History, Mission and Vision

BCNU members in a conference room

We are the largest nursing union in BC, and the only union to offer services to nurses related to all four domains of nursing: research, clinical practice, leadership, and education. We are committed to defending nurses' individual rights as well as the nursing profession, and are the only health care union that has a long and successful track record of gains in wages and working conditions.

Our Mission Statement, Vision and Values

What is BCNU's mission statement?

The BC Nurses' Union protects and advances the health, safety, social and economic well-being of our members, our profession and our communities.

What is BCNU's vision statement?

The BC Nurses’ Union will be the champion for our members, the professional voice of nursing and the leading advocate for publicly funded health care.

What are BCNU's values?

The seven core values listed below support the vision and mission of the BCNU as a member-driven organization, and reflect key behaviors that guide our daily actions.

Social Justice

Our Mandate and Our Future​​

BCNU's vision is outlined in our ​​Strategic Directions 2024​ document. The 2024 organizational priority is to implement and uphold negotiated agreements that protect and empower our members. In so doing, we will continuously improve working conditions while strengthening a culture of safety for members and patients.

Our History

Key Dates and Milestones

BCNU formed in February 1981, after the labour relations division of the Registered Nurses Association of BC (RNABC) broke away and formed a separate, independent union. Two hundred nurses gathered at Victoria’s Empress Hotel to attend BCNU's founding convention on June 11, 1981.

  • 1981:  BCNU formed
  • 1980s:  BCNU organized campaigns to bring long term care nurses into the union with improved wages and conditions
  • 1988: the Legal Expense Assistance Plan (now known as Licensing, Education, Advocacy, and Practice (LEAP)) was established to assist members charged in relation to professional practice incidents
  • 1992:  BCNU launched its first anti-violence campaign in support of nurses injured on the job as a result of violence
  • 1993: Employment Security Agreement was reached
  • 1994: BCNU joins the National Federation of Nurses Unions (now known as CFNU)
  • 2001: 25% wage increase over 3 years
  • 2006: The Retiree Benefit Program was negotiated, which provides funding for inflation protection and benefits for BCNU retirees
  • 2008: Funding for the inaugural 3 Year Nursing Co-op program at BCIT, aided by $1M negotiated by BCNU
  • 2011: BCNU removed itself from CFNU temporarily, but has since maintained a friendly relationship with other nursing unions and CFNU
  • 2012: The Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA), led by BCNU, negotiates a landmark collective agreement that gives nurses the tools to reduce heavy workload, improve patient care and adds more RN/RPN positions; more than 7,200 LPNs vote to change unions and join BCNU, bringing our total membership numbers to more than 40,000
  • 2013:  Bill 18 was signed into law, expanding the definition of 'nurse' to include LPNs, allowing them to negotiate alongside fellow nurses in the NBA. Prior to this, while they had joined BCNU the year before, LPNs were represented by the Facilities Bargaining Association
  • 2013:  BCNU breaks ground on new expansion of provincial offices
  • 2014:  UPN merger
  • 2015:  BCNU’s Education Centre opens 
  • 2016:  Members vote 85% in favour to ratify the terms of the 2014-2019 NBA provincial collective agreement
  • 2017: BCNU launches major violence-prevention campaign calling for trained worksite safety officers
  • 2019: BCNU celebrates mental health injury legislation that makes it easier for nurses to access workers’ compensation
  • 2020: Nurses celebrate BC Supreme Court decision upholding important public health-care laws that protects patients from out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • 2023: BCNU Members vote in favour of a new provincial collective agreement that includes first in Canada nurse-patient ratios.

Today, BCNU represents more than 48,000 members, most of whom are covered by a single provincial contract. This contract is used as a standard for BCNU members working in private for-profit facilities.

Read more about BCNU's first 40 years.

UPDATED: June 28, 2024
Constitution & Bylaws
Constitution and Bylaws 2023
Annual Report
Annual Report Cover 2023-2024

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