Info on Covid-19, click for more information

COVID 19 Info for Health Service Members (HEABC and others)

Your union has been in communication with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) regarding sick leave policies and prevention. Through those discussions, the following guidelines are currently in place but subject to change:

  • Employees who don't have symptoms of an illness: come to work
  • Employees who are sick: sick leave applies
  • Returning to Canada from abroad: paid general leave is available, please contact your employer for details
  • Not sick, but told by a qualified medical practitioner to self-isolate at home: paid general leave is available, please contact your employer for details
  • Not sick, but awaiting medical direction or COVID-19 test results: paid general leave is available, please contact your employer for details

Read the latest bulletin (Mar 16)

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Have a COVID-related question?

Email health@bcgeu.ca – Responses are confidential. To help us answer your question quickly, please tell us your employer and city of work.

COVID-19 resources & information for Health Service Members

  • FAQ: Single-site staffing
  • From the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC):

    From the Ministry of Health:

    Mar 23

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Read about changes to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocol.

    Mar 23

    Putting on PPE

    See step-by-step instructions on how to put on PPE.

    Mar 23

    Removing PPE

    See step-by-step instructions on how to remove PPE without contamination.

    Mar 25

    Pregnancy

    Pregnancy & PPE usage

    Statement regarding COVID-19 and preganancy from the BC Ministry of Health

    BCGEU COVID-19 Resources:

    COVID-19 News for Health Service Members

    April 24, 2020

    Single Site Order for Long Term Care, Assisted Living, and Provincial Mental ...

    We are writing with important information about the Provincial Health Officer's Single Site Order for health care worksites, which should be fully implemented in the next two weeks.
     
    The Order applies to: Long Term Care, Assisted Living, and Provincial Mental Health Facilities. If you work at more than one of these types of facilities, you will be restricted to working at only one of your worksites. That is, the order will prevent you from working at more than one Long Term Care, Assisted Living or Provincial Mental Health Facility.
     
    The Order does not apply to: worksites other than the ones listed. If you work at a worksite that is not Long Term Care, Assisted Living, or a Provincial Mental Health Facility, your employer should not be restricting where you work, and you have no obligation to disclose your other work sites to your employer.
     
    The Order also does not apply to the following classifications: dieticians, medical laboratory technologists, medical laboratory assistants, nurse practitioners, paramedics, pharmacists, physicians, resident physicians, speech language pathologists, inter-facility transport staff, delivery persons, trades people, regular and biochemical waste removal people, and biomedical engineers.
     
    The Health Authorities are currently creating lists of single site assignments for employees affected by the single site orders. For BCGEU members, we have a short window of opportunity to review these lists before they become finalized. We will be attempting to address any issues that affect our members before the lists are finalized. There will also be opportunities to address issues after the lists are in place.
     
    Many of you will be assigned to remain at BCGEU sites. Some of you will likely be assigned to work exclusively at sites represented by other unions, while still others of you will be assigned to non-union sites.
     
    If you are being assigned to a non-union site, we want to make sure we can keep in touch with you, so we can represent you in any disputes that arise from the single site order. Please update your contact information using the following link:
     
    https://my.bcgeu.ca/signup
     
    We are aware that this situation can be stressful and confusing and we will continue to work diligently on helping you through it.



    UWU/MoveUP

    April 15, 2020

    Fair pay for health care workers - BCGEU

    Your union recently learned that a salary supplement has been implemented for excluded staff (non-union managers) in the health care sector. Last Thursday, we sent a letter to the Health Employers' Association of BC (HEABC) to address these pay inequities, specifically seeking an explanation of why they have chosen to provide excluded staff with additional compensation. We have not yet had any response to our letter, but we will update members once this happens. This policy is unfair for the thousands of health care workers throughout the province, and your union sees no reason for this unfair policy to be in place.
     
    This additional compensation for excluded positions, in addition to the recent news of the Nurses Bargaining Association (NBA) agreement granting employees a blanket premium for all hours worked during the month of April, further compounds the inequities health care workers are faced with. With regard to the NBA premium, your union has called on the HEABC to consider implementing premiums for the thousands of other frontline health care workers who are feeling undervalued as a result.
     
    We understand and recognize the sacrifices and risks that members across the health care sector are making to help keep British Columbians safe and healthy during these difficult, uncertain times. You can count on your union to continue fighting for fair pay and safe working conditions for health care workers.



    UWU/MoveUP

    April 14, 2020

    EI Factsheet

    Revision date: April 14th, 2020

     

    April 07, 2020

    Community Health general COVID-19 update – April 7, 2020 - BCGEU

    Component 8 - COVID-19 Update


    This is an update for BCGEU members working in Community Health related to COVID-19. This is a difficult time for healthcare workers around the province and we wanted to take this opportunity to update members on what we have been doing on your behalf and clarify some common questions members have been raising.
     
    BCGEU call for pandemic premium pay
    We became aware last week that employees covered under the Nurses Bargaining Association (NBA) agreement were granted a blanket premium for all hours worked during the month of April. We acknowledge that the premium exists in their collective agreement for working in short staffing situations, however, the blanket approach leaves other frontline healthcare workers feeling undervalued.
     
    The BCGEU, along with the other unions representing employees covered by the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) called on HEABC to consider premiums for the thousands of other front line healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and a meeting to discuss this important issue. You can see our letter to HEABC here. 
     
    Non-clinical PPE
    Although we have thousands of members that work in clinical environments with defined Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines, we have thousands that work in non-clinical environments such as shelters, SRO’s, addictions facilities, and on the streets of the community.
     
    Our advice to members in those environments is that if you are unable to maintain two meters of physical distance with co-workers, clients, or members of the community while performing your duties you should be wearing a medical mask and eye protection. This includes when your duties may require you to directly administer medication such as Naloxone or provide first aid.

    If you are required to directly administer medication or first aid to a person who has been diagnosed – or symptomatic – with COVID-19, PPE requirements should increase to a medical mask, eyewear, gloves, and gown.
     
    Your union has been in regular contact with WorkSafeBC in relation to COVID-19 issues and your employer is still obligated to meet their core Workers Compensation Act and their Occupational Health & Safety responsibilities during this outbreak.

    If proper PPE is not available, is being denied to you, or if you have specific questions about COVID-19, please direct your inquiries to your union representative (your Joint Health and Safety Committee member or a steward). If you cannot reach one of these union representatives, please email ohs@bcgeu.ca.

    Single site
    We anticipate an order from either the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) or individual health authorities via the Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO) restricting work to a single site. Our understanding is that this order will not apply to community health or your worksites. Instead it impacts only long-term care (LTC) facilities and assisted living (AL) facilities which are largely facilities for seniors.
     
    This means that if a co-worker or employer in community health says that you are restricted to working at one community health worksite/program they are misinformed. The only impact on workers covered under the CBA is if they have other employment in any (union or otherwise) LTC or AL. However, you are still able to work in community health, just not more than one LTC or AL.
     
    If the outbreak becomes worse it is possible for the PHO or the CHMO to make such an order but we do not anticipate that happening at this time.
     
    Redeployment
    There is a potential redeployment of workers, particularly Community Health Workers (CHWs) involved in home support, to other parts of the health authority to assist other health care workers curing the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, it is unlikely employees from other bargaining units would be redeployed into community health.
     
    Although we do not have details at this time, we will assert that any such transfer (outside of an order from the PHO or CHMO which we have no jurisdiction over) be consistent with the following principles:

    • The transfers are voluntary and by seniority.
       
    • Employees should be paid the rate of pay under the agreement of the facility/worksite they are performing duties at if it is higher than their current wage rate.
       
    • All hours worked and earned benefits should return with you so that no employee lose seniority, vacation, sick leave, pensionable earnings, etc.
       
    • Those that do redeploy are guaranteed regular hours equal to or in excess of their current position or some other confirmed amount of minimum hours.
       

    These terms are subject to discussions between the CBA, HEABC and the other healthcare bargaining associations. We will update you when we have more certainty.
     
    Timeline waiver
    The CBA (including the BCGEU) has agreed to temporarily suspend timelines regarding grievances. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak there was general agreement that employers are currently unable to effectively meet timelines related to grievances and employees should not be adversely impacted by the crisis in terms of grievances and protecting/defending their agreement rights.
     
    Therefore, the unions and employers agreed to temporarily (currently until April 30, 2020) suspend grievance and classification review timelines and all new grievances shall be filed directly at Step 2. Community Health Workers should still be submitting a filled out hours of investigation form with grievances filed directly at Step 2.
     
    We are proud of you!
    The officers and staff of the BCGEU are incredibly proud of the work you are doing in our communities during this pandemic. You continue to provide services to those most vulnerable in society and to the COVID-19 virus.
     
    Know that we continue to work each day to represent you during this historic time and your efforts are inspiring!

    In solidarity,
     
    Scott De Long
    BCGEU VP for Component 8 – Community Health Services



     

    April 02, 2020

    Component 4 - Health Care Worker Update-BCGEU

    To: All component 4 members


    The last couple of weeks have been extraordinarily challenging times for all British Columbians, but especially for those working in health care.

    You can be confident that your union is working on your behalf, and is here to support you during these unprecedented, turbulent times.

    We hear your concerns, and we are advocating for what you have been calling for. Your union has written a letter to the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) requesting fair pay and safe working conditions for our health care workers. Read the letter here. We want to ensure members are getting fairly compensated during this difficult time.

    You may have heard that a wage supplement was recently implemented for nurses by mutual agreement between the HEABC and the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA). To set the record straight: NBA has a "working short" article that applies a premium to shifts that are deemed to be short staffed. This was bargained during the last round of negotiations, and the premium outlined only became effective April 1, 2020.

    Our main message to HEABC is that a health care worker is a health care worker.
    Paying this premium to all nurses, even those not entitled under their collective agreement,is not fair to the thousands of BCGEU health care workers who work beside them on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Your union understands how awful this is. We know there is more work to be done and a pandemic will always be challenging to get through for health care workers. We have made significant progress from the early days of the pandemic, and we ask you to continue to identify issues so we know what to fix.

    Your union meets many times a week with employers at all levels of the health care sector to seek solutions to frontline issues and the systemic issues that can create frontline issues.

    Although there is much work to be done, some successes so far include:

    • Your union has doubled the number of reps responding to occupational health and safety matters
    • Government ensures child care for health care workers at the front of the queue
    • Single site improvements to working conditions: FBA (Facilities Bargaining Association) wage rates, no loss of work hours, benefits maintained, employee preference on location to be considered according to seniority, a system to ensure fair staffing levels across the sector, no losses when workers return to former worksites
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE): significant improvements in access in many sites, improved consistency in standards across with province, detailed ethical framework for supply constraints

     
    Please visit the health care page of our COVID-19 Information Hub regularly for updates: https://www.bcgeu.ca/covid_19_info_for_health_services.
     
    Also be sure to email health@bcgeu.ca with any other concerns or specific questions.
     
    Again, we appreciate your hard work throughout these difficult circumstances. As frontline workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic, your dedication and commitment are helping to keep our communities healthy and safe. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation unfolds.
     



    UWU/MoveUP

    April 02, 2020

    Health Care Worker COVID-19 Update - Component 8 - BCGEU

    To: All component 8 members

    The last couple of weeks have been extraordinarily challenging times for all British Columbians, but especially for those working in health care.

    You can be confident that your union is working on your behalf, and is here to support you during these unprecedented, turbulent times.

    We hear your concerns, and we are advocating for what you have been calling for. The BCGEU and the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) constituent unions have called for additional compensation for CBA members and asked for a meeting with the Health Employers' Association of BC (HEABC). Read the letter here. We want to ensure members are getting fairly compensated during this difficult time.

    You may have heard that a wage supplement was recently implemented for nurses by mutual agreement between the HEABC and the Nurses' Bargaining Association (NBA). To set the record straight: NBA has a "working short" article that applies a premium to shifts that are deemed to be short staffed. This was bargained during the last round of negotiations, and the premium outlined only became effective April 1, 2020.

    Our main message to HEABC is that a health care worker is a health care worker. Paying this premium to all nurses, even those not entitled under their collective agreement, is not fair to the thousands of BCGEU health care workers who work beside them on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Your union understands how hard and awful this is. We know there is more work to be done and a pandemic will always be challenging to get through for health care workers. We have made significant progress from the early days of the pandemic, and we ask you to continue to identity identify issues so we know what to fix.

    Your union meets many times a week with employers at all levels of the health care sector to seek solutions to frontline issues and the systemic issues that can create frontline issues.

    Although there is much work to be done, some successes so far include:

    • Your union has doubled the number of reps responding to occupational health and safety matters. 
    • Government ensures child care for health care workers is at the front of the queue
    • Single site improvements to working conditions: FBA (Facilities Bargaining Association) wage rates, no loss of work hours, benefits maintained, employee preference on location to be considered according to seniority, a system to ensure fair staffing levels across the sector, no losses when workers return to former worksites
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE): significant improvements in access in many sites, improved consistency in standards across with province, detailed ethical framework for supply constraints

    Please visit the health care page of our COVID-19 Information Hub regularly for updates: https://www.bcgeu.ca/covid_19_info_for_health_services.
     
    Also be sure to email health@bcgeu.ca with any other concerns or specific questions. Again, we appreciate your hard work throughout these difficult circumstances. As frontline workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic, your dedication and commitment are helping to keep our communities healthy and safe. We will continue to keep you updated as this situation unfolds.
     



    UWU/MoveUP

    March 31, 2020

    Component 8 - Correction: Health supports available through employer benefits...

    COVID-19 correction: Health supports available through employer benefits – Mar 31
     
    A recent email listing the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) available to Lookout Housing and Health Society members was incorrect. The correct provider is Pacific Blue Cross delivered through Homewood Health.
     
    To access your EFAP services, call:
    1 844 PBC-EFAP (1 844 722-3327)
    www.pbc-efap.ca
     
    Again, as we continue to work together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that whether you are working on the front lines or are in self-isolation at home, you may be experiencing mental and emotional strain. Your union encourages you to take advantage of this resource if necessary.
     
    We sincerely apologize for any confusion regarding the incorrect information sent to you yesterday. Thank you again for your dedication in taking care of British Columbians.
     
    If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please send your inquiries to health@bcgeu.ca. If you want to review current information from the BCGEU on COVID-19 please go to our information hub at www.bcgeu.ca/covid.
     
    In solidarity,
    Scott DeLong
    Component 8 Vice-President



    UWU/MoveUP

    March 30, 2020

    Component 4 - Health Supports Available Through Employer Benefits - BCGEU

    COVID-19 update: Health supports available through employer benefits – Mar 30
     
    As we continue to work together as a province to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that whether you are working on the front lines or are in self-isolation at home, you may be experiencing mental and emotional strain. Your union is working hard to support you when it comes to your rights as a union member, but we also encourage you to take advantage of the employee assistance program (EAP) or Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) that should be available to you through your employment benefits as well.
     
    These programs generally offer off-site, confidential and voluntary counselling, consultation and online wellness services at no cost to you. Below is a list of these resources and other information by health authority:
     
    Fraser Health
    The Fraser Health[1] employee assistance program (EAP) provides professional, confidential support services and programs for Fraser Health employees.
    Your EAP toll-free number is 1-844-880-9142 available 24/7, 7 days a week.
     
    Interior Health
    Access your Guide to Employee Health & Wellness Services here[2] or visit https://interiorhealth.lifespeak.com/welcome (password: wellness). You can also contact the Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Crisis Support Line[3] at 1-844-751-2133.
     
    Northern Health
    Through your employment benefits you have access to an Employee & Family Assistance Program.[4] This is an off-site, confidential, voluntary, short-term counseling program provided for employees to deal with a range of personal, family and workplace concerns. These services are provided to employees at no cost.
     
    Vancouver Coastal Health
    The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)[5] provides cutting edge and confidential Counselling, Critical Incident and Wellness Services to healthcare employees and their immediate families. At this time, some calls to EFAP may not be getting through due to overwhelmed phone circuits. Please use the online request form.[6]
     
    Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)
    Your Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP),[7] Homewood Health, is there to provide support as we navigate the personal and collective impacts of this pandemic. Mental and emotional support is critical at this point in time, especially with increasing numbers of our community members in self-isolation. Homewood's services can be accessed by calling 1-800-663-1142 or online at https://homeweb.ca/
     
    Psychological safety advisors who are part of the Occupational Health & Safety Team are available to provide check-ins with staff who are self-isolating. While they are not counsellors or psychologists, they can provide information and referral services as well as support connecting with resources that may be of benefit while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and self-isolation. Check-ins will be provided at the request of the employee – email: pathogen@viha.ca
     
    Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA)
    Any PHSA employee (full-time, part-time or casual) or dependent family member can access the Employee & Family Assistance Program[8] (EFAP) services and resources from Homewood Health free of charge, with all services completely private and confidential. Homewood's services can be accessed by calling 1-800-663-1142 or online at https://homeweb.ca/
     
    Take care of yourselves and thank you so much for your dedication in taking care of British Columbians. It’s because of you that we will get through this together.
     
    If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please send your inquiries to health@bcgeu.ca. If you want to review current information from the BCGEU on COVID-19 please go to our information hub at www.bcgeu.ca/covid.
     
    In solidarity,
    Mahen Ramdharry
    Component 4 Vice-President



    UWU/MoveUP

    March 30, 2020

    Component 8 - Health Supports Available Through Employer Benefits - BCGEU

    COVID-19 update: Health supports available through employer benefits – Mar 30
     
    As we continue to work together as a province to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that whether you are working on the front lines or are in self-isolation at home, you may be experiencing mental and emotional strain. Your union is working hard to support you when it comes to your rights as a union member, but we also encourage you to take advantage of the employee assistance program (EAP) or Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) that should be available to you through your employment benefits as well.
     
    These programs generally offer off-site, confidential and voluntary counselling, consultation and online wellness services at no cost to you. Below is a list of these resources and other information by health authority:
     
    Fraser Health
    The Fraser Health[1] employee assistance program (EAP) provides professional, confidential support services and programs for Fraser Health employees.
    Your EAP toll-free number is 1-844-880-9142 available 24/7, 7 days a week.
     
    Interior Health
    Access your Guide to Employee Health & Wellness Services here[2] or visit https://interiorhealth.lifespeak.com/welcome (password: wellness). You can also contact the Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Crisis Support Line[3] at 1-844-751-2133.
     
    Northern Health
    Through your employment benefits you have access to an Employee & Family Assistance Program.[4] This is an off-site, confidential, voluntary, short-term counseling program provided for employees to deal with a range of personal, family and workplace concerns. These services are provided to employees at no cost.
     
    Vancouver Coastal Health
    The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)[5] provides cutting edge and confidential Counselling, Critical Incident and Wellness Services to healthcare employees and their immediate families. At this time, some calls to EFAP may not be getting through due to overwhelmed phone circuits. Please use the online request form.[6]
     
    Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)
    Your Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP),[7] Homewood Health, is there to provide support as we navigate the personal and collective impacts of this pandemic. Mental and emotional support is critical at this point in time, especially with increasing numbers of our community members in self-isolation. Homewood's services can be accessed by calling 1-800-663-1142 or online at https://homeweb.ca/
     
    Psychological safety advisors who are part of the Occupational Health & Safety Team are available to provide check-ins with staff who are self-isolating. While they are not counsellors or psychologists, they can provide information and referral services as well as support connecting with resources that may be of benefit while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and self-isolation. Check-ins will be provided at the request of the employee – email: pathogen@viha.ca
     
    Lookout Housing and Health Society
    Please visit LifeWorks[8] to access your employee assistance and wellness programs or call 1-877-207-8833.
     
    RainCity Housing and Support Society
    Please visit LifeWorks[9] to access your employee assistance and wellness programs or call 1-877-207-8833.
     
    Take care of yourselves and thank you so much for your dedication in taking care of British Columbians. It’s because of you that we will get through this together.
     
    If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please send your inquiries to health@bcgeu.ca. If you want to review current information from the BCGEU on COVID-19 please go to our information hub at www.bcgeu.ca/covid.
     
    In solidarity,
    Scott DeLong
    Component 8 Vice-President


    UWU/MoveUP