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Pictou County Home Care merges with Careforce

Phyllis MacDonald (left) of Pictou County Home Care and Debbie Raine of Careforce have inked a deal to combine the two co-op businesses.
Phyllis MacDonald (left) of Pictou County Home Care and Debbie Raine of Careforce have inked a deal to combine the two co-op businesses. - The News

Two Nova Scotia worker co-ops have joined forces to provide quality home health care throughout the Annapolis Valley and Pictou County.

Careforce Home Care Workers Co-operative Limited, based in Kentville, has purchased the assets of Pictou County Home Care Co-operative Limited, which will continue to operate under the name Pictou County Home Care as a division of Careforce.

Phyllis MacDonald, owner of Pictou County Home Care will become the director of operations. MacDonald’s mother, Kathy Bubar RN, founded the Pictou County co-op in 1988 and MacDonald joined the business a few years later.

The two co-ops have a combined 58 years’ experience in providing a range of home care services to seniors and to people of all ages with injuries or disabilities. They employ approximately 80 caregivers across both regions.

“The two worker co-ops have a long history of working together and supporting each other,” says Debbie Raine, manager of Careforce. “Over the years, we have often shared information and worked together on projects. When the opportunity to bring our businesses together arose, it seemed like a natural fit.”

For Careforce, the deal means expanding beyond the Valley and strengthening the business. The aim is to continue offering consistent, high-quality home care in both regions. “Our greater numbers will strengthen our capacity to offer care, but they will also enable us to combine our resources and strengthen our administrative support to be more productive and efficient,” she says.

Any new expansion or moves into new territories will be under the Careforce name.

For Pictou County Home Care, the merger means maintaining their local brand while continuing to deliver the same high-quality home health care in Pictou County and beyond. The deal also creates a succession plan that keeps local control and investment within the community and looks after the business’s care workers.

For MacDonald, the latter two points were especially important. “It’s a win-win. Our caregivers are excited that they’ll have access to better benefits than we could offer them, because we were a smaller organization. They’ll have more recognition and more of a future, too.”

Both Raine and MacDonald strongly believe in the co-op movement. “It’s a win-win for the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council too,” MacDonald adds.

Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO of the council, agrees.

“Co-ops are more relevant than ever, in Nova Scotia and nationally, in terms of economic issues we face and a strong social fabric,” she says. “I think it’s great that Careforce and Pictou County worker co-ops can come together, join forces, and be stronger. To see this collaboration among co-operatives, which is one of our values and principles, is terrific. We hope it will result in the new co-operative being stronger and better.

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