There are important structural changes occurring in health care that shift resources towards integrated primary care and community care.
Some of those changes overlapped with contract negotiations, which gave our bargaining team a well-timed opportunity to negotiate commitments to better manage the shift to community care and support our affected members.
A proposed memorandum of agreement was reached that commits health employers to taking a coordinated approach to improving the delivery of community-based services when implementing primary and community care model changes. Our bargaining team negotiated the following provisions:
Our bargaining team also negotiated improvements for nurses working in the community today. These include improved safety language, vehicle expense coverage and the ability to self-schedule.
Where it meets operational requirements, earned days off will be reinstated and nurses can explore self-scheduling, which brings opportunities for nine-day fortnights or other desirable rotations.
MILEAGE AND EXPENSES
Where All regular community nurses will receive a monthly $50 business allowance that will replace the existing $50 vehicle allowance that is only paid to some community nurses. Mileage expenses will align with Canada Revenue Agency rates and will automatically increase when those rates are adjusted. And by changing the car allowance to a business allowance, nurses' mileage expenses will no longer be considered taxable income – a significant benefit for nurses with high mileage expenses.
The practice of nurses transporting patients in their personal vehicles has been an ongoing concern for the union. This requirement not only puts nurses' safety at risk, but it can also create difficult circumstances if bodily fluids contaminate their vehicles. In previous rounds of bargaining we negotiated guidelines for the safe transportation of patients, but these improvements never fully addressed the issue. Now, under the terms of the proposed agreement, nurses are no longer required to transport patients in their own vehicles.
We have also negotiated safety improvements for members working with clients in the community. Now, on initial home visits, or when nurses believe there is a risk of violence, nurses can request to be accompanied by another team member.
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