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A new three-year collective agreement has been ratified between the BC Nurses Union (BCNU) and BC’s health employers.
According to a statement from the BCNU, in addition to the terms of the contract, nurses will now see the benefits of hundreds of millions of dollars in funding agreements reached between the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) and the provincial government.
"Almost every person in BC will benefit from the care, knowledge and support nurses provide at some point, and I want to thank BC's nurses for their heroic efforts," said Premier David Eby.
"This agreement is part of our commitment to continue supporting nurses and strengthening BC's health-care system, ensuring every single person in BC gets the care they need, when they need it."
In total, 40,526 BCNU members cast a ballot; 61% of NBA members voted in favour of the tentative agreement reached on March 31, 2023.
The contract applies to nurses working in acute care, community, public health, long-term care, and other settings within the province’s health-care system.
The agreement includes the following general wage increases for all employees:
Year 1: $0.25 /hr plus 3.24%, retroactive to April 1, 2022
Year 2: 6.75%, retroactive to April 1, 2023
Year 3: 2% increase, plus a potential cost-of-living adjustment (to a maximum of 3%).
In addition to the general wage increase, the collective agreement includes a significant wage schedule redesign that provides meaningful wage gains including new increment steps at years 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30.
The union added that the agreement also includes significant improvements in job flexibility and access to leaves. There are also significant increases to shift premiums, on-call rates, responsibility pay and isolation travel allowance.
"This new agreement is an important step in strengthening BC'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 a 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.