care facilities across Alberta.

"AHS says they are just reducing money to overfunded seniors homes. Well, I challenge you to find a family with a relative in the system that thinks seniors care wasn't already under stress," Smith said.

Smith praised Bethany for encouraging families to hold their local MLAs accountable for the funding cuts and encouraged AUPE members to do the same. 

"The main funder of seniors care is Alberta Health Services: they answer to the government, and the government answers to us. It's time to hold our MLAs accountable for the erosion of seniors care in this province," he said.