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HSP Members - Health funding announcement by provincial government - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

Today the provincial government announced new initiatives aimed at tackling retention and recruitment issues in the health care sector and expanding health care services to rural or remote communities. 

  • Incentives for workers living and working in rural and remote communities will increase. 
  • The Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) will receive another $20 million to fund professional development and mental health and wellness support for its members. 
  • Additional tuition credits, bursaries and other opportunities will be made available. 

Our membership has called on government to take action on these issues for years. While more changes are needed to create the health care system we want to see, this announcement reminds us that our continued advocacy is making a difference. 

Four specific initiatives announced by the provincial government include: 

  1. The Provincial Rural Recruitment Initiative (PRRI), which was piloted in a small number of communities in Northern Health Authority, has expanded to cover 56 rural communities across BC. The program will provide recruitment incentives of up to $8000 per year for all health science professionals – new and current – for work done in these communities between April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025. For a full list of the communities covered by PRRI, click here. By providing this incentive, the program aims to encourage new and current health science professionals to move to rural communities.
  1. The GoHealth BC Recruitment and Retention Initiative, which in pilot form currently applies only to laboratory technologists in Northern Health, will be expanded to cover additional health science professions in Northern Health and additional health authorities. This will be done in a phased process. By offering up to $10,000 in a signing bonus with a 12-month travel work commitment, the program aims to draw professionals from out of province and/or country, out of private agency work, and bring retired professionals back into the system.
  1. The Rural and Remote Recruitment Initiative (RRRI) will provide a recruitment incentive payment of up to $30,000 to new health science professionals starting careers in professions facing severe shortage. Due to higher vacancy rates and more complex challenges, eligible vacancies identified in rural and remote communities in Northern Health will be eligible for $30,000 incentive payments (prorated based on FTE of the eligible vacancy). HSPs who are recruited into eligible vacancies identified outside of Northern Health will be eligible for up to $20,000 incentive payments (prorated based on FTE of the eligible vacancy). The health science professional must remain employed in the regular, priority occupation position in that community for a period of 24 months, failing which the employer will recover the incentive payment made, on a pro-rata basis. Note that members already working in these areas, or currently working in remote communities and moving to another remote community are not eligible. 
  1. The urban and metro Recruitment Incentive for Difficult to Fill Vacancies, which will provide new health science professionals with a recruitment incentive of up to $15,000 with a 24-month work commitment. The program aims to draw professionals from out of province and/or country, out of private agency work, offers an opportunity to recruit existing casuals into regular positions, and bring retired professionals back into the system. 

In the coming weeks, our union will be seeking further details about these initiatives, how they will be implemented and how workers can access them. Click here to read the full press release from the Ministry of Health. 

In solidarity, 

Mahen Ramdharry
Vice-President Health Services (Component 4)