Nursing deal ratified, B.C. makes first-in-Canada investments to patient care

Press Release

April 27, 2023

VICTORIA – An innovative agreement has been ratified between the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) under the Shared Recovery Mandate that increases wages, introduces workplace reforms, improves working conditions and strengthens patient care throughout the province.

“Almost every person in B.C. will benefit from the care, knowledge and support nurses provide at some point, and I want to thank B.C.’s nurses for their heroic efforts,” said Premier David Eby. “This agreement is part of our commitment to continue supporting nurses and strengthening B.C.’s health-care system, ensuring every single person in B.C. gets the care they need, when they need it.”

The new three-year agreement retroactively takes effect April 1, 2022, and includes general wage increases, improved on call rates, responsibility pay, premiums, expanded mentorship positions, and initiatives focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and Indigenous-specific anti-racism.

“This new agreement is an important step in strengthening B.C.’s nursing workforce now and into the future,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Along with investing in the new staffing model, the agreement will support the recruitment and retention of nurses and ensure that they are better supported so they can continue focusing on caring for their patients.”

In addition to reaching a new deal for nurses, the Ministry of Health is separately investing approximately $750 million over three years to implement new first-in-Canada nurse-to-patient staffing model. This model will allow nurses to spend more time with the people they care for and provide better, more person-focused services.

Furthermore, the Province is providing more than $108 million in ongoing funding and additional one-time funding of $100 million to support nurses in accessing training and career-development opportunities, as well as their well-being and day-to-day operations.

“I am immensely grateful for the professionalism of nurses throughout British Columbia and want to recognize the value and importance of the work nurses do and the passion they bring to caring for and supporting people during some of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” Dix said.

The NBA Provincial Collective Agreement covers approximately 51,500 registered, psychiatric and licensed practical nurses in B.C., represented by the BC Nurses’ Union, Health Sciences Association, Union of Psychiatric Nurses, Hospital Employees’ Union and British Columbia General Employees’ Union.

Investing in the recruitment and retention of nurses is an important part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy. The strategy advances 70 actions to retain, recruit and train health-care workers in B.C. while supporting innovative health system redesign and optimization.

Learn More:

To read the BC Nurses Union announcement, visit: https://www.bcnu.org/news-and-events/news/2023/members-vote-favour-new-provincial-collective-agreement

To learn more about the BC Nurses Union, visit: https://www.bcnu.org/

To learn more about the Province’s health human resource strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0059-001464

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:

Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca

Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)

BACKGROUNDER

Supporting nurses, better caring for patients

The ratified agreement includes:

  • Three-year term: April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2025
  • General wage increases:
    • Year 1 – a flat increase of $0.25/hour which provides a greater percentage increase for lower paid employees, plus 3.24%
    • Year 2 – 5.5% plus a confirmed cost of living adjustment to a maximum of 6.75%
    • Year 3 – 2% plus a potential cost of living adjustment to a maximum of 3%
  • A negotiable flexibility allocation of up to 0.25% in years 1 and 2 to support mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties.
  • Other achievements in this round of negotiations included increases to on-call rates, responsibility pay and premiums; innovative scheduling language; the expansion of clinical mentor positions throughout the province; and participation in a number of initiatives focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and Indigenous-specific anti-racism.

New nurse-to-patient staffing model – $750 million over three years:

  • The new model will be consistent with the following principles:
    • builds on actions within the Provincial Health Human Resources Strategy;
    • aligns with ongoing work to advance effective team-based models of care;
    • uses continuous improvement approaches to transfer knowledge quickly;
    • includes licensed practical nurses’, registered practical nurses’ and registered nurses’ designations;
    • will be implemented across all sectors of care, including hospital, community and long-term care.

Other supports to nurses as part of the agreement

  • The Province is also investing ongoing funding of $108.6 million to support the career development of nurses, as part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, including:
    • new clinical mentorship positions – supports institutional memory retention by enabling knowledge transfer to new entrants and workforce flexibility.
    • preceptorship premiums – employ teaching and learning method using nurses as clinical role models.
    • funding will support the expansion of point-of-care nursing.
    • earn and learn – to reduce financial and other barriers to full-time training and enhance the retention of nurses by offering viable career and growth opportunities. This funding will expand the Employed Student Nurse program so more nursing students have access to employment opportunities while they are in school.
    • retention incentive – the development of a retention incentive for nurses based on years of service for nurses in later stages of their careers.
  • Additionally, the Province is providing $100 million in one-time funding to support nurses in their well-being and day-to-day operations.
    • Career laddering – Career laddering opportunities allow experienced nurses and health-care workers to remain within and advance their careers with the publicly funded health workforce, improving retention and workplace satisfaction over the longer term. This fund will sponsor mid-career nurses who want to advance from licensed practical nurses to registered nurses and from licensed practical nurses to registered practical nurses.
    • Nurse support fund –
      • The Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) will create a fund that supports the well-being of nurses.
      • The BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) will administer the fund and assume all administrative costs associated with it.
      • The fund will expand:
        • mental-health supports for nurses who hit ceiling in existing benefits plan.
        • hardship supports for members who have exhausted employment insurance, long-term disability, and other programs.
        • hardship supports for students in financial crisis.
    • Nurse-to-patient ratio initiative – Support the NBA project management, administration and work related to implementing nurse-to-patient ratios.
    • Marketing and recruiting campaigns – The Ministry of Health and BCNU will partner on a marketing campaign and recruitment strategy to promote nursing careers in B.C.

Contacts:

Jimmy Smith
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jimmy.smith@gov.bc.ca

Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)

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