What is happening
Effective October 1, 2017, health care services at provincial correctional centres operated by BC Corrections will be provided by BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS), an agency of PHSA that provides forensic mental health services across BC.
Health care services at these sites are currently delivered by Chiron Health Services, a private company that has been under contract with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (MoPSSG) since 2015. Chiron’s health care employees are represented by the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) and are covered by a collective agreement that expired April 1, 2017. Chiron and the BCNU are currently in collective bargaining.
This transition of health care services from a private, contracted provider to BCMHSUS will result in improved continuity of care for inmates, and stable, public sector jobs integrated within the broader health care system for employees.
Why are we making this change
This change will improve the continuity of care for inmates as they move between correction centres and the community, and is consistent with best practice recommendations by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the World Health Organization and the BC Coroner’s Service. These experts all recommend that health care services in corrections facilities should be integrated within the broader public health care system.
BCMHSUS has a broad network of well-established external partnerships with regional health authorities, advocacy organizations and other health care agencies across BC, and is well-positioned to provide this care.
What are the next steps
The current MoPSSG contract with Chiron for health care service delivery expires September 30, 2017.
BCMHSUS has developed a care model for correctional centres that will improve the continuity of care and integrate health care services within the broader BC public health care system. Over the next few months, PHSA will be recruiting staff and physicians necessary to deliver this care.
What will this mean for existing staff
PHSA’s goal is to minimize disruption to individuals who are currently working within the corrections health care setting and wish to continue to do so, while ensuring appropriate staffing and also complying with existing health sector collective bargaining rights and agreements and processes established under the BC Labour Relations Code.
PHSA recognizes that the staff members currently providing the service are dedicated individuals with significant experience in this difficult, complicated area of health care. All Chiron staff members are encouraged to apply for the new positions that PHSA is creating in this field. It is expected that additional positions will be created in many parts of the province and recruitment of additional staff will be required.
While these positions will be new to the public health sector, PHSA is committed to working with the relevant health sector bargaining associations to ensure that the transition will be as smooth and stress-free as possible. PHSA will be engaging each bargaining association on a variety of topics, including priority hiring and access to new positions, service recognition, benefits, etc.
The end result of this transition of corrections health care services from the current model of private, contracted services to integration within the public health sector will be improved continuity of care for inmates, and stable, public sector jobs integrated within the broader health care system for employees.
For more information for staff currently providing health services within corrections facilities, see the Questions and Answers.
Questions and Answers for staff:
1. Why will this change be positive for staff?
We recognize that there have been a number of different private contractors involved in providing health care services at correctional centres, resulting in frequent changes for staff. This is a permanent change that will help provide long-term stability, as it will end the turnover of multiple different contractors who have been involved in providing these services.
2. Why do I have to re-apply for my position?
Chiron is a private company. PHSA has existing collective agreements with bargaining associations representing public health sector workers, and must follow the appropriate process when creating new positions in a service.
One of our goals is to improve the structure and operating model for how health care services are provided at correctional centres. While some positions will be similar under the new model, others will change.
3. Will I have to compete with PHSA employees for these positions?
PHSA is committed to working with the relevant health sector bargaining associations to ensure that the transition will be as smooth and stress-free as possible. Priority hiring and access to new positions for existing staff is one of the topics that we will be discussing with each health sector bargaining association.
4. Will PHSA recognize my years of service?
PHSA will recognize years of service for all existing staff members who join PHSA when setting placement on the appropriate collective agreement salary scale. This is one of a number of service recognition issues that we will be discussing with the relevant bargaining associations.
5. What about my pension?
Chiron and PHSA employees are both members of the Municipal Pension Plan, so Chiron employees joining PHSA will keep their years of service.
6. What about my other benefits, like vacation, sick leave, etc.?
These are all topics that PHSA will be engaging with each health sector bargaining association to discuss. Again, our goal is to ensure the transition will be as smooth and stress-free as possible.
7. What are the benefits of working at PHSA?
PHSA is nationally recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, and offers a range of leading benefits and services for its staff including:
Extensive continuing education and professional development programs, including 1,200 online courses and support for career advancement and opportunities;
A wide range of employee perks, including significant employee discounts at health clubs and on personal technology products like cell phones and computer software, access to environmental awareness networks and more;
Province-wide career opportunities.
8. What will happen to staff that are currently contracted out (i.e. psychologists)?
Minimal disruption is our goal for all employees, including those who are non-unionized contractors; PHSA will be setting contractor rates for the new service consistent with other BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services rates.