Government has enacted legislation allowing licensed practical nurses to be in the same bargaining structure as registered nurses, Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid announced today.
"Our government respects the wishes of licensed practical nurses who democratically decided they wanted to be represented by the BC Nurses Union, which already represents registered nurses in the province," said MacDiarmid. "This change will allow nurses to work collectively within the same bargaining framework, and provide greater opportunities for collaboration and integration within the health system."
The Health Authorities Amendment Act was introduced on March 4 and received royal assent on March 14. Consultations with a variety of stakeholders, including health employers and union groups, were held following royal assent.
Licensed practical nurses are professional nurses in the full sense of the term as they have a defined and expanding scope of practice and their own college to oversee the administration and evolution of the profession.
While the legislation is in force immediately, there will be a period for parties to work out the details of moving licensed practical nurses under the same collective agreement as registered nurses, with a deadline for this to occur by April 2014.
This means that existing terms and conditions of licensed practical nurses employment will continue until the amendments are negotiated, resulting in no immediate cost of bringing licensed practical nurses into the Nurses Bargaining Association.
"While we recognize there may be some costs associated with this change, we feel there are also benefits to the health care system - as having all nurses bargain together for a single, provincial collective agreement will help optimize the use of health-care resources," added MacDiarmid. "It will also allow a team-based approach to care and focus on competencies and scope rather than union, political, or labour relations perspectives."
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
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