Health care presidents approve action plan, begin preparation for bargaining

BURNABY—In its first virtual meeting of the year, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC) today reviewed its action plan in light of pandemic conditions, set a date for a bargaining conference in advance of the next round of contract negotiations, and elected a new executive.

Council members set targets for meeting goals and objectives, adapting the action plan as necessary in the face of changing circumstances brought about by COVID-19. Site visits, in many cases, have had to be cancelled and most locals are now holding virtual meetings.

“These online sessions cover most everything that an in-person meeting has to offer,” said CUPE Health Care coordinator Tanya Paterson. “That means including links to important guidance documents—such as those for occupational health and safety—and creating other ones for areas such as the right to a shop steward, the overtime process, and grievance procedures.”

The presidents confirmed that a health care bargaining conference will take place on October 6. At this conference, delegates will review survey results and set priorities for the next round of negotiations for CUPE members under the Community Health Bargaining Association and Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association.

Also at the meeting, the HCPC confirmed that a half-day workshop on the Enhanced Disability Management Program will be held on March 18.

In elections for the HCPC executive, CUPE 1004 President Andrew Ledger was acclaimed as the new HCPC chair while incumbents filled most of the remaining positions: CUPE 1978’s Kazuhiro Takeuchi (secretary-treasurer), CUPE 3403-01’s Shaunah Cairney and CUPE 15’s Benita Spindel (trustees), and CUPE 1978’s Lindsay Fumalle (alternate trustee). The recording secretary position remains vacant.

The HCPC’s next meeting is on June 3.


Ending anti-Indigenous racism in B.C. health care

Last week’s release of former judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s final report on anti-indigenous racism in B.C.’s health care system is a clear and resounding call to action to end systemic racial discrimination in the province’s health care delivery.

Turpel-Lafond’s media briefing, which summarized her findings and recommendations (her remarks begin at the 9:10 mark), revealed that many Indigenous people in B.C. don’t have access to family doctors and other primary care, that many First Nations, Inuit and Metis people end up with poorer health than non-Indigenous people, and that Indigenous people are 75 per cent more likely to experience a health crisis requiring emergency room care.

“When you combine these factors with the overwhelming evidence of racism in the health-care system … it’s not difficult to see why health outcomes for Indigenous peoples are poorer,” said Turpel-Lafond, adding that B.C.’s health care system must be free of entrenched racism.

“A full continuum of care and networks of First Nations-led primary care are needed to overcome the serious deficiencies we found for Indigenous peoples.”

The final report reveals much about how the system is working—or not—for Indigenous peoples. Among its findings, the review shows that Indigenous patients are less likely to have access to crucial medical services such as cancer screening and prenatal care (Indigenous women often arrive at the hospital in labour without having had prenatal examinations), and Indigenous children—less likely to see a dentist for regular checkups—are up to 9.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for treatment of cavities. The report also reveals a higher rate of chronic conditions among Indigenous people, worse outcomes for babies and children, and a disproportionate impact from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the overdose crisis.

Turpel-Lafond was appointed last June to investigate racism in the B.C. health care system following reports that hospital emergency staff were playing a “game” where they would guess the blood-alcohol content of Indigenous patients. Her initial report, titled In Plain Sight, was released in November.

Health Minister Adrian Dix, accompanying Turpel-Lafond at last week’s media briefing, pledged immediate action to address systemic racism in B.C.’s health-care system and “rip out its deeply damaging effects.”

Workload reporting now available for CUPE Community Health members

BURNABY—CUPE members working under the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) and Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) can now report workload issues with a tracking form that covers excessive workloads.

Among other things, this form can be used to record such problems as missed breaks and frequent interruptions.

If you’re a CUPE member under a CBA or HSPBA agreement and are experiencing workload issues, please complete the workload journal form and submit it to your shop steward.

Member engagement the key as health care presidents approve 2021 action plan

BURNABY—Having so far weathered the storm of COVID-19’s impact in the workplace thanks to the outstanding work of its members, CUPE’s Community Health sector is looking to ramp up its member engagement efforts during 2021.

At its final meeting for this year, the Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC) on Tuesday (December 8) approved an action plan that calls for more worksite visits, virtual meeting/webinars for each local’s bargaining unit, workshops on the Enhanced Disability Management Plan (EDMP), member guidance documents on workplace rights and the grievance filing process, and continued support to address workload in the sector.

HCPC members also confirmed a two-day workshop (December 14-15) on Intro to Stewarding and Notetaking with a focus on health sector issues and structure. They also discussed the possibility of conducting mental health workshops in 2021.

Also at the meeting, the HCPC endorsed PEA member Cindy Ashton as part-time backup to EDMP rep Benita Spindel, who the Council previously appointed for another year. The health care presidents also approved changes to the Protocol Agreement (including a welcome to the sector of CUPE 1004’s PHS members), confirmed that the classification redesign process continues, and that low wage redress achieved in the last round of bargaining will be applied on April 1, 2021.

It was reported that CUPE has received its portion of the funds for the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association’s professional development fund. Qualified CUPE members under the HSPBA are encouraged to apply.

Tuesday’s HCPC meeting was Chris Losito’s last as CUPE’s health care coordinator, as he has been reassigned to the union’s K-12 sector. Losito introduced new CUPE health coordinator Tanya Paterson, whose previous work as a CUPE representative includes assignments in the municipal, libraries, post-secondary and transportation sectors.

HSPBA final draft agreement 2019-2022

To all CUPE Health Science Professionals,

At long last, we are excited to be able to share with you the final draft of the HSPBA 2019-2022 collective agreement. The PDF document is searchable, thereby allowing you to locate specific terms by using the Search function in Adobe. New terms of the agreement are underlined.

Previous iterations of the collective agreement and tentative agreement can be found on the Archive page at

It is the intention of the bargaining association to make printed collective agreements available to our members, with the process and timelines to do so to be determined. We will circulate an additional bulletin once printed copies are available.

Your CUPE Health Care Presidents Council

Call for Expression of Interest: EDMP representative

BURNABY—A temporary opportunity is available for CUPE and Professional Employees Association (PEA) members to serve as the Enhanced Disability Management Program (EDMP) representative.

The EDMP rep plays an active role in assisting members of PEA and CUPE within the Health Sciences Professionals and Community Bargaining Associations who are referred into the program. The position starts on January 1, 2021.

Full details can be found here.

CUPE Health Care Presidents Council calls on members to help re-elect BC NDP government

BURNABY—CUPE members in Community Health can see first-hand the impact of a B.C. government that values our public health care system. Since 2017, the BC NDP under Premier John Horgan have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the public services we all rely on. With the Horgan government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, the BC NDP have led the country in promoting public health while recognizing the importance of frontline health care workers who provide those critical services and keep the public safe.

This record stands in stark contrast to that of the BC Liberal Party, whose record while in government showed contempt both for you as public sector employees and for our public health care system as a whole. Among other things, the BC Liberals tore up contracts, slashed budgets, laid off health care workers, and left the rest of you with unmanageable workloads. For these reasons, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council is calling on CUPE members in Community Health to get active during the last two weeks prior to Election Day on October 24 and help re-elect the BC NDP government.

First of all, don’t forget to vote. There are options for physically distant voting in advance of E-Day. For information on how to vote, visit There are many solid candidates running where you live and work, including Adrian Dix in Kingsway and Jennifer Whiteside in New Westminster. Adrian’s work as Health Minister during the pandemic, and Jennifer’s advocacy for public health care as secretary-business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union, have been outstanding. CUPE also has members or former staff running as BC NDP candidates, including incumbent MLAs Rachna Singh in Surrey-Green Timbers and Lisa Beare in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, as well as candidates Sylvia Lindgren in Shuswap, Cory Longley in Peace River South, Bryn Smith in Surrey-White Rock, and Dan Coulter in Chilliwack.

As well as voting for the NDP candidate in your constituency, you can make a difference by volunteering on a campaign and by sharing the BC NDP platform with your friends and family. With your support, we can continue the positive work the BC NDP has done to strengthen our public health care system for all British Columbians.

In solidarity,

CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council

Update regarding temporary pandemic pay

Greetings to CUPE Community Health Sector members,

RE: Update regarding payment of province’s Temporary Pandemic Pay

We wish to inform you that the provincial government has updated the information on its Temporary Pandemic Pay website:

Of note, the website now states: “Eligible employees will begin to see temporary pandemic pay reflected on their paycheques in October. The timing for payments is dependent in part on the claim accuracy and when it is submitted for validation.”

We have also been informed that the temporary pandemic pay should be paid for overtime hours worked during the eligible period of March 15-July 4, 2020.


Chris Losito
CUPE National Representative

Local health sector activists brush up on shop stewarding, notetaking skills

BURNABY—Even during the pandemic, educational opportunities for union activists in community health don’t all have to be on Zoom. On September 24 and 25, eight CUPE members from Locals 15, 1004, 1978 and 4816 took advantage of physically distant space at the B.C. regional office to take combined workshops for CUPE’s Introduction to Shop Stewarding and Notetaking.

The sessions, facilitated by CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito, were specifically tailored to the two health sector collective agreements CUPE works with, the HSPBA and CBA. Members reviewed the collective agreements while discussing the complicated structure of the sector and relationships with employers and the HEABC.

Final deadline notice – Complete the survey: HSPBA job classification redesign


Final deadline notice: Your participation needed in classification redesign survey

As part of the 2019-2022 collective agreement, the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) and Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) established a working group to continue the work of modernizing the HSPBA Classification System. The purpose is to address anomalies and regularize a number of professions and professional practice issues that have developed in a changing health care system.

A total of $10 million was negotiated to fund the first steps of a wholesale restructuring of the classification system to address decades-old inequities in job categories.

Phased in over three years, the agreement is to make changes to the classification system that will address existing inequities, improve recruitment and retention, and support the government’s modernizing of health care delivery in the province, including the creation of community-based, multidisciplinary health care teams.

The next step of the joint committee’s work is to assess the circumstances of members’ jobs that may be affected by the next steps of the modernization project as outlined in provisions (r), (s), and (t) of Appendix A of the Memorandum of Agreement re HSPBA Classification Redesign – Interim Agreement. (Reference: Page 83 of the summary of changes to the HSPBA collective agreement.)

Members are asked to complete a survey to the best of their ability so that the union has the best information available in matching job functions to the appropriate classification and rate of pay.

Information gathered by CUPE is secure and will be used to establish correct classification and wage rates for members in jobs captured by this phase of the classification redesign.

Deadline for completion of the survey is midnight, September 14, 2020.

Please access the survey here.

For further information, please contact CUPE Health coordinator Chris Losito at