NBA members vote in favour of new collective agreement

Members of the Nurses Bargaining Association have voted 61 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement effective April 21, 2022 to March 31, 2025.

Highlights of the contract include significant pay increases amounting to a minimum of 13 to 14% over three years, depending on whether cost-of-living protections are triggered by BC inflation in year three, with retroactive increases going back to April 1, 2022.

Additional pay raises will be delivered through adjustments to the steps of the wage schedule, increased premiums for evenings, nights, weekends, super shifts, and on call.

And starting in the 2023 registration year, fees for the College of BC Nurses and Midwives will be reimbursed directly by the employer.

“HSA’s bargaining team has achieved an historic agreement that delivers record-setting compensation for BC nurses,” said HSA President Kane Tse. “It provides meaningful incentives that will help retain nurses today and attract the nurses needed for the future. And with the ground breaking Ministry of Health commitment on mandatory nurse-patient ratios, the employers must make significant improvements to address shortages over the next three years.”

The negotiating committee, led by Alyson Warner from HSA’s servicing and negotiations team, and Nicole McIntosh, a registered psychiatric nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital, worked alongside representatives from BC Nurses’ Union and Hospital Employees’ Union through months of discussions, bringing the collective voices of thousands of nurses to the bargaining table.

Indigenous-specific anti-racism features prominently in the proposed collective agreement. A forum for health authority Indigenous leaders, representatives of the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), and of the unions, has been established to address the ongoing harms of colonialism and systemic racism against Indigenous people highlighted in the 2020 In Plain Sight report. This forum, led by the BC Ministry of Health, will work to address a range of initiatives, including recruitment and retention of Indigenous employees, developing anti-racism, cultural safety and trauma-informed standards, policy, tools, and resources for BC health care organizations. Additionally there is recognition of gender diversity and gender- affirming care provided in the proposed collective agreement.

Highlights for RPNs include:

  • An expansion of the dual posting language that requires the employer to examine their vacancies and determine if there are new areas that can be posted dually for RNs/RPNs
  • An expansion of the previous Appendix M, now article 28.07, to include Psychiatric Emergency Rooms, including those known as zones.
  • The addition of a Constituent Union Steward at Large, 1.0 FTE of dedicated steward time.
  • The expansion of the Strategic Nurse Staffing Committees to include an additional representative from each side so that HSA has a seat at the table as a constituent union.

This agreement also secures important new provisions addressing safety issues, a key priority for members: 

  • A new Critical Incident response process to violent incidences with tighter timelines, and more clearly articulated supports from the employer.
  • An investigation process that includes a third party investigator for allegations of breaches of respectful workplace policies that involve the Human Rights Code, including sexual harassment.