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The safe staffing issue is all about respect. It’s about respecting nurses’ professional voice when they say they can’t do their job because they don’t have enough staff or support.



CONTENTS vol 32 no 5


december 2013



Check In

BCNU members continue to speak out for nurses and patients.

11 Pharmacare Tie-in

Consent award will ensure drugs are covered.

12 Bargaining 2014

Members across the province provide input.

15 Treading Water

South Fraser community nurses struggle with workload under “Home is Best” care model.

16 Champions of Change

OH&S symposium participants take action for positive change in their workplaces.

18 Student Nurses

BCNU reaches out to future members.

31 Our Choice, Our Voice

Nominations are open for 2014 elections.


STANDING FOR PATIENT SAFETY RIVA region’s Devinder Bassi (l) and Vancouver Metro region’s Ivy Velasco at November 29 rally in front of Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. BCNU members across the province rallied to raise the alarm about the danger of replacing professional nurses with unregulated care aides.



Island Health’s plans to replace professional nurses with unregulated care aides puts patient care at risk. BCNU is sounding the alarm.


special pull-out page 17.



BC Nurses’ Union


OUR MISSION STATEMENT BCNU protects and advances the health, social and economic well-being of our members


When you move, please let BCNU know your new address so we can keep sending you the Update, election information and other vital union material. Forward us your home email address and we’ll send you the latest BCNU bulletins and news releases.

and our communities. BCNU UPDATE is published by the BC Nurses’ Union, an independent Canadian union governed by a council elected by our 40,000 members. Signed articles do not necessarily represent official BCNU policies. EDITOR Lew MacDonald CONTRIBUTORS Juliet Chang, Sharon Costello, David Cubberley, Gary Fane, Monica Ghosh, Katharine Kitts, Dan Kruk, Evans Li, Courtney McGillion, Debra McPherson, Catherine Pope PHOTOS Sharon Costello, David Cubberley, Monica Ghosh, Katharine Kitts, Lew MacDonald

CONTACT US BCNU Communications Department 4060 Regent Street Burnaby, BC, V5C 6P5 PHONE 604.433.2268 TOLL FREE 1.800.663.9991 FAX 604.433.7945 TOLL FREE FAX 1.888.284.2222 BCNU website EMAIL EDITOR MOVING? Please send change of address to Publications Mail Agreement 40834030 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to BCNU,

Please contact the Membership Department by email at or by phone at 604-433-2268 or 1-800-663-9991

4060 Regent Street, Burnaby, BC, V5C 6P5








N THE PAST FEW MONTHS I HAVE BEEN TO 16 REGIONAL bargaining conferences and had conversations with hundreds of our members across BC. Many were participating for the first time, and I was impressed by their passion, optimism and willingness to share their hopes and fears for the future. Listening and responding to members’ concerns is critical to our success as a union and ensures that we have a strong collective voice advocating for safe patient care throughout our province. I understand the stress and fatigue of ongoing workload issues and the toll it’s taking on nurses. The implementation of the 37.5 hour workweek has caused chaos to nurses’ schedules. And there is anger and frustration with an employer who refuses to honour the terms of the last collective agreement. The disturbing push to replace nurses with care aides has also heightened our members’ anxiety and fears about job security. And the government’s relentless attack on healthcare budgets and consequent deterioration of services and reduced staffing levels comes at a time when the public needs nursing care more than ever. But BCNU is driving a province-wide campaign to fight back. We are peppering the employer with grievances and arbitrations. We are engaging the media and enlisting the public’s support for nurses’ struggle for safe staffing and safe patient care. I have been speaking out repeatedly against the underfunding

of healthcare which is only exacerbated by health authority bureaucracy and mismanagement. BCNU is successfully raising awareness about the profound impact that government and employer policies are having on nurses’ working conditions and their negative effects on patient care. These strategies and many others are being utilized across the province to pressure health authorities to respond to nurses’ legitimate concerns. Our voices are being heard daily by British Columbians and our efforts are having an impact. Recently, the BCNU held a press conference and media blitz to draw attention to chronic overcapacity problems plaguing Fraser Health Authority emergency rooms. The next day, the province announced an internal review of the health authority. While it is encouraging, the outcome of this review and a new FHA strategic plan won’t be released until the spring. In the meantime, we’ll continue to pressure FHA to take immediate action to resolve the congestion and understaffing problems. I encourage all members across BC to get involved in our safe staffing campaign. Talk to your stewards, file grievances and PRFs, attend rallies and protests, sign petitions and talk to friends and neighbours about your concerns. Every member’s voice and action is needed as we face these issues. Together we can succeed. Our success will mean success for nurses and patients. The winter months and holidays often bring difficult times to the workplace. I want to send a special thanks to those members who will be spending time away from families and loved ones this festive season in order to ensure we all remain safe. Your sacrifice does not go unappreciated. And to every BCNU member, I wish you a joyous holiday season and look forward to working together in the New Year, united in our desire to achieve safe staffing for safe patient care. update





Not good enough. That was the message from BCNU to Port Metro Vancouver after the release of an environ-

CHANGING THE FACE OF MEN’S HEALTH The Mo Bros of the “Mo Men in Nursing” team raised funds and awareness over the month of November through



CNU’S MEN IN NURSING CAUCUS WAS BUSY manicuring their mustaches throughout November to raise money and awareness for men’s health, specifically men’s cancer and mental health issues. At the beginning of the month they registered at with a clean-shaven face and then grew and groomed their Mo (slang for moustache), asking friends, family and coworkers to donate to their efforts. With their new moustaches, these Mo Bros acted as walking and talking billboards, bringing awareness to men’s health issues and prompting conversations. “I'm excited that for a second straight year BCNU’s Men in Nursing Caucus is endorsing this excellent fundraising program,” says caucus chair Howard Serle. “Our team has made a positive contribution to the quest to conquer the scourges of our world like prostate cancer.” As this issue of Update went to press, the group had raised almost $3000, with Kamloops RN Roland Moonie alone raising over $1600. update

mental impact assessment (EIA) on its proposed expansion of a coal-export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks. The Port Metro Vancouvercommissioned report was prepared by SNC Lavalin. It has been criticized by the chief medical health officers of both Vancouver Coastal


and Fraser health authorities for failing to report on the alarming risks associated with coal dust. “The latest EIA report doesn’t go far enough in answering important, valid questions about the increased risks coal dust can have on people, communities and the environment,” says BCNU President Debra McPherson. “Port Metro Vancouver needs to listen to the concerns of health professionals, the public and all levels of government and conduct the thorough and appropriate examination a project of this size deserves and requires” Find out more and voice your concerns at:

Numbers that matter

TROUBLING RN TRENDS The latest registered nurse workforce data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that the number of RNs approaching retirement age is swelling while the number entering the workforce has seen the smallest increase in years.

292,883 RNs ELIGIBLE TO PRACTICE in Canada in 2012. While the RN workforce grew between 2008 and 2012, the number of RNs per 100,000 population declined from 786 to 779.

1,083 RNs ADDED TO WORKFORCE between 2011 and 2012 while more than 10,000 RNs graduated in each of the past three years, leaving a gap of 8,917 RNs.

58.1% RNs EMPLOYED FULL TIME in 2012, an increase of only percentage point from 2008 (57.1 percent).




BCNU in the headlines


“Nurses are exhausted and stressed from the When the brand new effects of chronic congesand long-awaited Surrey tion,” said Downes-Springer. Memorial Hospital “There is a significant threat Emergency Room reached to nurse’s ability to safely overcapacity on its opendeliver effective, quality ing day, BCNU hosted an patient care.” October 31 news confer“We have admitted elderly ence to draw attention to patients in their 80s and the dismal ER environments 90s sitting in recliner chairs across the Fraser or stretchers Health Authority. and waiting in “This is obviexcess of four ously unsafe to six days in a patient care – it’s busy ER departunacceptable to ment that does nurses and should not shut down be unacceptable or dim lights,” to Fraser Health said Martens. and the taxpayers Elvira Martens “On a daily basis of BC,” said BCNU the ER has 30 President Debra to 40 admitMcPherson, of ted patients on the overcapacity stretchers or in problems plaguchairs.” ing the province’s “Patients largest health deserve honesty authority. “We are and transpardemanding that ency from health Fraser Health take authority manimmediate steps agement,” said to find long-term, Janette McPherson. “It’s Downes-Springer permanent soluunacceptable tions, not Band-Aid for the nine VPs fixes that temporarily reduce of Fraser Health to stand in congestion.” front of the public and say McPherson was joined by ‘we are coping and all is well’ Royal Columbian Hospital – all is not well.” and Abbotsford Regional The following day, General Hospital full-time Health Minister Terry Lake stewards Janette Downesannounced that the province Springer and Elvira Martens, would undertake a full review who told the gathered media of Fraser Health’s budget as about conditions at their a result of Surrey Memorial’s worksites. overcapacity issues.

SENDING AID Vancouver General Hospital RN Grace Skovgaard (l) receives relief supplies from BCNU Treasurer Mabel Tung (r) at BCNU’s Burnaby offices. Skovgaard and other VGH nurses organized a drive to gather needed items for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.



OMMUNITIES IN THE CENTRAL PHILIPPINES were devastated when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on November 7. More than 5,000 lives were lost and over 650,000 people have been displaced. The nursing community here in BC includes many Filipino and Filipina nurses, who are in the hearts and minds of all BCNU members. The union acted by donating $10,000 on behalf of its members towards relief for the disaster. BCNU is encouraging members and fellow Canadians to make personal donations to the Red Cross in order to help aid agencies reach these desperate communities. The federal and provincial governments will match any donations made by private citizens to registered aid agencies between November 9 and December 9, 2013. Call the Canadian Red Cross office at 1-800-418-1111 to donate today. update






HE WINTER HOLIDAYS are a time to reflect on whatever good fortune we have found in our lives and to remember those who have been less fortunate than ourselves. BCNU’s regional lobby coordinators had this sentiment in mind when they gathered for their provincial meeting on October 21. “Simon Fraser region lobby coordinator Maria Huerta said she was collecting socks for homeless shelters,” said South Islands region lobby coordinator Jayne Yearwood. “The rest of us thought it was a great idea and we came up with the slogan ‘Sock it to Poverty’.” Lobby coordinators are calling on other regions to collect new socks and underwear for their local homeless shelters. “Homeless people will get a pair of socks and they will often wear them until they are worn out, or they’ll come into the ER and the socks have grown onto their feet, and they have nothing to replace them with,” explains Yearwood. “For our regional meeting on November 29, I’ve asked everyone to bring new socks and underwear, as well as donations of blankets and clothing that will help keep people warm,” says Yearwood. “The Sock it to Poverty supplies are going to be donated to Victoria homeless shelter Our Place.” “I’m really excited and happy about this initiative and looking to continue doing a sock drive in future years,” she says. South Islands co-chair Adriane Gear and Pacific Rim chair Jo Salken are also continuing to head up their regions’ annual food bank challenge. “Last year South Islands won,” says Yearwood. “We raised 560 pounds of food at Victoria General Hospital – the closing date is December 31, so there is a push to gather as much we can.” BCNU Council has endorsed the Sock it to Poverty initiative and is encouraging regions to collect new or gently used mitts, gloves, toques and new socks that will be taken to the union’s December 3 Provincial Bargaining Conference. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition will distribute the items to those in need. Council has also decided to forgo its annual seasonal party and donate the $26.00 per person spent on this event to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. update

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT BC PENSION PLANS BOLSTER THE ECONOMY YOUR PENSION IS A HARD-WON benefit. It’s one of the more tangible examples how membership in a union gives workers an advantage when it comes to safeguarding their security and standard of living in their old age. Perhaps it’s no surprise then, that right-wing governments have been attacking public sector pensions, claiming they are costly entitlements out-of-line with today’s hard economic realities. The federal government, for example has chosen to involve itself directly in the union-management negotiations of 49 crown corporations. And it’s got workers’ definedbenefit pensions in its crosshairs. But guess what? It turns out that public sector pension plans in BC are good for the Canadian economy, communities and individual plan members. That’s the finding of new independent research conducted by the Conference Board of Canada and commissioned by the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees. Your pension contributions are invested in the Canadian econ-

omy, so savings that are good for plan members like you are also good for our entire province. It means an economy with more capital and greater potential because it depends on capital and labour to generate income. The research shows that the Pension Plan savings pool that nurses pay into adds around $60 billion more in capital to the economy, with the estimated impact specific to BC coming in at $10.6 billion. The research also shows that communities benefit because higher pensions result in higher spending in communities where retirees live. Spending in the province is about $1.3 billion higher each year because of the savings in the plans. That higher income also has an effect on provincial employment. The Conference Board calculates that 8,000 more jobs each year in the province can be attributed to the increased retiree incomes and spending effect from the plans. Your pension is an entitlement to be proud of! update

PLANNING FOR ACTION The West Kootenay Regional Executive met in Kaslo October 27-29 for its annual strategic planning session. (l-r) Steward Liaison Tami Donaldson, OH&S rep Susan Crawford, Communications Secretary Lois Pierik, Interim Lobby Coordinator Jessie Renzie, Treasurer Gwen Nowe, and chair Lorne Burkart.




LOBBY DAY Simon Fraser region Lobby Coordinator Maria Huertas (pictured), along with BCNU President Debra McPherson and Vice President Christine Sorensen, met with New Westminster MLA and Health Critic Judy Darcy and Opposition leader Adrian Dix on November 20. The group discussed a number of important healthcare issues, including the critical need for safe staffing levels throughout BC’s healthcare system, a comprehensive mental health care plan and adequate supports for seniors.

COMMUNICATING AT WORK Internationally educated nurses gathered at BCNU’s Burnaby offices this fall to participate in a practical communication skills course to help improve capacity for successful communication with peers, patients and family. l-r: Faranak Amouei, Melissa Alapaap, Karell Gillard, Sharareh Lakzian, Manju Joseph, Kwok Sun Cheung, Marites Morgado, May Ventura

LPN REPS WELCOME NEW MEMBERS The votes being held in health authority affiliate worksites across B.C. are bringing new LPN’s into the union (see story on page 20). And the LPN reps on BCNU council want to extend a warm welcome. “We encouraged new members to phone BCNU’s membership department and register their contact information, including home email, and then view the BCNU web page to see all the advocacy and information the union has for the members,” says Interior Health Authority LPN rep Janet Elizabeth Van Doorn. New LPN members are encouraged to contact their reps if they have any questions. Council contact information can be found on page 49.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S willingness to give the European Union longer patent protection for brand-name pharmaceuticals as part of its free trade negotiations means Canadians will see higher drug costs – to the tune of over a billion a year. That’s the warning that many analysts are making since the Stephen Harper government released a “technical summary” of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in the House of Commons last October. Government and industry officials have since travelled the country hailing the proposed free trade deal as a job creator that will give Canadian businesses preferential access to the large European market. Critics say it’s all about deregulation that will end up costing Canadians more in the end. High pharmaceutical costs are already one of the largest unresolved problems facing our healthcare system. And long-time healthcare observers say that CETA just exacerbates the failed industrial policy that led to the increased drug prices for Canadians. “Canada currently pays 15 to 20 per cent more than the international average for new brand name drugs as part of a deal negotiated by the Mulroney government in the 1980’s,” says Michael McBane, Executive Director of the Canadian Health Coalition. “The higher prices for new brand names cost us at least an additional $2 billion a year, and the provisions in CETA would cost at least another $1 billion a year.” The federal government has made assurances that will fund additional drugs costs related to the deal. But McBane has no doubts about where the money will come from: “It will be paid out of provincial health budgets and the pockets of the sick.” Trade analyst Yves Engler says the increase pharmaceutical drug costs that will result from the EU’s trade conditions will almost entirely cancel out the benefits of tariff reductions for Canadian products sold to Europe. “Harper’s Conservatives are proposing to add $1 billion dollars or more to the cost of our healthcare system, in return for a cut of less than $900 million in tariffs, most of which will benefit European producers. Is this really a good deal for ordinary Canadians?” Many details of CETA remain a tightly-guarded secret, but throughout negotiations, leaked documents have shown the dangers the deal poses to public services, local governments and the environment, this includes the privatization of vital public services like water and wastewater systems – a key demand of powerful European multinational water corporations. There is a two-year timeline to finalize, ratify and implement the deal. update


The Nursing Spirit refers to the awareness of vital principles of Aboriginal healing and abilities to incorporate a holistic approach to healthcare delivery Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada



BCNU works to promote the development and practice of Aboriginal health nursing


VERY DAY, NURSES ACROSS the country make immense contributions to the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and families. Supporting the work of these nurses was the focus of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (ANAC) 2013 National Forum which took place November 9 and 10 in Richmond. The event saw over a hundred Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal nurses from as far away as New Zealand gather to share support, network and link their knowledge. And BCNU Aboriginal Leadership Circle (ALC) members and Executive Council members were there to help celebrate the role of

PRIORITIZING ABORIGINAL HEALTH NURSING BCNU Vice President Christine Sorensen, Algonquin Elder and Canadian Nursing Association CEO Rachel Bard and Elder Annie St. Georges at the October 10 CNA Roundtable on Aboriginal Health Nursing and Aboriginal Health in Ottawa.

Aboriginal nurses who are at the forefront of effecting change in the quality of healthcare. The theme of this year’s conference was Honouring the Nursing Spirit, refering to the awareness of vital principles of Aboriginal healing and abilities to incorporate a holistic approach to healthcare delivery. BCNU ALC chair and community health nurse Michelle Martinson was thankful for the interactive workshops and sessions devoted to nursing self-care and defining what healing means to healthcare practitioners and community knowledge holders. “It was a profound experience,” she said. “We had a session with a traditional healer which left me feeling more centred and

more in touch with who I am as an aboriginal person.” Martinson says a highlight of the event was the meet-and-greet that BCNU Treasurer and Human Rights and Equity Caucus Chair Mabel Tung set up for BCNU-sponsored nursing students from Victoria’s Camosun College, who all got a chance to meet BCNU President Debra McPherson and Vice President Christine Sorensen. “The ALC also held its biannual meeting prior to the ANAC forum, where we identified mentoring and connecting with students as priorities,” says Martinson. “So we are off to a good start.” Aboriginal health and well-being is also a top priority for the Canadian Nursing Association (CNA). Sorensen and Martinson attended a CNA-hosted roundtable on behalf of BCNU this past October on the topic of Aboriginal health and nursing in aboriginal communities. Other organizations in attendance included the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB). Attendees were presented with a CNA report outlining its key priorities related to aboriginal healthcare. These include the need to address institutional barriers to healthcare, the value of recruiting new nurses and retaining of practicing nurses, the importance of recognizing and validating indigenous ways of knowing and being, and the impact of racism. “There was an impressive amount of research,” says Sorensen. “Feedback and discussions helped identify areas where further research is needed, and ideas were proposed such as establishing a pan-Canadian curriculum and an accreditation process that takes into account the need for indigenous knowledge and cultural competency.” Sorensen says the final phase of CNA’s project is expected to include an implementation strategy that has performance measures and a framework for evaluation. update




PROVINCIAL ARBITRATOR ISSUES CONSENT AWARD Most BCNU members will continue to be covered for drugs they were receiving prior to implementation of the Pharmacare Tie-in


PROVINCIAL ARBITRATOR has issued an award relating to the application of drug coverage under the Pharmacare Tie-in that was negotiated as part of the of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association provincial contract. The award addresses the problems that many members began reporting after their prescription drug coverage was linked to the provincial drug formulary (Pharmacare). The award covers all nurses and provides for the creation of a list that includes the majority, but not all, of the drugs that nurses were accessing prior to the implementation of the Pharmacare Tie-in. This list applies to those members and their dependants who were on an approved claim between December 2012 and May 2013. The award also provides for remedies for individual grievances, grandparenting of out-of-province employees on a long-term disability claim as of April 1, 2013, and service improvement at Pacific Blue Cross. The award is the outcome of a provincewide grievance BCNU launched earlier this year in response to the numerous problems our members found themselves facing when trying to access necessary prescription drugs. The grievance set out numerous ways that health employers failed to apply what was bargained under the terms of the NBA provincial contract negotiated last year. Many individual members began reporting that drugs they had been using were no longer covered. Others discovered that they would be forced to suspend treatments mid-course, have reduced coverage if living out-of-province, or endure long waits with no coverage while waiting for Pharmacare’s special authority approval. BCNU member feedback was gathered through a survey the union developed to fully

measure the scale of the effects of the switch to the Pharmacare Tie-in, and helped show employers and the provincial arbitrator the extent to which the application of drug coverage differed from the terms of the negotiated agreement. The consent award improves coverage and addresses the shortcomings of the initial application of the Pharmacare Tie-in, while allowing BCNU to bargain a collective agreement that is in all members’ best interest. “This award will allow for most of our existing members to continue being covered for most of the drugs they were receiving previously,” says BCNU President Debra McPherson. “Tying our list of covered drugs to the provincial Pharmacare formulary was a sound bargaining strategy – the problem lay with the implementation.” The move to the Pharmacare tie-in is a first step toward affordable drug coverage – the challenge now is to ensure it remains accessible and in doing so continue to improve our entire benefits package (prescription

medications now account for between 70 and 80 percent of the total costs of benefits). When properly implemented it will be a good alternative to the one-quarter cost sharing that employers were demanding (nurses benefit costs in 2011 totalled $6,294 per nurse, excluding MSP). The union is now working with external experts to determine the list of drugs that will be covered for those members and their dependants who were on an approved claim between December 2012 and May 2013. Members will have until February 27, 2014 to file a grievance concerning coverage of a non-Pharmacare drug. All individual grievances will be reviewed to determine appropriate remedies on a case-by-case basis. This could include grand-parenting of coverage for specific drugs for specific members or onetime payments to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses. update The consent award recently issued by a provincial arbitrator covers all nurses (RN/RPN/LPN) and provides for the following: •G rand-parenting of out of province employees on LTD as of April 1, 2013 •C overage for Designated Drugs for I mpacted Employees/Dependents •Remedies for Individual Grievances •S ervice Improvements at Pacific Blue Cross Members will have until February 27, 2014 to file an individual grievance concerning coverage of a non-Pharmacare drug.

If you had trouble obtaining medications you previously had coverage for or have had to endure long waits for reimbursement of covered drugs, phone BCNU at 604-433-2268 or 1-800-663-9991 or email: pharmacare @

12 1


BCNU REGIONAL BARGAINING CONFERENCES were held throughout the province from September to November. The meetings are an important part of the bargaining process and allow BCNU members to determine the direction and priorities that will help determine the outcome of future negotiations between the union and health employers. BCNU President Debra McPherson and Executive Director Gary Fane travelled the province and listened closely to members concerns. Conference attendees were given reports on current issues of interest arising from the last round of bargaining and participated in group exercises to help determine the top priorities for the next round. Participants also elected delegates to BNCU’s Provincial Bargaining Conference that was held December 3-4 in Vancouver. Bargaining surveys were also sent to the almost 40,000 members covered by the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA) Provincial Collective Agreement, including BCNU’s new LPN members who have moved from the Facilities Bargaining Association contract, and who will be part of NBA negotiations for the first time. These surveys also provide critical feedback for guiding BCNU’s discussions with health authorities and government on ways to improve nurses’ quality of work life and their nursing practice conditions. “I truly enjoyed getting to hear the concerns of members from every corner of the province,” says McPherson. “We have an inclusive bargaining process that allows members to work together to reach our bargaining goals and support our common interest.” update 1. South Fraser Valley Regional Bargaining Conference participants gathered September 26. 2. BCNU President Debra McPherson reports out to Fraser Valley region members November 7. 3. Members participate in Fraser Valley region “dotmocracy” exercise to help determine 2014 bargaining priorities. 4. Fraser Valley region members complete bargaining surveys that will be used to guide future negotiations.






FIRST TIMERS From left: Christabel Craig, Sandra Stonehocker, Margaret Beck-Johnson and Jennifer Rempel are all Fraser Valley region LPNs who were exited to attended their first BCNU bargaining conference November 7 in Mission.




A GROUP OF NURSES WHO ATTENDED THE FRASER Valley region’s November 7 bargaining conference were excited to be part of the process for the first time. All are LPNs and all appear happy to be involved in shaping the future of BCNU. “I came with an open mind because being a new BCNU member I wanted to find out more about the process,” said Margaret Beck-Johnson who works in the OR at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. “I’m glad I came.” “It’s been really informative,” said Jennifer Rempel who works in General Rehab at the Worthington Pavilion residential care facility in Abbotsford. “I’ve never been to a union meeting before so this is new and it’s good to get a feel for how things work.” “Hearing the other LPNs speak I feel supported. I hope that our concerns are listened to and carried through – that will give me hope,” said Christabel Craig, who also works at the Worthington Pavilion. “We believe in this union and we hope that it comes through for us.” “I’m just happy to be in this union,” says Sandra Stonehocker, who works at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. “I think nurses are nurses and we should all be working together as one. I’m from Manitoba and we have always been together. I’m hopeful for the future and glad I’m here.” update



Busy fall organizing season sees RNs, LPNs vote to join BCNU through LRB-ordered votes and transfers “OH MY GOODNESS, I JUST WANTED to be a part of the other LPNs who joined BCNU. We signed cards at our worksite so we could vote and then BCNU gets us [LPNs] into the nurses’ bargaining unit. But the LRB said that some nurses had to go to HEU, some got to go to BCNU, others had to have a vote and then others had to sign cards again. It was so confusing and I still don’t understand what happened. But we did get to vote again and I’m really glad to be part of BCNU now.” Nena Momcilovic, Haro Park Care Centre LPN. Momcilovic is not alone. Indeed, most us would be forgiven for being confused over the legal process surrounding the organizing efforts of over 1000 nurses who are not directly employed by the province’s six health authorities, and work instead at the 49 so-called affiliate worksites throughout the province. Their journey began in 2012. That year the BC Labour Relations Board conducted a representation vote for the more than 7,200 health authority-employed Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who had signed BCNU cards with the goal of improved contracts, practice conditions and support for their efforts to deliver high quality healthcare. The majority of these LPNs

chose BCNU because they wanted the specialized services and workplace support that BCNU provides. The affiliate-employed nurses had also signed enough BCNU cards in their worksites and were awaiting their own union representation vote this year. But before the LRB had set a date, the provincial government chose to pass legislation last spring that restructured healthcare bargaining. Bill 18, the Health Authorities Amendment Act, expanded the definition of nurse for the purposes of bargaining to include LPNs. Bill 18 also moved all LPN’s membership from the Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) to the Nurses’ Bargaining Association (NBA). Bill 18’s enactment was a positive move that was welcomed by the BCNU and nurses around the province. Indeed, the legislation may not have come to pass without the efforts of thousands of LPNs and RNs who emailed, phoned and sent postcards to the provincial government asking for legislation that would enable LPNs to negotiate alongside other professional nurses. But a victory for the majority of the province’s health authority-employed LPNs became a temporary obstacle for their affiliate-employed sisters and brothers. In the wake of Bill 18, the LRB decided to cancel the affiliate-employed nurses’ applications to join BCNU because these were made while the LPNs were part of the FBA, and not the NBA. The Board also applied provincial labour law requiring that employees in the same classification

and in the same collective agreement can only be represented by one union. The upshot was that all nurses at the 49 affiliates, including RNs and RPNs, would now have to participate in a new union representation vote. Last September, the LRB began to set out how nurses’ union representation would be resolved at each affected site. It used a 30/70 percent formula to determine how union representation would unfold. If a group of nurses belonging to one of the unions at a worksite outnumbered nurses belonging to another union by 70 per cent or more, all nurses would be transferred automatically to the larger union. This meant that BCNU members at 15 worksites found themselves transferred to the Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) or the BC Government and Services Employees’ Union (BCGEU). Similarly, this decision resulted in HEU or BCGEU members at eight worksites being transferred to BCNU. The LRB also ordered that a run-off vote between the unions take place at sites that had relatively similar numbers of nurses belonging to either union. This vote would take place at 33 workplaces throughout affiliate worksites in the Island, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities. Voting has been taking place through October and November, and as Update goes to print, nurses have been voting overwhelmingly in favour of joining BCNU. “I’m so glad that we finally got a chance to choose our union representation and join together with other nurses,” says Momcilovic. “Bill 18 may have delayed the process, but it also means that I am now a member of the Nurses’ Bargaining Association and the Nurses’ Union – it was worth the effort.” BCNU organizers are also working with regional and local BCNU leaders and activists to sign up RNs and LPNs to obtain a vote at those sites where nurses remained in HEU or BCGEU and at sites that saw BCNU members transferred to HEU or BCGEU. Once a majority of nurses sign BCNU membership applications, the union will apply to represent all nurses at these worksites. update




Fraser Health’s “home is best” policy leaves nurses with increased workloads and higher patient acuity

TREADING WATER South Fraser Valley region community nurses Michelle Sordal, Mindi Sekhon and Jennifer Mark say the increasing number of clients with acute and complex medical needs being discharged from hospital is making their day-to-day workload demands impossible.


HEN ASKED TO describe the ongoing, day-to-day challenges community nurses are up against at Newton Home Health, RN and Steward Mindi Sekhon uses a descriptive metaphor. “Fraser Health is a big ship – like the Titanic,” she says. “The community health nurse department is a little cabin on the ship. The cabin is busting at the seams, and the staff members are trying hard to keep their heads above water. As a steward, I work very hard every day to help the drowning staff stay afloat.” It’s a metaphor Langley Home Health Case Managers, Jennifer Mark and Michelle Sordal can relate to. “We’re just bailing out the buckets of water but we’re not getting very far, very

fast,” says Mark. “The nurses I work with love their clients, but feel unable to provide the type of service and care required dayto-day do to chronic short staffing, unfilled positions and no vacation or sick coverage.” “It’s very difficult,” says Sordal. “I’ve found that over the last couple of years, job satisfaction has plummeted. You don’t feel like you are able to give your clients what they need.” Sekhon, Mark and Sordal say an increasing number of clients with acute and complex medical needs are being discharged from hospital, only to be added to already long wait lists in the community. As a result, home care nurses and case managers have reached a breaking point, and are finding day-to-day workload demands impossible. “Our goal is to be proactive and work


with clients to prevent re-occurring hospitalizations and illness, but we don’t get to do any of that,” says Mark. “We only get to do crisis management. There just aren’t enough bodies to take care of the work that is required.” Both Newton Home Health and Langley Home Health were recently the focus of a community nurse survey conducted by the BC Nurses’ Union. The questionnaire focused on issues such as workload, workplace toxicity, weekend work, the grievance process and the PRF process. Workload ranked as one of the biggest concerns among home health nurses. Sekhon says that Fraser Health Authority’s so-called Home is Best care model is creating a tsunami of work for nurses who are already up against unrealistic expectations. And as nurses struggle to meet demands, more and more patients are ending up back in emergency rooms for treatment. “The Home is Best model only works if there is enough staff and funding,” explains Sekhon. “We have very, very long wait lists of patients to see. Nurses are so overwhelmed with their work because of these demands and we’re seeing meltdowns in the workplace. These are professional nurses who are committed to their work but can’t cope with the stress levels.” It’s a similar concern in Langley. “The hospitals are chronically overcapacity and the health authority’s answer to this is to discharge them to the community, often giving the impression that a community nurse will be able to respond to these needs instantly – but this is not the case,” says Mark, who notes there are long waitlists for acute issues such as wound care and palliative care. Both nurses agree that what both worksites need most is more full-time, regular staff. In Langley, Mark predicts four extra nurses and five case managers would take the pressure off. In Newton, Sekhon says six more nurses would make a big difference. South Fraser Valley co-chair Cheryl Appleton says that Sekhon and Mark are not alone, and that Home is Best has led to stressful conditions across the region. “There’s no question that both work-


Health & Safety IN THE WORKPLACE sites need more staff,” says Appleton. “We are working hard to ensure the employer starts caring about nurses and safe patient care instead of their budgets. It’s time for the employer to be realistic about the number of patients that depend on these sites. Right now, nurses are being asked to do the impossible.” In the meantime, on top of juggling their roles as nurses, case managers and stewards, Sekhon, Mark and Sordal say

We love our clients and the work we do, but the unmanageable workload demands are taking a toll on nurses in communities all over B.C.


they will continue to fight for change in home health and community for the sake of their colleagues, themselves and their clients. “We love our clients and the work we do, but the unmanageable workload demands is taking a toll on nurses in communities all over B.C.,” says Mark. “The nurses we work with are starting to take a stand, speaking up for their rights by filing PRFs and grievances. We hope that together we can make an improvement in our community’s health offices allowing us to provide timely effective quality care to our clients.” “Unless we have more staff, there’s no way we are going to manage very well. We are just so burned out – we can’t cope anymore,” Sekhon adds. “Right now, we are just going through the motions. A burned out and stressed out nurse cannot look after a client. Something needs to change.” update

CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE BCNU Occupational Health and Safety reps gather to develop new skills to help nurses in their practice and their workplaces.



TTENDEES AT BCNU’s recent Occupational Health and Safety Symposium could scarcely hold back tears as Kelly McLean relayed in graphic detail how seriously she was injured. A nurse at Erie County Medical Center in New York State, McLean was working in the hospital’s understaffed acute psychiatry unit in 2010 when she was beaten unconscious by a patient who had repeatedly threatened to harm her in the weeks leading up to the attack. McLean suffered permanent damage to her cervical and lumbar spine, jaw and right eye, in addition to a traumatic brain injury and ongoing psychological issues. She’s still recovering from the injuries she sustained, but now devotes much of her time to raising awareness about workplace violence and advocating for strategies to prevent it. McLean was just one of the keynote speakers at “Champions of Change”, a BCNUorganized event that saw union occupational

health and safety representatives from around the province come together in New Westminster on November 5 to explore ways of moving beyond the status quo and developing new skills that can effect change for the better for nurses in their practice and their workplace. Participants also heard from BCNU President Debra McPherson, who recalled organizing for safe working conditions in the early years of the union. “It was difficult, but the end-goal of having a member-run organization that reflected the wishes of the members’, that fought actively for them, that listened to them and acted on what they thought, that was the vision, that was the dream. We are challenged every day to remain true to the combined vision of our membership.” McLean credited her union, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), for supporting her through her ongoing ordeal and for having the power to effect change. “Nurses




INSPIRING DAY New York State nurse Kelly McLean (above) shared the story of her traumatic injury at the hands of a patient, and how she worked with her union to demand state-wide safety improvements in the aftermath of the incident. Above right: symposium participants participate in small group work.

are discouraged from reporting these incidents and accept them as a part of our job. That has to change. You have the right to protect yourself,” she said, telling attendees how nurses across New York State demanded changes to improve their safety at work in the aftermath of the incident. It is now a felony to attack a nurse on the job. “They’ve been there for me, they’ve been active and vocal, and they had my back,” she said of the NYSNA. Symposium participants also heard from internationally acclaimed motivational speaker Peter Legge, a bestselling author and CEO of Canada Wide Media Limited, the largest independently owned magazine publishing company in Western Canada. Legge asked members to find the “why” in their motivation. “Knowing why you do what you do allows you to know that you can make a difference,” he said, reminding nurses that they are among the most widely respected of all professions, and urging participants to keep pushing for positive change. Attendees were also treated to a video collage meant to inspire and energize OH&S reps to carry on doing the work that helps to make all nurses and their patients safer. “Mr. Legge was so inspiring,” said Simon Fraser region OH&S rep Sherry Risdale. “The way he spoke to us and what he said was so uplifting, it gave you the sense that you can do anything, that there’s no job too big that you can’t accomplish.” Symposium participant and Provincial Health Services Authority Nursing Informatics Clinical

Support Analyst Mycal Barrowclough was also impressed by the keynote presentations. “Both guest speakers were absolutely amazing – the agenda took me from low to high,” he said. “The first speaker’s [McLean] stories were so scary. We all know violence at work could happen to any one of us, and here was someone who experienced it. It was extremely motivating to see how resilient nurses are.” Participants also worked in small groups to practice skills meant to amplify the work that BCNU OH&S reps already use to help members. They identified problems in their individual worksites and applied strategic action plans, objectives and visions statements to resolve their issues. “It’s important that members get the opportunity to engage and connect with their peers from around the province,” says BCNU Executive Councillor Margaret Dhillon. “Many of our OH&S reps share the same challenges, fears and hopes, and often work in relative isolation from each other. An event like this helps them to plan for action and come away inspired and committed.” Barrowclough agrees. “It’s easy to get so wrapped up at your worksite that you feel like you’re the only one dealing with some of these issues,” he says. “But this symposium brings members together from all across the province. We have the same issues, even if the details are slightly different. This makes you aware of the resources we have thanks to our union. It gives you a feeling that you are not alone.” update

Every year regional OH&S representatives and stewards run a variety of OH&S outreach events at worksites throughout the province. Their aim is to raise awareness about health and safety concerns in the workplace and engage members in dialogue about solutions. This year, planned events include walkabouts, giveaways, information booths, bulletin board displays and presentations to Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees. “We hope these events will contribute to an increased awareness of the health and safety issues faced by our members, as well as their right to work in a safe environment,” says Executive Councillor (OH&S) Marg Dhillon. “If you are interested in participating in an OH&S outreach event, or hosting one at your worksite, please contact your steward or regional OH&S representative.” EVENT DAYS IN 2014 FEBRUARY 26, 2014 International Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) Awareness Day FEBRUARY 28, 2014 Anti-bullying Day APRIL 28, 2014 International Day of Mourning MAY 4-10, 2014 Safety and Health Week





FUTURE LEADERS Meet the organizing team behind the 2014 Canadian Nursing Students’ Association National Conference taking place next January in Vancouver. From left to right: Sandy Gum – National Conference Director, Charlene Abaquin - Conference Editor, Lan Luan Zheng - Speakers and National Team Coordinator, Carman Leung - Volunteer and Promotions Coordinator, Cerina Castillo - Social Events Coordinator and Gerald Diego - Marketing and Promotions Coordinator.

ALL IT SUCCESSION planning. Or call it leadership development. For BCNU North West region chair Sharon Sponton and the other BCNU regional executives attending Capilano University College’s labour studies program in 2009, they just agreed it was something they should focus on. “Suzie Ford, who was then Shaugnessy Heights region chair and BCNU Council Student Liaison, proposed that we develop nursing student outreach modules as part of our group project,” recalls Sponton. “We all agreed that BCNU’s efforts to connect with students would be more effective if we were able to provide standardized outreach resources to regional chairs so that lines of communication could be opened up with nursing programs and students.” For any successful organization, it’s important to be able to identify future leaders and members who are drawn to and understand the organization’s mission and values. For Sponton and her cohort, they knew if they were going to do that, it would be best to start early, and connect with students to help them understand the important role that BCNU plays in their careers and their practice, and how the union fits into and relates with the larger constellation of organizations that is part of a working nurse’s life. Today, Sponton has assumed the role of BCNU Council Student Liaison (a position she holds while sitting on the union’s Member Engagement Committee) and she is excited about the potential of the student modules


that have been developed as a result of the 2009 project. One of her first objectives in her role was to update the modules based on student feedback. And this summer BCNU’s Education Department conducted student focus groups in the lower mainland to test the newly updated modules. It’s all part of BCNU’s ongoing effort to connect with students and hear about issues that are important to them. “There are four modules – one for each year,” explains Sponton. “These include an introduction to the union and its history, contract interpretation, occupational health and safety issues and the employed student nurse program — and all of the modules are delivered by BCNU regional chairs.” She adds that they are designed for both RN and LPN students (modules one and two, and three and four are combined to be delivered to LPN’s in their two-year program). Sponton says the modules are an indication of the progress BCNU is making in its outreach efforts. “When I was a student I wasn’t exposed to the union. I only recognized the significance of the union after I became a working nurse, and I only wish I had known about it earlier, and had that knowledge and insight earlier.” “I think historically there’s been a gap that students have with respect to the union and the role that unions play within their career and their practice,” she says. “It was only

after I graduated and became a practicing nurse that I became involved in understanding the union and becoming more knowledgeable about what it had to offer and the role it played for me in my day-today practice. It was only then that I became hungry for more knowledge.” Sponton reports that the student feedback on the modules to-date has been positive. “There are varying degrees of understanding, which help open up useful conversations about the role of the union,” she says. “Students are aware that the union exists, but when you have the conversation you see the light bulb go off in their head and they say they understand now the significance of the union. For example, we showed some students the Professional Responsibility Forms that they had seen but did not fully understand, and were able to connect that to a discussion about upholding standards of practice.” Second-year BCIT nursing student Winica Dewangga attended the recent focus group and found it worthwhile. “I didn’t have an awareness of the work of BCNU prior to the focus group,” she says. “Afterwards, I had a better understanding of the differences between the regulatory college and the union — I’m actually disappointed that we didn’t get this information in our first year curriculum.” “The focus group was very useful in helping me better understand the role of BCNU,” says fourthyear Langara College nursing student Sandy Gum. “I could see the role that BCNU played in advocating for nurses and also families and communities. It’s clear that BCNU has a

When I was a student I wasn’t exposed to the union. I only recognized its significance after I became a working nurse.

Sharon Sponton, North West region chair


broader mandate than just labour CONNECTING WITH CLASSMATES BCNU issues.” Student Liaisons Sponton is are an important certain that communication link the feedback between nursing students and BCNU. provided These elected through the volunteer positions focus groups will give participants help improve leadership and professional development the modules opportunities while they and give BCNU serve as a resource to region chairs fellow students. Student more effective Liaisons meet four times a year with a BCNU tools to better regional chair and deliver connect with reports to classmates students. But following BCNU events. she says some The program is just one way BCNU is working to challenges will build the nursing leaders remain. of tomorrow. “Postsecondary classroom time is at a premium and sometimes it’s hard to get, so we might meet over pizza or at the end of the day,” she says. “Sometimes the faculty doesn’t know what we are delivering, so we are also outreaching to staff with a brochure to explain what we do. We also have a card for the student rep program.” (see sidebar) Sponton says at the end of the day the modules are about connecting with future leaders who are excited about the work BCNU does. “It’s about getting into the classroom to try and organize student representative leaders in each of the years so that we have a connection, a communication link between the provincial union, the regional union and the students in each of the classes.” “For us, student nurses are the future of our union. The union is members and students are tomorrow’s members.” update



Volunteering allows students to apply skills and gain a deeper understanding of their profession


CNU STUDENT NURSE members Winica Dewangga and Rebekah Lyons are second-year BCIT students, but they are not waiting until graduation to start consolidating their nursing skills. Both recently volunteered at a rural clinic in the Rasuwa district of Nepal. They say it was a life-changing experience that confirmed their decision to pursue nursing as a career, and encourage all nurses to consider sharing their skills abroad. “It’s so easy to take Canadians’ access to healthcare and education for granted,” says Lyons, who’s certain her experience will improve her ability to nurse. “Working in Nepal has helped me to better appreciate the whole person and all of the issues that bring a person into the healthcare system.” “I love volunteering and now that I have this knowledge I want to share it,” says Dewangga. “It’s not hard to do–there are many organizations to connect with.” She agrees the experince has helped her own practice. “You get to consolidate your skills as there is a continual flow of patients at a rural clinic, and you really work on using to non-verbal communication.” The following is Dewangga’s brief account of her recent trip: Our journey to the Karing for Kids (KFK) clinic in Goljung Rasuwa, began with a bus ride to Dunche, followed by a gruelling trek through a landslide. Thirteen hours later we had arrived at KFK and the life-changing experience officially began. KFK is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm everyday, although locals will still come to receive care at closed hours due to the distance that they must travel from their own villages. With a small supply of various medications,

a safe birthing clinic, and guaranteed trusted health care, KFK is extremely well respected by the local communities and patient turnover is quite rapid. During our volunteer work at KFK, the staff team consisted of a health assistant, nurse, midwife, and lab technician. We were able to work along side the nurse during our time at the clinic to provide basic patient care, participate in outreach programs to provide child immunizations and safe family planning, as well as partake in the breastfeeding program to get a clear understanding of how appropriate health education is severely lacking in these areas. As British Columbia Institute of Technology student nurses, we applied the three philosophies of the program: humanism, phenomenology, and critical social theory throughout our work in Nepal. Using these philosophical foundations as a part of our critical thinking

skills, we were able to offer exceptional care from our education at BCIT. The Chief Executive Officer of KFK, Guan Lama, discussed the importance of promoting KFK and sharing our positive experiences in an effort to inspire other student nurses to consider Nepal as a place to volunteer. There are various locations in Nepal that are in need of assistance and education. Whether you are a student or a registered nurse the opportunities to volunteer in this small country are endless and are greatly appreciated by both the citizens and the health authorities of Nepal. Dewangga and Lyons would be happy to answer any questions that you may have for them on their experiences at KFK at: For more info: visit

LIFE-CHANGING Second-year nursing students Rebekah Lyons and Winica Dewangga recently volunteered at a rural health centre in Nepal.


LANGARA NURSING STUDENTS HOST 2014 CNSA NATIONAL CONFERENCE SANDY GUM HAS A LOT on her plate these days. The fourth-year Langara College nursing student is the key organizer of the upcoming Canadian Nursing Student’s Association National Conference taking place next January in Vancouver. Gum, who plans on pursuing a nursing career focused on health informatics, says she was drawn to nursing because of the variety of career options available to graduates. Perhaps this attraction to variety was part of the appeal of coordinating a national event. Gum says she was inspired by the work that other students had done for their communities and schools after attending the 2012 CNSA National Conference in Saskatchewan. “Langara students put in a bid to host the CNSA Western Regional Conference in October 2012 – we were successful and I served as Co-Director,” says Gum. “I thought I was finished, but the chair of our faculty asked if we would consider hosting the National Conference in 2014. So we organized a bid at the CNSA 2013 National Conference in Halifax last January, and we won.” Since then, Gum and other organizers have been busy with the tasks required by an event of this scale, all the while continuing their studies. The group has developed the conference theme, scheduled speakers, organized social events and produced a video

to promote the event. “The main challenge is the amount of communication required,” says Gum, who is very optimistic about January’s conference. “My planning team is very supportive and always by my side.” Gum is grateful for BCNU’s sponsorship of the event. “We’re really fortunate to have the support of the nurses’ union. They not only advocate for nurses, but also for nursing students, and this is something that students across Canada who are attending our event should be aware of.” BCNU Council Student Liaison and North East region chair Sharon Sponton also feels the CNSA event is a worthwhile investment. “We support nursing students from all over the province to attend the CNSA Annual National Conference,” she says. “The feedback we have received from attendees has been excellent, and they report that it’s a fantastic opportunity to network with other students.” Sponton also notes that BCNU’s sponsorship of the CNSA is important for building alliances. “For students it is an introduction to the union and other nurses from around the province, and they are exposed to some of the work that the union does,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a student at a CNSA conference and then two or three years later I see them at the BCNU annual convention.”



HANDS ON TRAINING Kwantlen University College nursing student Melissa Bose says her participation in the Employed Student Nurse program allows her to take on responsibilities she would not find in school.


VERY WEEK, Kwantlen College nursing student Melissa Bose, applies what she’s learning in the classroom to the emergency room at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The 23-year-old is a member of the Employed Student Nurse program, designed to give students hands on training as part of their education. “Responsibilities vary from day to day,” says Melissa. “Depending on the workload, we are sometimes assigned to a nursing team or we’ll be asked to take half of the patient load if it’s really busy. I learn how to do something different every day and do things that I might otherwise not be able to do at school.”

The program (originally called the Undergraduate Nurse Program) was launched in 2001 for students in registered nursing programs. Student nurses, employers, educators, the Registered Nurses’ Association of BC and BCNU collaborated to make it a reality. BCNU and employers then developed a letter of understanding to spell out the terms and conditions of employment. The ESN program has a varying workload of special part-time or part-year positions that are additional to the normal staff complement. The base wage of $26.52 an hour also helps students like Melissa pay the bills while she’s studying. “The program allows me to learn and make some money





at the same time, which is great,” says Melissa. Melissa and the other student nurses in the program are scheduled to work a certain amount of hours each year, dependent on which Health Authorities they are working in. In Fraser Health, students can work up to 400 hours annually. In Vancouver Coastal, students are limited to 300 hours. BCNU Council Student Liaison and North West region chair Sharon Sponton says the program is a “win-win” that provides nursing students at various levels within their programs with job opportunities and paid experience. “This is what they want to be doing – It’s paid orientation,” says Sponton. “It’s

STUDENT IN SOLIDARITY Firstyear Vancouver Island university student Brianna Olenick signs petition protesting Island Health’s care delivery restructuring plans. Olenick attended the BCNU Pacific Rim regional meeting November 29 in Nanaimo.

an effective recruitment strategy for health employers that gives nurses work during the summer and also allows them to consolidate their skills.” In addition, student nurses are paying members of BCNU and every time the Provincial Collective Agreement is bargained, the letter of understanding is also re-negotiated. Melissa is on her way to graduating from the nursing program at Kwantlen University College and would like to continue on at Surrey Memorial Hospital. She says that although the job comes with its fair share of challenges, the work they do every day is extremely rewarding. “The hardest part of the job is seeing people you can’t really help -- those who are terminally ill. I was inspired to be a nurse after a close friend of mine was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After that, I decided I really wanted to help people in any way I could,” says Melissa. “The best way of dealing with the challenges this job presents, is to find an outlet that relieves stress. Whether it’s going to the gym or volunteering somewhere, both can take your mind off things when necessary. It’s also good to have a close network of friends that you can lean on when things get tough.” For more information on the ESN program, visit: or contact a health authority human resources department.


with caucus chair Kelly Woywitka to find out more.

AN INTERVIEW WITH WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES CAUCUS CHAIR KELLY WOYWITKA THE BCNU WORKERS with Disabilities Caucus is one of five BCNU equity-seeking caucuses. It was established to provide a safe space for union members who identify as workers with disabilities to address the issues and challenges of working in environments that are often unforgiving towards those who have some form of disability. Caucus members from across the province work to find ways to strengthen the voice of workers with disabilities within the union and to cultivate conditions that promote respect and safety in the workplace. They are actively engaged in a range of union activities from serving on steward teams to attending regional meetings to raising awareness of the challenges that many members face when returning to work in an accommodated position. Update Magazine sat down

UPDATE The theme of this year’s BCNU Human Rights and Equity Conference is “rights, practice, activism”. What does that mean to the Workers with Disabilities Caucus? WOYWITKA It means you have a right to practice. If you get injured – say you’re in a car accident– post-injury you’re trying to come back to work. You’ve still got your mind, you’ve still got most of your skills, but there may be some things you’re unable to do. That shouldn’t stop you from living a full and productive life and continuing in the profession you choose. And, the Labour Code requires that employers have a duty to accommodate without undue hardship. At the end of the day, the Workers with Disabilities Caucus is the one caucus that anybody could one day belong to. So, in terms of activism, we have to make it quite clear that people didn’t choose this path – it’s something that happened to them and they want to come back to work. UPDATE The slogan for the Workers with Disabilities Caucus is “finding a fit”. What does that mean? WOYWITKA It means that if someone has a disability and they want to go back to


work, there’s a job for them. It’s about taking the puzzle pieces and finding a place for them to fit. When a position is found that actually accommodates their needs, then they can bump seniority and get the job if they have a duty to accommodate. Unfortunately, there is often some resistance and animosity toward those people who are bumping into jobs. Bumping doesn’t happen as much as people think, but it happens enough that it’s really important to ensure there’s better understanding from the other members. Until you’re there, you don’t know. UPDATE What do you think needs to happen for other members to really understand and have empathy toward members of the Workers with Disabilities Caucus? WOYWITKA There needs to be greater awareness and understanding. As nurses we don’t practice medicine, we practice caring! So it should be enough to see that other member flourish and be whole again. This union is about making a person whole again, and so it’s about raising awareness, and the best way we can do that is to just keep sending out the message. UPDATE How did you come to be involved in the caucus? How did you identify? WOYWITKA I got in three car accidents, none which were my fault. I was actually told that I would probably never go back to work. But I went to the gym and I worked hard. I continue to have problems with my hip, so my only duty to accommodate requirement is that I can’t work more than three

11-hour shifts. Otherwise the fatigue would break me down and I wouldn’t be able to do the fourth shift. So my accommodation requires that I only work part-time. There was some animosity when I bumped ahead of some other nurses to get a part-time line. But now that it’s done, the others have gotten over it and they understand that I can’t do anything about my condition. I’m sure as I get older and my condition will degenerate and my position will become more part-time, but as a rule I can do most things. UPDATE Can you describe a specific example where the caucus had a positive influence on a member or group of members? WOYWITKA Last year, at one of the conferences, I placed a Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and little island of misfit toys display on my table, and people asked, “Why do you have a big Christmas display over here?” I said, “Well since 1964 Burl Ives has been trying to say that people shouldn’t be labelled. Look at Rudolph: people wouldn’t let him play in any reindeer games because he was different, because he had a red nose. But he was the one that saved Christmas. And look at all the toys: just because the Jack

in the Box was different, and just because the elf didn’t want to make toys (he wanted to be a dentist), they still found homes, they were still loved, and they’re still whole.” And that’s a lot of what all of the human rights and equity caucuses are about. We need to stop labelling people, accept them for who they are and let them be. Who knows? Maybe one day we won’t need caucuses, because the awareness will be there. update


HOW TO CONTACT YOUR HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUITY REPS BCNU Human Rights and Diversity Caucus Mabel Tung, Chair C 604-328-9346 E Aboriginal Leadership Circle Michelle Martinson, Chair E Lisa Walker, Council Liaison C 604-880-9105 E Workers with Disability Caucus Kelly Woywitka, Chair E Jacquie Nault, Council Liaison C 250-960-8621 E LGBT Caucus Cynthia Reid, Chair E Kath-Ann Terrett, Council Liaison C 604-828-0155 E Men in Nursing Group Howard Searle, Chair E Deb Ducharme, Council Liaison C 250-804-9964 E Workers of Colour Caucus Jessica Celeste, Co-Chair E Mabel Tung, Council Liaison C 604-328-9346 E


FEWER NURSES EQUALS LESS CARE That was the message that nurses around the province sent to Island Health and the provincial government November 29. BCNU members at the rally in front of Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital (above) were supported by fellow nurses at rallies in Prince George and Vernon.







If Island Health had any doubts about nurses’ resolve to stop its plan to replace professional nurses with care aides, they should certainly have been removed by the shouts of hundreds of BCNU members and supporters at the rally outside Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital November 29. The loud and energetic event saw red-and-blackclad nurses gather from all over Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, and was just the latest reaction to the health authority’s restructuring scheme, dubbed Care Delivery Model Redesign (CDMR). CDMR is a cost-cutting plan that Island Health

has been selling as a redesign of care teams that it says will be more responsive to the needs of high-acuity patients. BCNU and others have never been convinced by the claim. And when the health authority revealed that 122 RNs and LPNs at Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals would



SOUNDING THE RED ALERT Nurses are demanding that Island Health’s latest healthcare restructuring scheme be put on hold until an independent review can show that the move is not about cost-cutting at the expense of patient care. (l-r) Teresa McFadyen, BCNU Vice President Christine Sorensen, Darla Stank, South Islands regional co-chair Adriane Gear, Jessica Celeste, Jennifer Zedel, Cheryl Knott, South Islands regional co-chair Margo Wilton, Robin Zabloski, BCNU President Debra McPherson, Island Health LPN rep Barry Phillips and Lynnda Smith at the November 6 rally in Victoria.

be replaced, the reaction of island nurses moved quickly from disbelief to anger and action. Determined to let Island Health know they don’t buy the “better care” spin on CDMR, BCNU’s South Island region leaders organized November rallies at Victoria General and Royal Jubilee Hospitals to alert the public to the risks CDMR poses to patient safety. A November 6 rally at Victoria General Hospital drew a vocal crowd of nurses and their supporters that swelled to over eighty at its peak, all resolving to stop CDMR in its tracks.

Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, CDMR has got to go” and demanding Island Health put its controversial scheme on hold pending an independent, expert review, the nurses heard rousing speeches from leaders who condemned CDMR as cost-cutting dressed up in fancy spin about improved care delivery. “Nurses are here today to protest radical changes in care delivery whose implications for patient safety have not been evaluated,” BCNU President Debra McPherson told the rally. “This is an ill-conceived scheme that cuts exactly the type of professional care that’s essential if patients are to avoid compli-



cations and return to good health.” “The public needs to know that Island Health isn’t improving anything, it’s cutting nearly 227,000 hours a year of professional nursing care on medical and surgical units, including renal and oncology,” said South Islands co-chair Adriane Gear. “You simply can’t cut that much nursing care without cutting corners on safety.” Nurses continue to welcome the idea of adding care aides to existing teams, but they are opposed to seeing care aides being used to deliver forms of care they are untrained and unlicensed to do. The net result of CDMR, apart from lower wage costs for Island Health, is a dramatic increase in the number of patients cared for by each nurse, from four or five to double that or more. “CDMR severely restricts nursing presence at the bedside, making it more difficult for nurses to observe patients closely and more likely that negative developments are missed,” South Islands co-chair Margo Wilton said. “We’re here today to blow the whistle on a bad care model that dramatically





increases the number of patients per nurse, in turn jeopardizing patient safety.” Pacific Rim chair Jo Salken joined the group to speak about the negative impacts on morale on CDMR units in Nanaimo, where the plan took effect in early September. “Now they’ve added insult to injury by cancelling the night porter position, leaving nurses who are already run off their feet scouring the hospital for resources,” she said. “Make no mistake, if this goes ahead here on the island it’s strictly a matter of time

TAKING A STAND South Islands region executive member Robin Zabloski sends her message at BCNU’s November 6 rally in front of Victoria General Hospital.

until the infection spreads to other health authorities,” said McPherson. “CDMR isn’t a Vancouver Island problem, it’s a systemic problem in the making.” The November 29 rally at Royal Jubilee Hospital was an even bigger event that saw island nurses joined by colleagues and supporters from around BC, and was a greater show of force that should give all health employers pause before attempting to push ahead with dangerous and costly care restructuring schemes. The large media presence gave nurses the opportunity to share their concerns with other British Columbians. “I look at nursing as unsafe right now. Our patient care loads have doubled and we have up to eight acutely sick patients to care for during a shift,” said Nanaimo RN Kris Vanlambalgen when speaking to the media about her experience with CDMR at her worksite. McPherson was clear when speaking to the media about the real risks of CDMR: “The farther you go from one nurse for every four patients, the higher the morbidity and mortality, the higher the complications and the higher the death rates.” Nurses in BCNU’s North East region also organized a rally outside Prince George’s University Hospital of Northern BC that saw red-and-black-clad members from Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Fort Saint John and Fort Nelson gather in support of their sisters and brothers on Vancouver Island.

HEAR OUR VOICE BCNU President Debra McPherson led a spirited rally outside Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital November 29. It showed Island Health that nurses’ resolve remains strong in the face of the health authority’s irresponsible care restructuring scheme.

Stop Island Health from cutting nurses at the bedside Send a message to Island Health’s CEO and chief nurse! They have implemented their scheme at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Plans are in place to introduce it at Victoria hospitals and move it throughout the Island. Help Vancouver Island nurses push back! Tell them that when patients have increased care needs, they need more of the skills and knowledge of nursing professionals. VISIT THE BCNU WEBSITE. Sign our petition and join us in demanding that Island Health keep the promise of safe patient care.

Email Island Health


They were also there to warn local residents that the Northern Health Authority could be next if CDMR spreads to the mainland. “I have personally been asked in my own worksite to do a CDMR review to see what kind of work is being done on my unit,” said North East region lobby coordinator Hanna Embree. “If we don’t get our voices out there now, and let people know before it [care restructuring] gets here, it’s going to be that much harder to get rid of it.” Nurses also rallied outside Vernon Jubilee Hospital. BCNU continues to collect signatures for a petition demanding Island Health halt CDMR and agree to an independent, expert review. update


Island Health’s care delivery restructuring scheme is little more than cost-cutting dressed up in fancy spin about improved care delivery. This does a disservice to healthcare workers and patients alike. Here is the reality, unspun: THE SPIN: CDMR is designed to enable nurses to work to their full scope of practice and to tailor care to the complex needs of an aging patient population. CDMR creates a better work environment in which nurses are given more time to get to know their patients better. “In the ‘new right way’ patients’ needs and goals are at the centre of decision making. In order to do that nurses need to get know each of their patients.” (IH, The New Right Way) THE REALITY: CDMR replaces professional nurses with care aides, leaving those who remain with more patients to oversee and less time for each one. Higher acuity patients need more, not less, professional nursing time. Nurses need time at the bedside to observe and monitor their patients’ condition in order to detect problems and intervene to prevent adverse events. Reducing the time available for bedside nursing care comes at the expense of patient safety.

THE SPIN: CDMR was designed in collaboration with nurses as a response to the problems they encounter under the old model: “We knew we needed to change. And so we worked with our staff to understand our current care environment better and to design and implement care and staffing models that better meet our patients’ needs. This new model of care not only means better care for patients, but better work environments for nurses and the other members of the care team.” (IH TNRW) NURSES UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED Vancouver island nurses were joined by sisters and brothers from around BC at the latest BCNU rally in Victoria November 27.

THE REALITY: Island Health tiptoed around CDMR by holding seminars expressing good intentions about

improving the work environment. Exhaustive time-and-motion studies were done on nursing tasks, but the results were never shared with nurses. At some point Island Health decided that CDMR could be used to replace professional nurses with care aides, but it didn’t disclose this until it served Section 54 notice in Nanaimo. Nurses in Nanaimo and now in Victoria feel duped by IH propaganda about better working environments, which turned out – yet again – to be about doing more with less.

THE SPIN: Island Health’s care model redesign is in response to a “pending nursing shortage”. This nursing shortage is so severe IH claims it can’t fill 12 percent of its entry-level positions and that there are 113 unfilled vacancies at VGH and RJH alone! These shortages result in nurses having to work huge amounts of overtime and falling victim to burnout and stress. CDMR addresses this by relieving nurses of non-nursing work and freeing up nurses to take the unfilled vacancies. (IH Fact Sheets) THE REALITY: This is fiction, not fact. Island Health has now admitted privately that there are almost no vacancies at the two hospitals – 14 in all, only two on CDMR units! The imaginary shortage of nurses is a red herring to distract attention from the fact that IH is saving money by replacing nurses with care aides. It also sidesteps the reality that overtime costs are the result of IH refusing to backfill short and long-term absences. In addition, IH invests almost nothing in specialty nurse training, which most of the few unfilled vacancies require.





HEN YOU SPEAK to St. Paul’s Hospital’s Kam McIntosh and Sandra Squire about the work they are doing to help adults with severe hemophilia, it’s hard not to feel their excitement and passion for their recently completed research project. They were two of the over 50 nurses and allied health professionals who took part in the third annual Providence Health Care Practice-based Research Challenge, with BCNU sponsoring a $4000 prize. McIntosh and Squire, along with social worker Claude Bartholomew, made up one of the nine teams that participated in

the event, which is designed to support small scale, mentored research projects that provide nurses and others with the opportunity to learn about research methods and implement projects that will make a difference to them and their patients. Following a request for letters of intent, 13 teams were selected for participation. All were assigned a mentor, followed by participation in an ethics application workshop taught by Providence Health Care Research Institute Ethics Review Manager and research nurse Michelle Storm. Teams then worked with their mentors to write a proposal for how they would answer their practice-based research question. On October 4, 11 teams presented their project outlines and answered questions. After consideration by an adjudication panel, nine teams were awarded prizes ranging from $3000 to $6000. McIntosh, Squire and Bartholomew combined their expertise as RN, physiotherapist and social worker on their project, “To Bleed or Not to PRACTICE-BASED RESEARCHERS Kam McIntosh and Sandra Squire say Bleed”, which offers their participation in Providence Health Care’s Practice-based Research individualized proChallenge has been life-changing for their patients.


phylaxis for adults with severe hemophilia. “Kam, Sandra and Claude’s team is a beautiful example of inter-professional research and practice,” says Providence Health Care Nursing Research Facilitator, Aggie Black. “They’ve been able to combine their three professions to look at research with that specific angle and work together to investigate. Having the three components work together is very unique.” The PHC Research Challenge was inspired by the University Health Network in Toronto, where a research challenge project has been ongoing for over six years. Black says she worked to bring the challenge to Vancouver after seeing its success there. “The more I heard of it, the more I thought this is just the thing we need here – this is an opportunity to offer point-of-care nurses the chance to work with a mentor, get some funding and lead a research project.” McIntosh, Squire and Bartholomew all credit the project with help to improve the care they provide to their patients. “Before we began our project, we were chasing the bleeds,” says McIntosh. “Now, it’s about preventing the bleeds and it’s a new world for our patients. To watch them get to this place of confidence is very rewarding.” “Since we began our research, we’ve got our patients to the place where many of them have zero bleeds compared to before when they were experiencing three or four bleeds a month,” says Squire. “We’ve worked hard to get to know them as people. Out of our seven patients, four of them can now walk. This is life changing for them. We work with a gentleman who was once dependent on a wheelchair but doesn’t have to use one anymore.” Besides promoting research-based projects, the challenge is also credited with allowing participants to focus on a population of patients, which Black says builds knowledge and confidence. “Research can make a nurse feel empowered. We’ve heard that people aren’t afraid of research anymore and staff tell us they now participate in inter-professional rounds in a way they didn’t before,” she adds. “It gives them a slightly different approach to being a nurse.” update



GETTING READY FOR RETIREMENT IS YOUR RETIREMENT on the horizon? It has a way of sneaking up on you – so it’s never too early to start thinking about how you will approach this new stage in life and consider the opportunities that await you. Whether its travel, a new hobby or beginning a new career, it’s good to think about what this new phase will look like, and to be sure you can finance this next step. You need to be sure your money will last until the end of your life and, if necessary, beyond. Below are some steps that Municipal Pension Plan or Public Service Pension Plan members should be aware of before your retirement is upon you. GET THE MUNICIPAL PENSION PLAN RETIREMENT PACKAGE Three to four months before your anticipated date of retirement, you can obtain the retirement package from your employer’s payroll and benefit personnel or from the Pension Corporation (1-800-668-6335).

Speak to Pension Corporation staff to review the options available to you or visit the pension plan websites for more information: mpp. or pspp. Members in pension plans other than MPP and PSPP should contact their employer for retirement details. NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER Thirty days before retiring, send notification to the employer (your manager) that you will be retiring on a specific date. For pension purposes ensure your last date for pay is scheduled as the last day of your last month. Submit all documentation provided by your employer to the pension plan as soon as possible. It usually takes a few months to process your paperwork, verify your details and ensure the forms are completed correctly. The first pension cheque will be sent close to the end of the first month of your retirement. APPLY FOR THE NBA RETIREE BENEFIT PROGRAM BCNU has a benefit program that’s separate from your

pension plan. This program reimburses 50 percent of the out-of-pocket MSP costs for members twice per year. Visit the BCNU website and search for the Retiree Benefit Program or call the BCNU membership department to request that a package be sent out to you. The requirements and details are outlined in the package. ENSURE YOU RECEIVE SEVERANCE PAY You are eligible for severance pay if you are regularly employed (i.e., not casual). Under the Nurses’ Bargaining Association contract, employees with at least 10 years of service and after their 55th birthday, or those whose service is no longer required by their employer (closure of facility, etc.), will receive one week’s pay for every two years of work (pro-rated

for part-time employees), 40 percent of their unused sick time (paid out) and any unused vacation time or banked overtime. KEEP YOUR MSP AND EXTENDED HEALTH BENEFITS You will need to ensure you selfpurchase your first month’s MSP benefit after retirement. This is due to a gap in the coverage that results when your employer stops paying premiums upon your retirement and before the start of MSP coverage under your pension plan. This information is explained on the pension plan websites. Thinking ahead of time about all of the steps required to properly plan your retirement will help you make the right decisions–and ensure an easier transition to the next chapter of your life! update


Earliest retirement age for most Municipal employees, including nurses, is 55. Under the Municipal Pension Plan, you may apply for a pension as early as age 55. However, if you retire before age 60 and you do not meet minimum age plus contributor service requirements, your pension will be reduced HOW IS MY PENSION CALCULATED?

Your pension is based on the average of your highest five salary years and increases at a rate of two percent for each year of pensionable service, to a maximum of 35 years. HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT MY PENSION MIGHT BE WHEN I RETIRE?

You can use the Municipal Pension Plan’s online pension estimator. Visit to estimate what your pension might be, based on your current personal information.



Next year BCNU will be holding elections for the following positions: • President • Vice President • Treasurer • Executive Councillor – Pension • Executive Councillor – Health and Safety Regional elections will also be held for: • Regional Chair(s) • Lobby Coordinator • OH&S Representative • Treasurer • Communications/Secretary • PRF Advocate • Steward Liaision

Visit for more information

Notice of Election for BCNU President, Vice President, Treasurer, Executive Councillors It’s time for BCNU members to nominate candidates for the executive committee of the union’s provincial council. The president and vice president, along with the two executive councillors and the treasurer, make up the executive committee of the BCNU Council. Next year’s election will see all five of these positions up for re-election. Each of BCNU’s 40,000 members will be mailed information about the candidates and voting procedures, which will also be available on the BCNU website. Candidates will have an opportunity to engage with voters at an all-candidates’ meet-


ing held during next year’s annual convention. Voting will take place online March 10–31 and the successful candidates will take office on September 1, 2014. The executive committee acts as Council’s coordinating and advisory body. While experience in provincial BCNU affairs is not a specific requirement to run for an executive committee position, it is desirable because their decision-making has farreaching implications. Participation at the bargaining unit and regional levels would be a great asset for these positions. (See Roles and Functions, next page).


The official nomination form for Officers of the British Columbia Nurses’ Union is available on the BCNU website. All nominations may be submitted on this form or a facsimile thereof. Each form will be signed by any four individual BCNU members eligible under Article 2 and 4.05 of the British Columbia


Nurses’ Union Constitution and Bylaws. Candidates will provide their name and contact information and submit a biographical sketch and a statement of objectives which, when combined, will be no more than 250 words. Please do not use your BCNU email address as your contact. Please type information directly into the space provided on the form, which can then be printed to gather signatures. Candidates may also email a high resolution photo (head and shoulders shot), appropriate for reproduction in a magazine to marcognoato@ Suitable image file formats include jpeg, png and tiff. The photo and other information will appear on the BCNU website, Update magazine and in a candidates’ brochure, which will be mailed to the homes of all members. Each nominee must sign the consent and declaration statements of the nomination form. Candidates, and those who nominate them, must be BCNU members. Nominations, biographical sketches and declaration statements must be received by the BCNU Burnaby office by FIVE O’CLOCK (5:00 pm) on the afternoon of January 20, 2014. Material received ­after this deadline will not be accepted. Please ensure that your envelope is clearly marked “NOMINATION FORM” and addressed to Marco Gnoato, Chair, Nominations Committee, BC Nurses’ Union, 4060 Regent Street, Burnaby, BC, V5C 6P5. When making reference to participation in BCNU committees and/ or task forces in your biographical sketch, please specify whether it was in the capacity of chair, vice chair or member and please provide dates.


BCNU PRESIDENT’S COMPENSATION PACKAGE Compensation and Benefits include: • Salary: $170,000. Tied to the Nurses’ Bargaining Association Provincial Collective Agreement plus an annual overtime allowance of $20,000. • Car Allowance: $700 per month, plus gas. • Annual Vacation: Six weeks, or your vacation as per your employer • Benefits: Pension (Municipal Pension Plan, from self-paid contributions and from those paid by BCNU), EFAP, LTD, MSP premiums, extended health, dental and travel insurance. Six months of sick leave per year. • Education: Up to ten paid days, and tuition costs of up to $20,000 per calendar year. The following benefits are also included if relocation to Metro Vancouver is necessary: • A maximum of $2,000 per month housing allowance if the BCNU condominium is not suitable. • Relocation package. • One paid return trip, every two weeks, either for the president or their spouse.

BCNU VICE PRESIDENT, TREASURER AND EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR COMPENSATION PACKAGE Compensation and Benefits include: • The annual base salary tied to the general and equity increases set forth in the Nurses’ Bargaining Association Provincial Collective agreement, and as follows: • Vice President: $126,263 • Treasurer: $118,365 • Executive Councillors: $111,404 • Annual Stipend: $8,000 for travel time, car expenses beyond the mileage paid and home office expenses incurred in managing regional affairs from your home and extra hours worked. • Annual Vacation, benefits and as per the policy • Education: Tuition costs of up to $2,000 per calendar year. The following benefits are also included if relocation to Metro Vancouver is necessary: • Shared accommodation at the BCNU condominium • One paid return trip, every week

Roles & Functions PRESIDENT ROLES • Reports to Council and accepts direction from Council • Leads and provides vision to BCNU • Presides at meetings: Council, Executive Committee and Convention • Recommends policies and actions for decision by Council • Guides Council to focus on important issues • Prepares agendas for Council, Convention, Executive Committee and other meetings for which the President is responsible • Ensures Council gets complete, relevant and timely information for decision making • Determines action on urgent and important issues between Council meetings • Guides annual BCNU program goals • Is BCNU’s chief spokesperson and liaison with: media, public, other unions and nursing organizations, government and others • Builds and maintains external relationships required in the achievement of union objectives • Builds BCNU’s public image • Builds membership relations/ membership liaison • Assesses BCNU member satisfaction and organizational performance • Fosters a learning environment for Council and Executive • Directs that a review of BCNU policies occur annually • Leader of office of the President and building/working with Executive team • Works closely with the Executive Director/s on a day-to-day basis • Ex-officio member of committees (except Nominations Committee) • Directs annual committee review


• Member of the Provincial Nursing Advisory Committee • Directs and supervises the Executive Director/s on behalf of Council • Delegates duties of the Executive Director/s in his or her absence • Participates in hiring of staff at President’s discretion • Presents annual report at the BCNU convention • Keeps BCNU Council informed of issues discussed between the BCNU President and the CRNBC President and/or Executive Director • Performs duties which may be assigned by Council • Represents BCNU at various affiliates • Carries out any other roles and duties as provided in BCNU by-laws • Signing officer of the union • Director of the BCNU Holding Society • Abides by union policies. MEASURES OF PERFORMANCE • Quality of reports to BCNU Council • Clear BCNU mission; explicit annual BCNU goals • Progress towards BCNU goals • Problem-solving success • Member satisfaction/member contact • Content and timeliness of Council information • Positive, productive relationship with senior staff • Quality of relationships with other important organizations • Public awareness of nursing and healthcare issues. VICE PRESIDENT ROLES • Member of the Executive Committee • Assumes the office of the President should it become vacant

• Assumes duties of the President at the request of, or in the absence of, the President • Assumes office duties of President during NBA bargaining • Assists President and carries out projects and work as assigned by the President • Acts as co-chair and procedural officer at Council meetings • Performs duties which may be assigned by Council • Spokesperson for BCNU at the request of the President • Vice President will chair portions of Convention at the discretion of the President • Carries out any other roles and duties as provided by BCNU by-laws • Provincial Lobby Coordinator • Chair, In-Camera Committee • Ad-hoc member, Provincial Job Action Committee • Chair, Complaints Investigation Committee • Chair, Lobby Coordinator Committee • Signing officer of the Union • Represents the BC Nurses’ Union at the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions • Director of the BCNU Holding Society • Abides by union policies. MEASURES OF PERFORMANCE • Quality of reports to BCNU Council • Functions as a team member • Progress towards BCNU goals • Problem-solving success • Content and timeliness of Council information • Streamlines recommendations, background information and policy issues for Council meetings and discussions.


TREASURER ROLES • Member of the Executive Committee • Assumes duties of the President at the request of, or in the absence of, the President or Vice President • Member, Personnel Committee • Chair, Discipline Committee • Chair, Finance Committee • Chair, Provincial Job Action Committee • Provides financial advice to Council • Prepares annual financial report to members • Reports on financial matters to Council and the annual convention • Educates regional treasurers and members on the financial policies and budgets of BCNU • Spokesperson for BCNU at the request of the President • Provides guidance and direction on the preparation of the annual BCNU budget • Participates with Executive Directors and Finance Department and Information Technology in the preparation of the annual budget • Consults with Finance/Executive Committees on the annual budget • Assists President and carries out projects and work as assigned by the President • Instructs management on Council programs to be incorporated in annual budget • Presents the annual budget to Council • Directs the conduct of a financial budget of BCNU • Recommends to Council changes to financial practices arising from audit • Performs duties which may be assigned by Council • Carries out any other roles and duties as provided by BCNU By-laws



• Signing officer of the Union • Director, BCNU Holding Society • Abides by Union policies. MEASURES OF PERFORMANCE • Quality of reports to Council • Functions as a team member • Progress towards BCNU goals • Problem solving success • Content and timeliness of Council information • Streamlines recommendations, background information and policy issues for Council meetings and discussion. ROLES FOR BOTH EXECUTIVE COUNCILLORS • Assumes duties of the President at the request of, or in the absence of, the President and Vice President • Member of the Executive Committee • Member of the Provincial Job Action Committee • Assists President and carries out projects and work as assigned by the President • Spokesperson for BCNU at the request of the President • Performs duties which may be assigned by Council • Carries out any other roles and duties as provided by BCNU By-laws • Director of BCNU Holding Society • Signing officer of the Union • Abides by Union policies. EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR (PENSIONS) • Chair, Pension Committee • Chair, Retiree Benefit Program • Chair, Essential Services Committee

EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR (HEALTH AND SAFETY) • Chair, OH&S Committee • Chair, LEAP Committee EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ROLES • Acts as sounding board and advisor to President and Executive Directors • Strategizes for implementation of the Operations Plan • Deals with urgent issues and makes decisions between Council meetings subject to authority delegated by Council • Carries out any other roles and duties as provided by BCNU By-laws • Reviews issues assigned by Council and President • Reviews council agenda and assesses for timeliness • Prepares draft policies and conducts ongoing evaluations of policies for review by Council • Reports to Council on Executive Committee recommendations, decisions and actions • Represents Union at BCNU and public meetings • Acts as Appeal Board for the Defence Fund, GAC and LEAP • Support for Regional Chairs • Abides by Union policies. MEASURES OF PERFORMANCE • Quality of reports to Council • Functions as a team • Progress towards BCNU goals • Problem solving success • Content and timeliness of Council information • Streamlines recommendations, background information and policy issues for Council meetings and discussion.

Notice of Election for BCNU Regional Executives It’s time for BCNU members to nominate candidates for their regional executive committee. Next year’s election marks the first time that members in all of BCNU’s 16 regions will be voting for their regional executives using a centralized, voting website In addition to the provincial executive committee, BCNU Council is comprised of the regional chairs (or co-chairs in the case of the Central Vancouver, South Fraser Valley, Simon Fraser and South Islands regions) elected to represent one of the regions that make up the provincial union. There are seven regional executive positions up for election next year: chair (or co-chair), lobby coordinator, OH&S representative, treasurer, communications/secretary, PRF advocate and steward liaison. BCNU members in every region will be mailed information about their local candidates and voting procedures. Voting will take place March 10–31 and the successful candidates will take office on September 1, 2014. Regional Chairs serve as members of BCNU Council and participate in decision-making for the organization. They also provide leadership in the development of executives and stewards within their regions (See Roles and Functions, next page, for an overview of all the regional executive positions).


The official regional nomination form for Officers of the British Columbia


Nurses’ Union is available on the BCNU website. All nominations may be submitted on this form or a facsimile thereof. Each form will be signed by any four individual BCNU members eligible under Article 2 and 4.05 of the British Columbia Nurses’ Union Constitution and Bylaws. Candidates will provide their name and contact information and submit a biographical sketch and a statement of objectives which, when combined, will be no more than 250 words. Please do not use your BCNU email address as your contact. Please type information directly into the space provided on the form, which can then be printed to gather signatures. Candidates may also email a high resolution photo (head and shoulders shot), appropriate for reproduction in a magazine to Suitable image file formats include jpeg, png and tiff. The photo and other information will appear on the BCNU website and in a candidates’ brochure, which will be mailed to the homes of all members. Each nominee must sign the consent and declaration statements of the nomination form. Candidates, and those who nominate them, must be BCNU members. Nominations, biographical sketches and declaration statements must be received by the BCNU Burnaby office by FIVE O’CLOCK (5:00 pm) on the afternoon of January 20, 2014. Material received ­after this deadline will not be accepted. Please ensure that your envelope is clearly marked “NOMINATION FORM” and addressed to M. Livaja, Regional IT Assistant, BC Nurses’ Union, 4060 Regent Street, Burnaby, BC, V5C 6P5. Please provide dates when making reference to participation in BCNU activities in your biographical sketch.


Regional Executive Position Overview 2014 will be the first year that elections for regional executive positions will take place online. There are seven regional executive positions. All regional executive members actively participates in executive planning and decision making for the region, and participates in the execution of the plans. CHAIR/COUNCIL MEMBER Provides leadership to, and collaborates with the Regional Executive Team. Ensures that the region is aware of BCNU’s vision, mission and strategic directions. As part of the Council Board (consisting of Provincial Executive and Regional Council members), shares a fiduciary responsibility for the funds and assets of the organization. Participates with Council in decision-making for the organization. LOBBY COORDINATOR Maintains a regional network of active member lobbyists and provides them with leadership, mentoring and direction. Is directly responsible for organizing and evaluating regional lobby activities. OH&S REPRESENTATIVE Represents the executive team on OH&S related matters and coordinates with OH&S stewards in worksite or the provincial OH&S on worksite issues. TREASURER Contributes to the financial health of the Region by ensuring the successful implementation of strategies and priorities in a responsible manner.

Conducts the financial business of the region in accordance with the BCNU’s and the Region’s financial policies. COMMUNICATIONS/SECRETARY Responsible for overall communication needs of the region, maintenance of regional records (i.e. agendas and minutes of meetings and correspondence), registration for events and communications from the region to the membership. PRF ADVOCATE Acts as a resource and/or mentor for stewards within the Region. Provides coaching and counseling regarding PRF best practices. Is an advocate of the PRF Guiding Principles and processes. Works to ensure nurses’ ability to maintain their professional standards. STEWARD LIAISION Works with steward coordinators, primary steward contacts and full-time stewards to ensure all worksites have enough active worksite, PRF and OH&S stewards to adequately represent the needs of BCNU members in the region. Actively engages in mentorship of stewards and is the primary contact for members in worksites without stewards.



Staff Profile



PASSIONATE ADVOCATE BCNU LEAP Program Advocacy Officer Deborah Charrois enjoys helping members heal and come back to nursing with renewed passion and personal insights.

DEBORAH CHARROIS IS one of three Advocacy Officers who work out of BCNU’s New Westminster office. She’s part of BCNU’s LEAP (Licensing, Education, Advocacy and Practice) Program established in 1988 to assist members with legal problems related to professional practice incidents that led to an inquest or caused a review by the RNABC, now the College of Registered Nurses (CRNBC). A native of White Rock, Charrois says growing up she always wanted to be a defence lawyer. After obtaining an undergraduate degree,

she entered the University of Alberta law school in 1998 and has never looked back. “I knew going into law school that I wanted to work on labour and social justice issues that were important to me,” remembers Charrois. As a student, she spent a summer working for Victoria Square law, a firm known for its progressive, labour-friendly environment, and which also happens to represent BCNU. Charrois was called back after graduation to article with the firm and found herself working almost exclusively on hearings and practice com-

plaints for BCNU. “I knew the BCNU Collective Agreement inside and out – so it was a natural decision to come work at BCNU,” she recalls. She began working for BCNU as a Labour Relations Officer in 2005 and later made the switch to working in the LEAP Program. Charrois says the first LEAP program got started in the mid-’80s in Ontario as the Legal Expenses Assistance Plan after a nurse in that province was charged with murder. The evidence in that case was weak and the nurse was eventually acquitted. But the experience prompted Ontario nurses to put a levy on members’ dues that would fund a legal expenses assistance program, to help nurses with legal issues arising out of their nursing practice, coroners’ inquests, and discipline hearings with their regulatory body. Nursing organizations in Manitoba and BC followed suit creating similar legal defence funds. Charrois explains that BCNU’s focus today is on working collaboratively with BC’s three nursing Colleges (CRNBC, CLPNBC and CRPNBC) to help work out gaps in communicating or education, so that nurses, patients and employers can all be safe. Charrois says that in the early 1990s, a typical disciplinary hearings cost about $60,000, and nurses found the process to be harrowing and demeaning. So it was decided that a consensual resolution process would be both costeffective and less adversarial. Today, ADR (alternate dispute

resolution) is now used which pre-empts the need for all but a single disciplinary hearing. Charrois wants all nurses to know that they can get assistance from the LEAP Program by simply phoning and speaking with an Advocacy Officer or talking to a worksite steward who is there to help BCNU members connect with the correct person. “We are here to take them through the process,” she says. Charrois is proud to be part of the many improvements to the regulatory treatment of nurses in BC. “The bottom line is we’re there to support nurses. Even if you’re not sure who to call, call someone at BCNU, and they’ll direct you to the right person,” she says. “What I like about this job is being able to take someone from point A to point B and you can see they’ve made progress.” One of Charrois’ most memorable cases is featured in BCNU’s recent video, Honour in Recovery: BCNU Helping Nurses Get Well. It involved working with a nurse who came through her ordeal and is now back at work, taking on extra challenges. Charrois says this is a great example of how nurses can heal and come back to nursing with renewed passion and new personal insights. “Quite a few nurses that we help end up becoming BCNU stewards”, she notes. “They want to give back. It’s great to see them take back control of their lives and thrive.” update




Hyatt Regency

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Sergeant At Arms, Scrutineers and Ombudsperson meets with Parliamentarian

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New Delegates Information Session

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Year in Review Video

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Resolutions & By-Laws

  9:15 am – 10:00 am

President’s Opening Remarks

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Resolutions & By-laws

10:30 am – 10:35 am

Delegate Count

  2:00 pm –   3:00 pm

Resolutions & By-laws

10:35 am – 12:00 pm

Finance Report & Executive Director Report

  3:30 pm –   4:45 pm

Resolutions & By-laws

4:45 pm

Closing remarks

  1:30 pm –   3:15 pm


5:00 pm


  3:45 pm –   5:15 pm

Open Forum

  5:15 pm –   5:30 pm

Recognition of Retiring Activists

  5:30 pm –   6:30 pm

Resolutions Committee Meeting

TBA All Candidates meeting

38 Proposed Bylaw amendments for Convention 2014 REGIONAL MEETINGS CURRENT WORDING



12.04 The Regional Bylaws shall include:

To delete ‘three (3)’ before ‘times’

12.04 The Regional Bylaws shall include:

(a) Provisions for the calling of meetings of the Region at least three (3) times per year.

To add ‘four (4)’ before ‘times’

(a) Provisions for the calling of meetings of the Region at least four (4) times per year.

Proposed by: Sharon Sharp Seconded by: Mark Tiongson Rationale: BCNU is a democratic organization. The very principle of democracy is one of our core values. The foundation of a strong democracy is the engagement of its members. We believe our membership has the right to participate and our organization has a responsibility to facilitate opportunities for this involvement. One of the best opportunities for democratic engagement and member involvement is our regional meetings. Regional meetings are the critical doorway for members to learn about their union and make a contribution to its function. Unlike other organized union gatherings, regional meetings allow for every member in attendance to have a say, to participate, to be actively involved. Every member has the ability to influence our organization, by Introducing or voting on motions and expressing their views to the Regional leadership. Our current structure for most Regions is four (4) Regional Meetings per year. Attendance at these meetings in many regions has grown significantly. Our members want to participate and be involved. BCNU is strengthened when more members are active. By ensuring the frequency of these meetings is not reduced below four per year, more members have more chances to be more involved. Bylaw Committee Recommendation: No Recommendation.

Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy






2.10 Despite the requirements of Article 24.01, the Council, in its sole discretion, may declare that the Member has ceased to be a Member in Good Standing if:

To delete Articles 2.10 and 2.11.

2.09 A Member who is suspended or terminated by her employer and is exercising her rights under the grievance/arbitration process or other rights appeal language in the appropriate collective agreement shall remain a Member of the Union and shall pay no dues, levies or assessments until the grievance, arbitration or appeal is resolved.

To consequentially renumber Article 2.

(a) that Member is determined by the Council to have breached her duty under this Constitution and Bylaws, and

Affiliated, Honourary and Student Membership

(b) the Council determines, for reasons of expediency or, otherwise, that the requirements of Article 24.01 cannot reasonably be met at the time of the declaration.

2.10 Council shall create an affiliated membership and establish criteria and any fees for such membership for former BCNU Members no longer working under BCNU collective agreements who wish to maintain an association with BCNU and who do not meet membership requirements under Articles 2.06, 2.07, 2.08 or 2.09.

2.11 A Member who has ceased to be a Member in Good Standing by reason of a declaration of the Council pursuant to Article 2.10 will have the following rights in accordance with the principles of natural justice:

2.11 An Affiliated Member shall not have the right to vote, hold office, or be a Member of any committee, except a retired Member may be a member of the Retired Nurse Network with full rights to participate and vote in that committee.

(a) on application by the Member, a Hearing Board will be convened to hear the merits of the Council’s declaration, as if the matter had been referred to the Discipline Committee by the Complaints Investigation Committee, in accordance with Articles 24.05 and 24.06; and (b) subject to Article 2.10, the rights and procedures required under Article 24 will apply.

2.04 A Member who fulfills Articles 2.02 and 2.03, subject to any restrictions under Articles 2.10, 2.11 or Article 3, will be entitled to: (a) attend meetings; (b) hold office; and (c) receive the benefits of BCNU membership, which includes a membership card.

To delete ‘Articles 2.10, 2.11 or’ before ‘Article 3,’

Proposed by: Will Offley Seconded by: Sharon Sharp Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy

2.04 A Member who fulfills Articles 2.02 and 2.03, subject to any restrictions under Article 3, will be entitled to: (a) attend meetings; (b) hold office; and (c) receive the benefits of BCNU membership, which includes a membership card.

40 Rationale: In 2009 BCNU’s annual convention voted by a two-thirds majority to adopt Bylaw Amendment #4. This amendment led to the bylaws being changed to include the following clauses: Article 2.04 of the Bylaws was amended to add the words “subject to any restrictions under Articles 2.10, 2.11 or Article 3”; and A new Article 2.10 was added which states “despite the requirements of Article 24.01, the Council, in its sole discretion, may declare that the Member has ceased to be a Member in Good Standing if: a) that Member is determined by the Council to have breached her duty under this Constitution and Bylaws, and b) the Council determines, for reasons of expediency or otherwise, that the requirements of Article 24.01 cannot reasonably be met at the time of the declaration.” In addition, a new Article 2.11 was also added stating “a member who has ceased to be a Member in Good Standing by reason of a declaration of the Council pursuant to Article 2.10 will have the following rights in accordance with the principles of natural justice: a) on application by the Member, a Hearing Board will be convened to hear the merits of the Council’s declaration, as if the matter had been referred to the Discipline Committee by the Complaints Investigation Committee, in accordance with Articles 24.05 and 24.06, and b) subject to Article 2.10, the rights and procedures required under article 24 will apply.” This amendment confers enormous powers upon Council, who are now able to strip a Member of membership in good standing: • without the right to be informed of charges and the particulars of charges; • without the right to a hearing; • without the right to reasonable notice of charges prior to a hearing; • without the right to be able to call evidence; • without the right to introduce documents; • without the right to examine and cross-examine witnesses; • without the right to make submission; and • without the right to counsel (in serious cases). Articles 2.10 and 2.11 temporarily suspend a Member’s status as Member in Good Standing and place the burden on individual Members to initiate the arduous process of seeking a remedy after the fact. They also grant Council the sole discretion to temporarily declare that a Member has ceased to be a Member in Good Standing without holding a hearing, without notifying a member in advance of its decision and in the absence of a Member of choice. Whether temporary or permanent, the consequences of being declared a Member who is not in Good Standing are potentially far reaching. The Provincial Collective Agreement stipulates that all existing employees who are members of the Union as well as all new employees must “maintain their membership in good standing as a condition of continuing employment” (Article 5.01). Accordingly, if a member is found to be “not in good standing”, he/she could have his/her employment terminated at the discretion of the employer.” It is difficult to imagine a union matter of such urgent and emergency-like nature that it would warrant the suspension of the rights of natural justice and the at least temporary loss of the rights to receive the benefits of membership, attend meetings, hold office, and continue in one’s position of employment. On the other hand, it is quite easy to imagine how the powers granted by the Amendment could be used to stifle internal dissent, to punish political opponents, or eliminate competitors for union offices. Bylaw Committee Recommendation: No Recommendation.

Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy



Resolutions RESOLUTION 1 Human Rights, Age Discrimination and LTD Submitted by Neil Campbell Davis – Shaughnessy Heights Region Moved by Janine Patrick Seconded by Kelly Woywitka


mandatory retirement has been abolished through statutory amendments and court rulings on human rights legislation.

Long Term Disability (LTD) is not available to members of the BCNU after the age of 64.5 years. Resolved, that the BCNU create a working committee to consider what constructive approach may be utilized to end age discrimination in the LTD plans available to BCNU members.

- - - - -

Elimination of Mandatory Retirement – Backgrounder 2007AG0020-000524 April 25, 2007 Ministry of the Attorney General Mandatory Retirement in BC – The End is Nigh! [Earl Phillips and Donavan Plomp May 2007] CIHI, Regulated Nurse: Canadian Trends, 2007 to 2011 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

RESOLUTION 2 Salary Caps




Submitted by Will Offley Moved by Will Offley Seconded by Sharon Sharp


holding elected union office should not be a source of material privilege, and

Based on 5 members attending a one date meeting. (Salary & travel = $4275)


It is clear that there are pros and cons to be derived from allowing LTD for those approaching what has always been the cultural norm for retirement.

paying elected leaders more than they were earning as nurses is an incentive that may motivate people to want to remain in that position for life rather than return to the bedside.


that hereafter every member of the BCNU Executive or Council shall receive wages and benefits equal to what they would have earned working full-time in the classification they held immediately prior to election;

Demographics suggest that the flood of retirees has begun. However, it has been suggested that many RNs will not retire because of financial constraints, or because they enjoy their work, or both. Clearly we are short some 2000 RNs in BC despite the contractual agreement BCNU has made with HEABC. If we wish to have any hope to retain the numbers, let alone the knowledge and experience of this loss, then clearly we have to motivate those who would leave and treat them as equals.

Further resolved, that expenses will continue to be paid; Further resolved, that members of the Executive and Council shall be paid overtime where necessary in accordance with the provisions of the Provincial Collective Agreement; and Finally resolved,

References: - BCNU Strategic Directions #’s 1, 2 and 4 - Provincial Collective Agreement 2010 – 2012 Articles 46.05 Appendix A, B, C Appendix K - Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent [Danielle Bisnar, Elizabeth McIntyre, Jo-Anne Pickel] - BC Human Rights Code 1996 Mandatory Retirement Elimination Amendment Act 2007

that members of the Executive and Council receive salary increases as provided by the provisions of their Collective Agreement.

Cost: Assumptions used in the following calculation: 1. All council who are RNs are assumed to be DC 1 level 9 nurses. 2. All council who are LPNs are assumed to be LPNs with 8 years and rate based on benchmark classification. 3. All OT for RN is calculated at rate of double as per article 27.05(B) as it exceeds 37. 5hr/week.

Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy


4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 8. 9.

OT under the FBA Article 21.01 is 1.5x for first 2hr and become 2x after. Thus used 1.75x for all OT calculation. There will be no shift premium in the calculation for simplicity purpose. Wage rates are based on October 2013 rates. OT hours are based on info provided by council. If not provide it is based on average council OT HR. There will be no benefit charge on top of OT wages. President’s car allowance is not included in calculation as it covers the KM reimbursement cost. There will be no benefit charge on top of OT wages. President’s car allowance is not included in calculation as it covers the KM reimbursement cost

RESOLUTION 3 Equitable Wage Replacement for Elected Council Members Submitted by Sara Johl – RIVA Region Moved by Sara Johl Seconded by Shannon Wright


the 2010 Convention adopted the Korbin Report which suggested the salary for council members be set at DC2 level 9 pay with $8000 per year stipend allowance.


BCNU membership in 2010 was primarily Registered Nurses.


BCNU now has RNs, RPNs, Care Aids, Clerks, Housekeeping and others in our wall-to-wall certifications.


many other unions, including HEU, pay its elected officers “wage replacement”.


currently DC2 level 9 pay for a Registered nurse working DC1 level 9 would be an increase of approximately 11% (DC1 level 9 pay = $41.63 DC2 level 9 = $46.22).


that BCNU change the salaries for regional council members to reflect “wage replacement at highest salary level at DC1 (or equivalent collective agreement level) plus 11% plus an additional $8000 per year stipend allowance, rather than a fixed amount, when elected to council positions.

Example: Registered Nurse in council = 41.63 + 11% Licensed Practical Nurse in council = 27.32 + 11%


Varies as to who is elected. Each LPN saves the union $26,183 per year.


Total Cost

Salary (October 2013) Executives (DC 1-9)

5.00 $81,180

$  405,900

Council (DC1-9)

20.00 $81,180


Council (SA26-8)

6.00 $53,280

$  319,680

5 Executives OT (DC1-9)

2,518.09 $ 83.26

$  209,656

20 Council OT (DC1-9)

9,119.14 $ 83.26

$  759,259

6 Council OT (SA26-8)

3,895.13 $ 47.81

$  186,226

Overtime (Based on hr reported)

Total council salary per proposed resolution


CURRENT COST OF SALARY & BENEFIT COST (PER YEAR) Salary (October 2013) President

1.00 $170,000 $  170,000

Vice President

1.00 $126,263 $  126,263


1.00 $118,835 $  118,835

Executive Council

2.00 $111,408 $  222,816

Council (DC2-9) Council (LPN)

20.00 $ 94,416 $1,888,320 6.00 $ 67,587 $  405,522

Council Allowance ($8,000/year) 4 Executives & 26 Council President Annual Allowance

30.00 $  8,000 $  240,000 1.00 $ 20,000 $   20,000

Total current council salary



$  312,566

Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy


RESOLUTION 4 BCNU Ratification Procedure


On October 2, 2012 the terms of the new PCA were made available to BCNU regional executives and stewards.

Submitted by Will Offley Moved by Will Offley Seconded by Lynden Lehman

On October 10, 2012, highlights of the new proposed PCA were posted on the BCNU website and made available to the BCNU membership.


that ratification votes of the PCA and other collective agreements to which BCNU is a party will be conducted in accordance with the following, to the extent that it is in BCNUs power, in order to provide for the fullest possible membership discussion:

Eight days later the ratification vote was held. Despite a request from some members, there has never been a detailed report given to the members on the numbers voting and the votes cast in favour of and opposed to the new contract.

1. that any ratification vote will take place no less than four weeks and no more than six weeks after the terms of the proposed collective agreement have been made available to the membership in writing by being uploaded to the BCNU website;

Eight days does not allow anywhere near adequate time to study a document a complex and as important as a new collective agreement (one that took eight months to negotiate). In future, BCNU members deserve a ratification process that is full, fair and thorough, and that allows for a detailed examination of and discussion of its terms.

2. BCNU will make every effort to create the material conditions necessary for the membership to fully discuss the proposed terms of settlement; 3. the BCNU Facebook page will be opened up to all members to freely contribute their questions and/or opinions regarding the terms of the agreement; and 4. at least two weeks before the ratification vote a well-advertised mass membership meeting of BCNU members or an electronic equivalent shall be organized in every major city and town for the terms to be presented to the members, for questions to be answered, and for members to express their opinions in regard to the tentative agreement; in areas where this is not feasible, electronic town hall meetings shall be held instead. Cost:

Similar to current cost.


On January 26, 2012 the BCNU provincial negotiating committee began negotiations with the Health Employers’ Association in advance of the expiry of the Provincial Collective Agreement PCA.

Exactly eight months later, on September 26, 2012, BCNU announced that a new tentative Agreement had been arrived at.

Proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments represent the opinions of the movers and seconders only and do not reflect BCNU policy





“I make sure members’ rights are upheld and when they’re in trouble, they have somebody to support them,” says South Islands Region co-chair Margo Wilton.

QUICK FACTS NAME Margo Wilton. GRADUATED Camosun College in 1993. UNION POSITION South Islands co-chair WHY I SUPPORT BCNU BCNU stands up for our members, our communities and our healthcare system, and advocates strongly for them on all levels. BCNU cares.

AS A CHILD, MARGO Wilton had a lot of exposure to the healthcare system. Her father had poor health and was a frequent hospital patient when she was growing up. The nurses made a strong impression on her. “I got to see nurses in action and I liked what I saw,” she says. Wilton graduated from Camosun College in 1993 and started her career at Victoria General Hospital. Drawn to the fast pace of the ER, Wilton eventually received specialized training and worked in the emergency room at VGH until 2006. Wilton became a steward in 1998 before being elected to the South Islands region Executive Committee. She worked as a full-time steward

at VGH before being elected South Islands co-chair in 2010 and now serves on BCNU Council’s Personnel Committee and Enhanced Disability Management Program Steering Committee. Wilton says things have changed significantly since she started her career. “When I came onto the floor as a new grad I was supported and mentored. Senior nurses had the time to do that and help me grow and consolidate skills and become a really good nurse,” she recalls. “Now there have been so many cutbacks and the workload is so immense, nurses don’t have the time to mentor or to provide the care they want to give–they try, but the number of patients and high acuity is challenging.”

As a member of her regional executive and now as regional co-chair, Wilton has enjoyed helping other nurses with issues that come up in their workplaces. “As a steward and leader of the region I support my members, mentor and provide them with information, make sure their rights are upheld and when they’re in trouble, make sure they know they have somebody to support them.” Wilton says she hears a lot of complaints about workload. “What I want members to know is don’t forget the union is there. If there’s any question, if something doesn’t seem right, call the union. We will help you,” she says. “Call or email anytime.” These days what troubles her most is Island Health’s so-called Care Delivery Model Redesign. On January 17, the health authority plans to impose the new care model at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals. Wilton says it is probably the most challenging thing nurses have come up against. “The impact to our nurses and their ability to provide good, safe care is huge. It will be chaotic. The nurses are extremely stressed. I’m frightened for them and the patients – for the nurses in terms of their moral and ethical distress; for the patients, I’m afraid they are going to die because nurses aren’t going to be at their bedside.” Despite its challenges, Wilton says her nursing career has afforded her a wonderful life in Victoria. She and her husband have raised four children and now enjoy spending time with their three grandchildren and two cats. update


Who Can Help?


REGIONAL REPS VANCOUVER METRO Colette Wickstrom Chair C 604-789-9240

BCNU CAN. Here’s how you can get in touch with the right person to help you.

COASTAL MOUNTAIN Kath-Ann Terrett Chair C 604-828-0155

CONTACT YOUR STEWARDS For all workplace concerns contact your steward. REGIONAL REPS If your steward can’t help, or for all regional matters, contact your regional rep. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE For all provincial, national or union policy issues, contact your executive committee.

CENTRAL VANCOUVER Judy McGrath Co-Chair C 604-970-4339


TREASURER Mabel Tung C 604-328-9346

PRESIDENT Debra McPherson C 604-209-4253

EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR Marg Dhillon C 604-839-9158

VICE PRESIDENT Christine Sorensen C 250-819-6293

EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR Deb Ducharme C 250-804-9964


Diane LaBarre Co-Chair C 604-341-5231 SHAUGHNESSY HEIGHTS Claudette Jut Chair C 604-786-8422 RIVA Lauren Vandergronden Chair C 604-785-8148 SIMON FRASER Liz Ilczaszyn Co-Chair C 604-785-8157 Debbie Picco Co-Chair C 604-209-4260

FRASER HEALTH Jonathan Karmazinuk C 604-312-0826


INTERIOR HEALTH Janet Elizabeth Van Doorn C 778-214-4798

VANCOUVER COASTAL Marlene Goertzen C 778-874-9330

SOUTH FRASER VALLEY Cheryl Appleton Co-Chair C 604-839-8965

NORTHERN HEALTH Louise Weightman C 250-639-6436

VANCOUVER ISLAND Barry Phillips C 778-679-9737

Lisa Walker Co-Chair C 604-880-9105

FRASER VALLEY Linda Pipe Chair C 604-793-6444 WEST KOOTENAY Lorne Burkart Chair C 250-354-5311 EAST KOOTENAY Patt Shuttleworth Chair C 250-919-4890 NORTH WEST Sharon Sponton Chair C 250-877-2547 NORTH EAST Jackie Nault Chair C 250-960-8621 OKANAGAN-SIMILKAMEEN Laurie Munday Chair C 250-212-0530 THOMPSON NORTH OKANAGAN Tracy Quewezance Chair C 250-320-8064 SOUTH ISLANDS Adriane Gear Co-Chair C 778-679-1213 Margo Wilton Co-Chair C 250-361-8479 PACIFIC RIM Jo Salken Chair C 250-713-7066




DRIVE FOR CHANGE ROXANNE ENGLI WORKS TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE COSTS OF IMPAIRED DRIVING IF THERE IS ANYONE who can attest to the fact that drinking and driving destroys lives and tears families apart, it’s Royal Inland Hospital’s Roxanne Engli. She’s seen her share of alcohol-related casualties over her 30 years working in the operating room. But it wasn’t until after a close colleague was directly affected in 2009 that the Kamloops nurse came to the conclusion that “enough is enough”. “My colleague’s son and his son’s fiancé were both killed when they were struck by an impaired driver in Vancouver. It was a horrendous crash,” says Engli. “He was training to be a physician just like his dad and had just proposed to his girlfriend at dinner that night. They were in a marked crosswalk when they were both hit by a car travelling over 180 kilometres per hour. The 18-year-old behind the wheel was drunk.” It wasn’t long after the tragedy when Engli decided to act. She joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a national grassroots organiza-

tion that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime, and is now the leader of MADD’s Kamloops community chapter. Despite seeing much progress over the last four years, Engli says she feels there’s a long road ahead. “I thought it would be

easier to change people, and sometimes I get discouraged. I do hope that things will get better. We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to raising awareness and educating people about the dangers of drinking and driving.” Engli feels very strongly that there should be random breath testing in place at all road blocks. She says it’s been used for over three decades in other countries like New Zealand, Australia and England but has yet to be introduced in Canada and the United States. “Random breath tests test everybody. There’s no profiling,” says Engli. If it was implemented, it would immediately decrease the number of deaths by almost 50 percent.” Right

NURSE ON A MISSION Kamloops ER nurse Roxanne Engli is committed to raising awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.

now, according to Engli, eight out of ten impaired drivers who are stopped at a road block are not caught. Sending a clear message to teens about the dangers of drinking and driving is one of the primary goals for MADD, and each year a film that features real-life stories is shown to thousands of teens across the country. Three high schools in Kamloops have already seen the film, appropriately titled “Smashed”. Engli says the response is always the same. “The kids get very emotional. Hearing from real-life people who’ve lost family members or friends to impaired driving isn’t easy, but it’s the only way we can help people understand. We try to educate young people that the right thing to do is to take the keys away from a friend who’s had too much.” It isn’t always easy for Engli to be around the devastation caused by impaired driving. She admits there are days in the OR that are exhausting and discouraging. But it’s her drive for change that pushes her to fight for the cause. “I’ve seen the direct effects of impaired driving on patients who come through the doors at Royal Inland and honestly, you can never get the smell out of your nose of alcohol-saturated blood sponges,” says Engli. “But I’m proud to be a part of an incredible organization like MADD and I will remain committed to this cause for as long as I can.” update

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Season’s Greetings From Your BCNU Council From top (l-r):

Deb Ducharme Marg Dhillon Christine Sorensen Mabel Tung Debra McPherson Jonathan Karmazinuk Tracy Quewezance Marlene Goertzen Diane LaBarre Patt Shuttleworth Janet Elizabeth Van Doorn Adriane Gear Barry Phillips Cheryl Appleton Linda Pipe Claudette Jut Lorne Burkart Sharon Sponton Colette Wickstrom Jo Salken Lisa Walker Liz Ilczaszyn Debbie Picco Lauren Vandergronden Jackie Nault Kath-Ann Terrett Louise Weightman Judy McGrath Margo Wilton Not pictured:

Laurie Munday

PM 40834030

BCNU Update Magazine December 2013  

Seeing Red: Nurses Oppose Island Health's Care Delivery Restructuring