Your voice matters! The CUPE Health Sector Bargaining Survey is now open

Hello CUPE HSPBA and CBA members,

The current HSPBA and CBA Collective Agreements expire on March 31, 2025, and we need to hear from you as we look towards the next round of collective bargaining.

Your voice matters! Take a few moments to help shape our collective future by completing the online bargaining survey today.

The survey will be open from March 26th to April 5th. Let’s work together to ensure your priorities are heard.

HSPBA and CBA members to receive the maximum cost of living increase this year

Negotiated inflation-protection measures will trigger a full 3.0% increase this year.

British Columbia inflation data released this week confirm that the maximum wage protections in the 2022-2025 HSPBA and CBA collective agreements will be triggered, and members will receive a full 3.0% wage increase starting April 1, 2024.

For most members, this brings the total general wage increase for the three years of the agreement to nearly 14%.

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) was negotiated as part of the current collective agreements and ratified by members in December, 2022. It is based on the annualized average monthly BC Consumer Price Index value over the 12 months leading up to March. The current agreements expire on March 31, 2025, and planning for the upcoming round of negotiations has already begun.

In solidarity,

Andrew Ledger
Health Sector Coordinator

HSPBA professional development fund applications for 2023-24 now open to CUPE members

CUPE health science professionals can now apply for new professional development funds announced in the spring under an agreement reached between the provincial Ministry of Health and the Health Sciences Professional Bargaining Association (HSPBA).

All health science professionals covered by the HSPBA collective agreement, which includes members of HSA, BCGEU, CUPE, PEA and HEU, are eligible to apply for funding, which will be allocated to the constituent unions on a pro-rata basis.

Key points about the new professional development funding:

  • The funding is to be allocated to training and upgrading skills for HSPBA members working in professions experiencing shortages, or in rural and remote locations, as well as ongoing required professional development for all HSPBA members;
  • The funding will apply to education or training commenced between September 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024. The application form should be submitted ASAP and no later than August 31, 2024;
  • The education or training must pertain to professional development in a health science professional discipline being practiced in the public health care system; and
  • Eligible expenses for reimbursement include tuition fees, registration fees, cost of required books or materials, and other reasonable education-related expenses and may also include reasonable costs of travel and accommodation if the applicant must travel or temporarily relocate to attend education or training or related clinical placement.

Successful applicants will be reimbursed upon proof of completion of the program applied for, along with receipt for costs claimed. If a course, if a program or workshop is cancelled or otherwise not attended, the application will be cancelled and the member must reapply on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, see the eligibility requirements and frequently asked questions.

To apply now, fill out this form.

HSPBA classification redesign process ready for members

A new web page on the CUPE Health Workers site is ready to assist members who work full- or part-time under the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) in determining whether their employer has properly classified their work.

The process, part of a new classification redesign aimed at modernizing the healthcare system, ensures that your role in the system is clearly recognized, that your job has been classified properly and that you are paid appropriately.

The web page contains information about the process, answers to frequently asked questions, and a classification review questionnaire, which will guide you through an assessment of your job to determine if the employer has assigned your job to the correct classification profile. It also includes a profile match objection form in case your employer has misclassified your job.

The employer is expected to provide each member with their job description and match in the redesigned classification system by no later than September 22. Members who have not received their new job description by then should request the documents from their supervisor or manager. If there are problems related to receiving your job description, please contact

Please remember that you must complete the classification review questionnaire before November 15. If the employer has misclassified your job, you will also need to submit a profile match objection form to your employer before that date.

HSPBA reaches agreement on retroactive pay for members not employed since April 1, 2022

Union members covered by the HSPBA collective agreement urged to reach out to former colleagues with important information about retro pay, including deadlines for eligibility. 

The Health Sciences Professional Bargaining Association (HSBPA) and the Health Employers Association of British Columbia (HEABC) reached a Memorandum of Agreement this month on retroactive pay for eligible members who ceased employment on or after April 1, 2022 – the date that most of the monetary terms and conditions of the 2022-2025 HSPBA collective agreement came into effect.

This retroactive pay agreement, which was concluded on July 21, 2023, ensures that union members covered by the HSPBA Collective Agreement whose employment ended after April 1, 2022, will receive payment for all monetary provisions related to work they performed on or after that date.

This applies to any member who stopped working for a HEABC employer through resignation, retirement, or termination by the employer. It applies only to employees who have severed their employment relationship. For clarity, members who retired but remain casual employees have a continuing employment relationship, so they are not required to apply for retroactive pay under the terms of this Memorandum of Agreement.

Retroactive pay includes all monetary provisions such as wages, premiums, allowances, and leaves and is calculated on all paid hours. Please check the summary of changes for more details.

Eligible members will receive a letter from their employer, at their last known address on record, with details on how to apply for retroactive pay. Under the terms of the agreement, the employers will send these letters no later than August 15, 2023. Eligible members will have 60 days from the date of the letter to respond to the employer. If a former employee does not provide a response within 60 days, the employer will not be required to pay. 

The employer will determine the method and timing of the payment, but it will be no later than December 1, 2023, and will be by cheque or direct deposit.

Important deadlines

  • Letter from employers to former employees: August 15, 2023
  • Last day to apply for retroactive pay: October 14, 2023
  • Retroactive payment to former employees: no later than December 1, 2023

If you know someone who may be eligible for this retroactive payment, please forward this important information to them so they can apply for the money owed to them.

Former employees who are eligible for retroactive payment should contact their Local if they do not receive a letter from their former employer outlining how to apply for the retroactive pay to which they are entitled.

Classifications review for all HSPBA members coming this fall

This fall, all members in the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association will have the opportunity to help modernize the healthcare system, ensure your role in that system is clearly recognized, and confirm that you are paid for the full range of the work you do.

Health science professionals work in over 70 different professions. The work is complex and becomes more complex with each passing year.

But for many of BC’s health science professionals, the current classification system has not kept pace with the change in their work.

For over twenty years, previous governments have refused to modernize the classification system. In the last round of bargaining, however, the HSPBA and the current government struck an agreement to complete the design and implementation of the new profile-based redesigned classification system.

Why this matters

Your wage is determined by your classification. Your classification is determined by the health science profession you belong to, and the level of duties and responsibilities of your job. A good classification system keeps pace with the ever-changing ways in which the healthcare system is structured and delivers care. It also ensures that your role in that system is clearly recognized and that you are paid for the full scope of the work you do.

The classification structures have been mostly unchanged since 1990, despite the fact that your work has become more complex and acute. In some cases, there aren’t enough classification/pay levels, leaving health science professionals stuck with little room for career advancement. In other cases, members are paid less than colleagues performing work of the same scope and level of responsibility. The classification system needs to be updated to apply uniformly to workers across the full spectrum of health science professionals to reflect the reality of the healthcare system as a whole.

The bottom line is this: While the healthcare system has become much more complex in the last thirty years and continues to evolve, the system that determines your rate of pay has not kept up. Improvements to the classification system will deliver overdue recognition of specialized work and, perhaps more importantly, create a foundation that can support new levels of specialization as health science professions continue to develop. This means that the system will be able to assign the appropriate level of pay proactively, not reactively.

Who is affected?

All members who work in health science professions under the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA)

How do I know if I am included?

You can contact the union to confirm that you are or are not a member under the HSPBA.

When does this happen?

Employers are currently compiling job descriptions for all HSPBA members and will provide these to you directly in the early fall. While the timing is up to individual employers, they are required to do this by no later than September 22.

What do I need to do?

For now, nothing. The first step will be taken by the employer, who will be preparing to provide you with your job description and notification of what classification profile they’ve assigned to your job. They will provide this to you directly by September 22, 2023.

Between September 22 and November 15, you’ll need to fill out forms provided by CUPE. These will guide you through the assessment of your job to determine if the employer has assigned your job to the right classification profile.

If the employer has misclassified your job, the union will advocate for assignment to the correct classification profile starting in late November.

What are the Next Steps?

CUPE will be providing more information to all HSPBA members later this summer. In the meantime, please ensure that your contact information is correct, and encourage your worksite colleagues to be sure that your Local Union has their contact information as well.

2022 HSPBA Pay Increases Expected in Approximately Six Weeks

CUPE HSPBA members can expect to begin receiving pay raises towards the end of next month.

Timing and delivery of the new pay rates are entirely in the hands of the employer. With the recent agreement on the formulation of wage schedules, the employer is expected to begin making the necessary payroll changes. This is expected to take about six weeks, in line with the implementation seen in comparable contract negotiations.

Pay increases negotiated as part of the 2022-2025 Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association Collective Agreement, ratified by members on December 21, 2022, will also deliver retroactive payments going back to the first pay period after April 1, 2022. Again, in line with the implementation seen in comparable contract negotiations, retroactive payments can be expected to take a further three weeks after members see the new higher rates on their pay statements.

Members can expect an average general wage increase of 3.83 percent in the first year of the new contract, ending March 31, 2023. Pay increases will be at least 5.5 percent and 2 percent in the second and third years respectively, plus any Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases should inflation remain above the negotiated percentage wage increases. Over the three-year agreement, all members will see a pay increase of a minimum of approximately 12 percent to 14 percent, plus increases that may result from the comprehensive review of job classifications in 2023 and 2024.

Health science professionals ratify new collective agreement

Members of the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association have voted 77 per cent in favour of accept a new collective agreement effective April 21, 2022 to March 31, 2025.

Highlights of the contract include a general wage increase of about 12-14 per cent over three years for all members, plus additional increases for most members based on a review of all classifications over this period. The general wage increase is retroactive to April 1, 2022.

“The CUPE bargaining committee went to the table with our members’ priorities clear from the start. These included making significant wage increases, given that we had fallen behind our colleagues in other provinces and even other health authorities within B.C.” said HSPBA bargaining committee and CUPE 15 member Jennifer Kassimatis.

“Our members also wanted us to address recruitment and retention, as so many health science professionals continue to struggle with unsustainable workloads. We were determined to achieve an agreement that would reflect the true importance of health science professionals within the health care system.”

HSPBA lead negotiator Jeanne Meyers said the new collective agreement also includes strategies and action addressing severe staff shortages in the health science professions.

“This contract is important for health science professionals, not just because it raises wages to competitive levels across the country but also because it establishes ongoing processes to address shortages and vacancies, and it recognizes the critical role health science professionals play on the health care team, including asserting their right to a safe and healthy workplace,” said Meyers.

For the first time in decades, the contract provides significant pay increases. In addition:

  • Cost of Living Adjustments are built in to protect pay against longer-term increases in inflation.
  • Improvements to premiums for on-call, short-notice, super shifts and weekend shifts will put more money in many members’ pockets.
  • A long-overdue update to the classification system provides more recognition of the complexity and scope of work, more opportunity for career advancement, and more respect.
  • Specific provisions address the recruitment and retention crisis.
  • Occupational health and safety changes address mental health under duress, unsafe workloads, infection control standards, access to personal protective equipment and prevention of violence in the workplace.
  • Enhanced education leaves support professional development.
  • A new focus on implementing recommendations to support the inclusion of Indigenous workers, patients and clients will work toward reconciliation and culturally-safe health care.
  • Inclusion of communities that experience marginalization in the health care system is a major priority.

In addition to Indigenous-specific anti-racism measures agreed to in the collective agreement, HSPBA was successful in negotiating a ground-pilot project to explore alternatives to the Christian/colonial focus on statutory holidays to better reflect the diverse cultures and practices of health care workers.

The general wage increases are retroactive to the first pay period after April 1, 2022, and the new premium rates are effective as of December 22, 2022.

B.C.’s 22,000 specialized health care professionals reach tentative agreement

B.C.’s 22,000 specialized health professionals working in hospitals and communities around the province reached a tentative agreement late Wednesday night after more than eight months of negotiations between the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC).

Jeanne Meyers, executive director of Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA) and lead negotiator for the HSPBA, said the multi-union bargaining association went to the table with strong direction from members to address wages that have fallen behind their colleagues across the country. Members also wanted to see recruitment and retention strategies to support specialized health care professionals working under crushing workloads, and respect for the critical contributions of specialized health care professionals on the health care team.

CUPE bargaining committee team member Jennifer Kassimatis said that CUPE members were clear about their priorities for this round of bargaining.

“Our bargaining team worked tirelessly to ensure that we would achieve gains for our members in many areas, beginning with a general wage increase—in line with other provincial public sector agreements—that recognizes the rising cost of living,” said Kassimatis. She added that the tentative agreement also redesigns the outdated classification system and removes barriers to accessing positions in the HSPBA agreement for Indigenous workers while also building in cultural recognition for those workers.

CUPE Health coordinator Andrew Ledger said the agreement also provides some recognition of the extensive hours worked by our members throughout the pandemic and the many challenges they continue to face.

“The committee is proud of the accomplishments made in this tentative agreement,” said Ledger. “We look forward to upcoming information sessions, where we will provide more details about the significant gains we’ve made and recommend acceptance.”

Important features of the tentative agreement include:

  • General wage increase that acknowledges the impact of the rising cost of living.
  • Overhaul of an outdated job classification system to better recognize the complexity and scope of the work of CUPE members on the specialized health care team.
  • Provisions to address the recruitment and retention crisis.
  • Addressing occupational health and safety issues ranging from workers’ mental health, unsafe workloads, improved infection control standards, access to personal protective equipment and violence prevention.
  • Acting on recommendations from the In Plain Sight report on the experience of Indigenous workers, patients, and clients in the health care system to work toward reconciliation and culturally safe health care.
  • Plotting a roadmap for improved inclusion within the health care workforce for communities that experience marginalization.
  • Scheduling and leave provisions to improve work-life balance.
  • Improvements to continuing education and recognition of professional status.

HSPBA represents workers in five unions: HSA, CUPE, BCGEU, PEA, and HEU. Health science professionals are critical members of the multidisciplinary health care team, providing specialized health care services in acute, rehabilitation, community, and long-term care settings. CUPE positions covered by the contract include environmental health officers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and social workers, among others.

Complete information about the tentative agreement will be provided to members across the province in the coming weeks, with dates for an online ratification vote to be determined.

HSPBA Bargaining Update: Advancing proposals on central concerns

Since the resumption of negotiations at the end of September, the HSPBA Bargaining Committee has been working to advance measures to address recruitment, retention, shortage, and workload issues which drive so many of the serious problems affecting the public health care system, the people who depend on it, and the professionals who keep it running.

The employers remain resistant to covering the final distance to agreement on these matters. However, we are pleased to report progress on initiatives addressing Truth and Reconciliation, improving the working lives of Indigenous members, and promoting cultural safety for all specialized health professionals. The discussions are also addressing general safety and wellness concerns.

As an important objective, the Bargaining Committee has also proposed improvements to union representation in the workplaces – by adding more paid stewards.

Cost of living issues remains a central focus of the HSPBA’s Bargaining Committee’s efforts. Recently, two agreements, led by negotiators at the Hospital Employees Union and the BC General Employees Union, were accepted in ratification votes by their respective members. While not achieving the level of gains initially sought, each goes much further towards addressing concerns with inflation than any agreement has in over two decades and gives some sense of current discussions on wage increases.

As negotiations proceed through the critical phase of the next few weeks, ensuring all members receive these email updates is vital. Please ask fellow members if they are receiving these updates and encourage them to update their contact information with your Local.