News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 24, 2019

NEW REGULATION FURTHER DEFINES HEALTH SECTOR BARGAINING UNITS AND EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS



A new regulation now in place under The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act is the latest step in the Manitoba government’s efforts to restructure health sector bargaining units to improve patient care, and reduce administrative costs and inefficiencies, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Manitoba’s health system currently has more than 180 different bargaining units and collective agreements whereas B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan combined have less than 20 health-care collective agreements.  Clearly, this has led to inefficiencies and artificial barriers in the health-care system, where employees doing similar jobs have different terms of employment,” said Friesen.  “This new regulation will define bargaining units by the work people do, not where they do it and create flexibility to help our health-care system become more focused on the needs of patients.”

Enacted this week under The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act, the regulation identifies the five regional health authorities (RHAs) as employers and establishes Shared Health as a provincewide employer.  CancerCare Manitoba provides provincial health services and is also included in the Shared Health employers’ organization.

Under the act, seven groups are designated for the purposes of collective bargaining including nurses, physicians, medical residents, physician assistants and clinical assistants, professionals/technical/paramedical, facility support and community support.  The regulation modernizes the definition of both ‘facility support’ and ‘community support’.  

Historically, facility support bargaining units included support staff who worked in a hospital or personal care home setting and did not differentiate based on role.  Similarly, community support bargaining units included staff who worked in the community in a variety of support roles, outside a hospital or in a personal care home setting.

The definitions contained in the new regulation define these units by the work of an employee, rather than where they work.  For example, health-care aides working in home care, a personal care home, a community health agency or a hospital will now be characterized as ‘community sector’ and will all be included in one bargaining unit for each employers’ organization based on their work, which primarily consists of a direct, hands-on role in patient/client/resident care.  

By contrast, the ‘facilities sector’ will refer to employees who provide operational support services, whether in a hospital or a community health agency.

These changes will allow a more patient-centred approach to care and are anticipated to provide support employees with more opportunities to transfer to other health-care sites and services within the same bargaining unit without losing seniority and benefits, the minister said.

“These regulations more clearly establish the definitions for facility support and community support and are in line with our government’s goals of better continuity of care, higher quality care and more efficient use of resources,” said Friesen.

Union officials were notified of the enactment of the regulation during a meeting with provincial officials yesterday, Friesen confirmed.  

In May 2018, the province appointed a commissioner to oversee the implementation of the new bargaining structure.  The commissioner’s responsibilities include:
•    determining the classifications to be included in of each of the bargaining units for each employers’ organization;
•    conducting a secret ballot vote to determine the selection for each employers’ organization of the union that will act as the bargaining agent for each defined bargaining unit; and
•    designating the receiving collective agreement that will form the basis for negotiation within each defined bargaining unit for a revised collective agreement.

The act also instructs the commissioner to take into account the need to enhance operational efficiency, promote the integration of health-care service delivery, and develop consistency in terms and conditions of employment across six employers’ organizations.

The regulations build on the proclamation of The Health Sector Bargaining Unit Review Act and the appointment of the commissioner, which are key to the ongoing transformation of Manitoba’s health system. The definitions for the facility support and community support sectors were also recommended by the KPMG review and the transformation blueprint.

The health system transformation is designed to improve health-care delivery for Manitobans while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the system.  For more information on health system transformation in Manitoba, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/hst/.

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