Edmonton nurses approve 4.25% wage increase

These workers had been without a new contract for over 3 years.

Late last month, the United Nurses of Alberta announced that their members with Local 118 had ratified a new collective agreement with their employer, CapitalCare.

The 200 workers affected by this new agreement had been waiting for over 3 years for a new contract since their previous one expired in March of 2020.

Based out Edmonton, CapitalCare is one of the largest public continuing care organizations in Canada. They operate 10 care homes in the Edmonton area, as well as various day programmes, palliative care, rehabilitative care, and restorative care services.

Support independent journalism

The new 4-year contract will see annual raises totalling 4.25%, broken down as follows:

1 Apr 20200.00%
1 Oct 20211.00%
1 Sep 20221.25%
1 April 20232.00%

That works out to about 1.06% per year.

To make up for the wage freeze in 2020, Local 188 workers will get a one-time 2% lump sum payment. That means that the 1% wage increase in 2021 will be based on 2019 wages, not 2020 wages.

Keep in mind that between inflation for 2022 was 6% in Alberta. That means that this proposed increase won’t be enough to cover the increase in inflation for last year, let alone the increase in inflation for all 4 years.

Workers covered by this contract include registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, certified graduate nurses, graduate nurses wit temporary permits, and graduate psychiatric nurses working for CapitalCare.

In addition to the wage increases, the new contract brings several changes to the benefits package for these workers.

  • Occupational therapists and physiotherapists have been added to the list of paramedical practitioners.Workers will qualify for a benefit of $50/visit, up to 20 visits per year.
  • Workers will no longer require a written physician’s order to access massage therapy or orthotics, including compression stockings.
  • Improved coverage for chartered psychologists, practitioners with Master of Social Work degree, and addictions counsellors. The benefit includes a combined maximum of $3000 per participant each benefit year, replacing the previous the 20 visit per year maximum.
  • 100% coverage for diabetic equipment and supplies, including continuous blood testing devices (such as Libre).

Other highlights of the contract include new language to better define hours of work for evening and night shifts, an improved outline process for posting new rotations and line selection, and improved language allowing mutual agreement to amend shift schedules with less than 14 days notice without penalty.

As well, CapitalCare agreed to work with the UNA to develop strategies and initiatives to address the mental health of the workforce.

Support independent journalism

By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

Comment on this story

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.