BCNU is pleased to present details of the 2019-2022 Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA) contract that was ratified on January 21, 2019.
This agreement is the result of months of respectful, open and honest dialogue about the obstacles that nurses and employers face when trying to deliver quality public health care. This contract gives rights to more than 45,000 members of BCNU, and will foster a workplace culture of collaboration and mutual respect.
Members will be provided with information and opportunities to provide ongoing feedback as the collective agreement comes into effect.
The union and health employers are committed to developing an implementation plan that honours the terms of this new agreement and addresses the staffing challenges nurses face daily. We will need the support of the government to ensure the safe patient care we all want for all British Columbians.
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Achieving success in health care requires mutual understanding between nurses and employers and respect for the quality care that nurses strive to provide. The following articles address many of the workload challenges nurses face, often in unpredictable circumstances. When considered together, they help to recognize the value and importance of the work nurses do in caring for their patients.
A new patient care needs assessment process will be developed to help managers and front-line nurses to jointly determine appropriate short-term staffing needs. This process will ensure timely documentation of patient care needs and staffing requirements and will also be based on point-of-care, real time decision making that utilizes nurses' professional judgement.
Two new shift premiums have been negotiated to acknowledge the impact and pressure of staffing and workload:
The Working Short Premium is paid to acute and long-term care nurses for every hour worked below baseline or when additional nurses are needed and none are available. The premium is to be paid to any nurse who works short on a shift, provided they are in the same classification.
On units with 10 or fewer nurses, members within the same classification are to receive an additional $5 per hour;
On units with 11 or more nurses, those working within the same classification are to receive an additional $3 per hour.
"Working short" is now defined as either working below baseline or working when additional staff is necessary but cannot be found.
The Short Notice Premium of $2 more per hour is paid to any nurse who accepts a straight-time shift within 24 hours of its start time.
Employers will make all reasonable efforts to replace short-term and long-term vacancies and will review predictable relief needs to determine the need for relief positions. Reassignment will be done in a fair and equitable manner with request for volunteers as the first step.
Paid end-of shift work
Nurses will be paid for all end-of-shift work.
1 – 14 minutes at straight-time rate of pay;
15 minutes and greater at overtime rate of pay.
Employers may create three types of positions intended to fill more vacant shifts and allow for more vacation coverage during peak times: seasonal part-time positions, regular flex, and advanced-hire. These positions may be posted when an employer knows of upcoming needs/vacancies.
Relief positions (with the exception of regular flex positions above) will have a master rotation in accordance with Article 25 – Work Schedules.
Changes and improvements for casual nurses:
Casual-status members receive full reimbursement of employee-paid benefits upon completion of 500 hours during peak periods, as a second option to working 975 hours over the year.
Casuals are to receive all regular benefits for the term of a temporary position with the exception of LTD, which is for a maximum period of two years.
The casual availability bonus is to be paid quarterly instead of biannually.
The minimum hours an employer may require a nurse to work is maintained at 400 hours and the employer may now require 200 of those hours to be worked during peak periods.
In order to facilitate the granting of vacation, Article 44 (union leave) will be restricted during peak periods unless applied for by the CEO of the union.
Changes to temporary appointments will improve the ability to move out of a position. All nurses now have the option to leave within 30 days of starting a position and regular nurses will be able to leave the position at any time should they obtain a regular position that has a greater than 0.08 FTE increase from their permanent position or is a promotion.
The agreement has been revised to reflect and acknowledge that a nurse is more than an employee, but an autonomous health care professional. Nurses have the critical-thinking skills necessary for leading solutions-focused approaches to change. New language has been included to help foster a culture of open communication, trust, and respect that puts nurses at the decision-making table and gives them more control over their working lives.
A new Working Short Rebate Fund will transform the way nurses do business with their employers. Health authorities will apply for this funding to meet staffing requirements and only those employers who have met nurses' performance criteria will receive funding.
A new Performance Feedback Working Group will be created to develop positive opportunities for open dialogue and identify best practices for reciprocal feedback between managers and employees.
Letters of Expectation will only stay on a nurse's personnel file for 18 months instead of the previous 36 months.
BScN degrees will no longer be required for L3 and L4 positions.
Nurses now have greater autonomy over their work schedules.
Employees are guaranteed 28 days to create their own master rotation proposal once they have received the necessary information from the employer.
Staff will be able to self-schedule their own rotations by a majority vote. Those who wish to maintain a master rotation will still have the right to do so.
Six-day rotations can be eliminated or reduced if supported by the majority of employees.
37.5 hours of vacation (45 hours for extended day shifts) can now be held back during the annual vacation scheduling process to be scheduled by August 1 of the following year.
If a casual employee is terminated due to contracting out, the employer must place that employee on a casual list in a comparable nursing position within the health authority.
Overtime bank accumulation will be limited at 45 hours, but will no longer be paid out twice a year.
Employer funded education of 225 hours or more now requires a return of service for 18 months with the same employer and same specialty area.
Nurses now have access to two new types of special leaves:
Personal Leave Days (1 day per calendar year starting April 1, 2020 and 2 days per year starting April 1, 2021).
Domestic/Sexual Violence – (3 days).
Maternity and parental leave have been updated to reflect legislative changes that now allow for up to 18-month leaves
Parental leave for birth mothers is now 61 weeks (in addition to 17 weeks of maternity leave).
"Adoptive leave" is to be treated as "parental leave".
Parental leave for non-birth parents is now 62 weeks.
Accumulated seniority and benefits will remain frozen for regular employees who transfer to casual status. If the casual attains regular status in the future, the entitlements will be reinstated. Nurses will no longer automatically lose sick banks, service and vacation entitlements when they move to working casual.
Professional practice support and access to education is important for both nurses and patients.
New contract language better encourages root-cause analysis of practice concerns and puts greater emphasis on professional partnership and clinical mentoring to elevate standards of care.
Primary care model changes will include a comprehensive labour adjustment plan which recognizes that specialized community services, not generalists, are needed for complex patients. Learning needs assessments and education for all nurses, prior to being asked to complete procedures, will also be incorporated.
$1.4 million dollars will be allocated for professional development and education will be used to support members interested in opportunities such as LPN Ortho Tech, LPN bridging, RN First Assist and RN anesthetist programs.
$2 million dollars in each of 2020 and 2021 allocated for a new pilot project focused on primary and community-based care will create site-specific hands-on clinical mentor positions intended to provide continuous learning and information sharing.
The professional responsibility process has been refined to better address practice concerns directly related to the college's nursing standards of practice. Staffing and workload-related issues will now be resolved through the Direct Patient Care Staffing language.
As professionals, nurses should have the ability to make decisions that have a direct influence on their lives and livelihood. The following memorandums of agreement do just that: they empower our members with the authority to determine a course of action that reflects our shared values and goals.
A Pension Review Committee of three NBA reps and three health employer reps will trigger an actuarial analysis to explore the costs and benefits of leaving the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP). Future options include:
creating the first and leading-edge nurses' pension plan (NPP)
creating a separate investment pool within the MPP (similar to BC police and fire fighters)
maintaining the current plan.
The committee will recommend one of these options within six months of the actuarial report.
During the review there will be no changes to the MPP that affect our members.
All benefits will remain 100% employer-paid.
A Benefit Plan working group is to be established to find ways ensure extended health care coverage for paramedical services such as massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physiotherapy continues in the most sustainable way possible.
Extensive consultation with nurses will occur following ratification to improve the value of benefits to nurses while ensuring the most vulnerable and in-need are protected.
One option includes the creation of an Enhanced Flex Benefit Account with a fixed amount to spend on paramedical benefits. The amount could be spent yearly, be carried forward to future years or withdrawn at retirement as a pension enhancement.
Casuals who work 500 hours in peak periods will now be eligible for benefits reimbursement.
As with most professional contracts, nurses see compensation in many forms – salary being just one of them. This agreement offers an increase in pay for all nurses, and delivers equitable remuneration intended to help acknowledge and elevate all nurses.
All members receive the following general wage increases:
April 1, 2019 - 2%
April 1, 2020 – 2%
April 1, 2021 – 2%
LPN wage grid (Levels 1 and 2) are to be fully incorporated into the nine-step wage grid currently applicable to RNs and RPNs.
Top salary for a Level 1 - 9 LPN is raised to $32.98 by April 1, 2021 – an 8.3% increase.
Year 1 and 2 LPNs will receive up to $487.50 annually, pro-rated based on hours worked as a retention payment.
Forensic nurses are now included in the general wage grid, with the following distinction:
4% premium for forensic nurses working in maximum, multi-level security and a 2% premium for forensic nurses working in minimum, medium security and FCLN's.
College registration fees for all nurses will now be partially reimbursed by the employer Funding of $7.5 million dollars will be allocated to the NBA to administer employers' reimbursement of a portion of nurses' registration and licensing fees ($215 per year).
The agreement acknowledges the important structural changes occurring within the health care system and the larger shift toward integrated primary and community care. New language protects members' who may be affected by these changes and provides more support to nurses working in the community today.
A coordinated approach will be taken to delivering new community-based services as part of the primary and community care model implementation plan; this includes employee needs assessments, a review of job descriptions and collaborative ongoing discussion.
Earned days off will be reinstated in the community where it meets operational requirements.
All regular employees working in community-based services will receive a monthly $50 business allowance rather than the $50 car allowance paid to some community nurses.
Members are no longer required to transport patients in their own vehicles.
Members will be able to have a colleague join them on home visits when a risk of violence has been identified, or when a risk assessment hasn't been completed.
Mileage rates are now aligned with Canada Revenue Agency rates and so will increase automatically.
A commitment to workplace safety allows nurses to provide the highest level of professional care without fear of injury or violence. As leaders within the health care setting, nurses now have more support and assurances that standards of safety will be upheld.
Do you have a specific question related to the tentative agreement that you would like answered? If so, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for a contract expert to follow up with you. If you prefer, call the hotline at 1-800-894-3311 to ask your question (hours of operation are 0900-1700; after-hours messages will be returned as soon as possible).Questions received through the
email@example.com email and the hotline are being answered by contract experts. These questions are helping to inform updated FAQ documents on the
member portal. BCNU does not have designated contract experts to staff unofficial BCNU unsanctioned social media accounts.
digital edition of Update Magazine was emailed to members on December 14. This special bargaining issue contains details on the proposed Nurses' Bargaining Association 2019-22 provincial collective agreement. Read about the innovative nurse-driven workload assessment process that will determine safe staffing levels. Learn about new premiums to compensate members for working short, and find out more about new leaves and scheduling options that respect nurses' professional autonomy. The print issue is arriving in your mailbox in the coming weeks.
Many members were able to join us on Wednesday, December 12 for the first of two telephone town hall events to discuss the tentative agreement reached between BCNU and the Heath Employers Association of BC, hosted by BCNU President Christine Sorensen and BCNU CEO and lead negotiator, Umar Sheikh. While many were able to join without technical difficulties, others were not. We are working with our service provider to understand what occurred to ensure members are able to successfully join us for the next telephone town hall, scheduled for Monday, January 14.
In the meantime, there are many scheduled opportunities for members to learn more about the proposed contract and ask questions. Please visit the
BCNU Events Calendar to look up when the next NBA Contract Ratification Session will be held in your area.
If you are unable to attend, email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the hotline at 1-800-894-3311 (hours of operation: 0900-1700, after-hours messages will be returned as soon as possible).
Details of the 2019–2022 tentative NBA provincial contract online behind member portal
Members may now vote to ratify the tentative agreement reached between the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA) led by BCNU, and the Health Employers Association of BC. This agreement – one that will elevate and advance the profession of nursing – was reached following one round of collaborative, solutions-focused bargaining negotiations.
Three-year deal to go to membership for ratification starting December
BCNU is pleased to announce a tentative three-year agreement has been reached between the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).
The NBA bargaining team and HEABC representatives took a collaborative approach to this round of bargaining, committing to creative and innovative solutions to shared concerns that have been felt across the healthcare system.
BCNU President Christine Sorensen says nurses now have a tentative agreement that reflects an honest commitment from HEABC to address members’ key priorities. “This round of bargaining has been built on a genuine commitment made by both parties to work together and think creatively about solutions to shared concerns. As a result, we have an agreement to present to our members that recognizes the value and hard work of nurses as professionals, and secures their ability to provide safe, quality patient care across the system.”
Members of the bargaining committee will soon be meeting with as many members as possible through a series of face-to-face meetings to present the terms of the agreement to those members covered by the NBA collective agreement.
Ratification materials, including the proposed terms of settlement, will be posted to the BCNU Member Portal on December 6.
The information in the following contracts is to be treated as a whole, until a unified document is created.
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