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Updated Order to Work at Only One Continuing Care Worksite

Improved order provides greater protection for workers and recognizes role of unions to protect their members.

Apr 25, 2020

What does this mean for you?

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On Friday, April 24 a Ministerial Order was issued by Labour Minister Jason Copping which updates and improves rules restricting health care workers to work at only a single continuing-care facility. They define a continuing-care site as: an auxiliary hospital, nursing home or designated supportive living accommodation.

AUPE, UNA, HSAA and CUPE were part of an Advisory Committee that also included private and for-profit employers. The Committee was facilitated by Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) Vice Chair Lyle Kanee.

The improvements to the order came through this Committee. However a major request from the unions to deal with unequal pay and top up workers to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) rates was not adopted in the Ministerial Order.

So what does it mean?

This Ministerial Order implements the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) requirement for all workers to work at only one continuing-care facility and outlines processes to decide which facility that will be.

The other continuing-care employer(s) will be required to grant an unpaid leave of absence, issue a Record of Employment, maintain any benefits and pension, and then allow a return to work in the same position(s)”within a reasonable period of time” after the order is no longer in effect.

Workers will be given the opportunity to work additional hours to make up for hours lost at their other continuing-care job(s) as a result of these changes.

This order will make no changes in pay for employees despite thousands of workers having the same qualifications, doing the same work, and taking the same risks but are being paid less than AHS staff. This order does not change the still unclear announcement from April 20 to provide $2 an hour raises to at least some health care aides.

It also doesn’t completely centralize staffing, leaving a lot of control among separate providers instead of having a fully coordinated and controlled provincial response.

You’ll find what we know in response to common questions below. If you are having problems with your employer not following the new Ministerial Order, or if you have questions, please call AUPE at 1-800-232-7284.

How is it decided which site is the single one I work at?

The process is different for different employees:

  • If you have a regular full-time position at one site, and part-time or casual positions at others, you will work where you have the regular full-time position.
  • If you are regular part-time at one site, but casual at others, you will work where you have the regular part-time position.
  • If you have multiple regular part-time positions, you get to choose which site you wish to work at.
  • If you have do not have any regular positions, only casual, you will choose which site you wish to work at.

What happens to my other job(s)?

Your other continuing-care employers are required to provide you with a leave of absence until the order ends – and to allow a reasonable amount of time to return.

What happens to my seniority, benefits, and pension at the other job(s)?

Your other continuing-care employer(s) are required to maintain your group and pension benefits according to the terms of your collective agreement at that site. You will be on an unpaid leave of absence and the terms of your contract will apply.

What happens to the hours I’m losing?

So far as reasonably possible, your single site employer will increase your regularly scheduled hours equal to the hours lost up to a full-time-equivalent (FTE) position.

If you worked more than a 1.0 FTE total, you will be the first to be offered additional hours over other employees, volunteers and contractors along with other staff in the same situation.

If there are many people in one facility who have given up other jobs, how is it decided who gets the additional hours beyond their 1.0 FTE first?

The ministerial order is silent on this and you will need to refer to your collective agreement. If these issues can not be resolved please call AUPE to speak to your Membership Services Officer (MSO).

Does this apply if I work in a hospital with long term care but I work only in an acute care unit?

We have been asking for clarity on this question but no answer has been given yet.

Does this apply if I work in a hospital that does not have long-term care and is not deemed an auxiliary hospital?

The order is specific to auxiliary hospitals, nursing homes, and designated supportive living accommodation only.

Does AUPE have advice for which employer I should choose/prefer?

That is entirely up to you as an employee.

Does this apply for non continuing care work like grocery?

This order does not speak to staff who have other jobs in retail or other non-continuing-care work.

Can I change my mind about which site to work at?

The order does not provide a process to allow for this to happen.

Does this change anything if AUPE already had a one site agreement with my employer?

Some employers did not allow leaves of absence for workers who were put in a position to choose only one site to work for. It is unclear how this order may resolve these issues. If this has happened to you please call AUPE at 1-800-232-7284 to be connected to your Membership Services Officer.

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