News and Information
PHSA Correctional Health Services Questions and AnswersBy BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services. Jul 14, 2017
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 specialized mental health and substance use 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.
This transition of health care services 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.
PHSA has been in negotiations with the three different unions who currently represent employees that perform similar work at PHSA. We have reached agreements with the Hospital Employee’s Union, the Health Sciences Association and the BC Nurses Union to amend certain provisions of the existing collective agreements to give one-time priority to Chiron employees who apply for PHSA Correctional Health Services positions. We also reached agreement with all the unions on how certain benefits and entitlements will be recognized for Chiron employees who are successful in securing a position.
Why are we making this change?
This change will improve the continuity of care for inmates as they move between correctional centres and the community, and is consistent with best practice recommendations by the World Health Organization, BC Coroner’s Service and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. These experts all recommend that health care services in correctional centres should be integrated within the broader public health care system.
BCMHSUS provides a range of health services for people with complex health issues and has a broad network of well-established external partnerships with regional health authorities, community providers, advocacy organizations and other health care agencies across BC. BCMHSUS 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. PHSA will assume responsibility on October 1, 2017. BCMHSUS has developed a model of care for correctional centres and has begun to recruit the staff and physicians necessary to deliver this care.
What will this mean for existing staff working for Chiron Health Services?
PHSA’s goal is to minimize service disruption, 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 unique and complex 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 has engaged each bargaining association on a variety of topics, including priority hiring and access to new positions, service recognition, benefits, etc.
For more information for staff currently providing health services within correctional centres, see the Questions and Answers for Chiron staff.
Questions and Answers for Chiron staff
1. Will this change be positive for Chiron staff?
We recognize that there have been a number of different private contractors involved in providing health care services at BC correctional centres, resulting in frequent changes for staff.This is a permanent change that will help provide long-term stability for staff who are hired by PHSA, as it will end the turnover of multiple different contractors who have been involved in providing these services in the past.
2. Why do I have to re-apply for my position?
Chiron is a private company on contract with BC Corrections. PHSA is a public sector organization and has existing collective agreements with bargaining associations representing our workers. For that reason, we must follow the appropriate process when creating new positions such as those in PHSA Correctional Health Services. 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. We have reached agreement with all of the relevant health sector bargaining associations. Existing Chiron staff will have first notice and first consideration to positions within PHSA Correctional Health Services. PHSA will apply the first notice and first consideration only to the positions that were posted in June 2017. If a Chiron employee applies to one of the job postings and is hired by PHSA, the terms of the relevant agreement will apply to their employment. If a Chiron employee who chooses not to apply to one of the positions leaves Chiron and later decides to apply for a position at PHSA Correctional Health Services, the agreement would not apply, and they would no longer have first consideration
4. Which union will represent me when I work at PHSA Correctional Health Services?
PHSA has existing union certifications with the BC Nurses Union, the Hospital Employee’s Union and the Health Sciences Association. Each union represents employees in different positions within PHSA. The union that will represent you depends on the type of work you perform within Correctional Health Services.
5. Will I continue to be covered under the BCNU agreement with Chiron?
Employees who secure a position with PHSA Correctional Health Services will no longer be covered under the Chiron Collective Agreement with BCNU once they commence employment or effective October 1, 2017, whichever comes first. At PHSA, we have three different bargaining associations that have three different collective agreements.
Once employed by PHSA, staff who previously worked at Chiron will be covered by all the terms and conditions of an existing collective agreement at PHSA. The three collective agreements that are relevant for PHSA Correctional Health Services are:
- Nurses Bargaining Agreement with the BC Nurses Union which covers Nursing and Licensed Practical Nursing positions
- Paramedical Agreement with the Health Sciences Association which covers health science professionals including counsellors, screeners, social workers, and mental health coordinators.
- Facilities Agreement with the Hospital Employee’s Union which covers clerical positions.
6. Will PHSA recognize my years of service and my experience in my position?
PHSA will recognize years of service for all existing Chiron staff members who join PHSA in accordance with the relevant collective agreements. PHSA will also recognize your experience when setting placement on the appropriate collective agreement salary scale.
7. 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.
8. What about my other benefits, like vacation, sick leave, etc.?
These are all topics that PHSA has discussed with each health sector bargaining association.
Vacation Entitlement will begin to accrue with PHSA starting on October 1, 2017 but it will be based on your recognized years of service. For example, this means that an employee with 10 years of service recognized by Chiron and hired by PHSA Correctional Health Services will have their vacation entitlement based on 10 years of service in the Collective Agreement.
Unused Earned Vacation benefits will not transfer, but will be paid out by Chiron. PHSA will make all reasonable efforts to approve any time off requests between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017 that were previously approved by Chiron. Employees will begin to accrue their vacation pursuant to the collective agreement once they commence employment or effective October 1, 2017. Vacation entitlement will be based on the employee’s transferred years’ of service.
Unused Sick leave credits earned up to September 30, 2017 will be transferred from Chiron and recognized by PHSA Correctional Health Services. No other leave banks or credits (except for sick leave credits) will be recognized by PHSA. Chiron employees who are hired by PHSA Correctional Health Services will be placed in the health and welfare benefits plan covered by the respective collective agreements and will not have to re-serve a qualifying period.
9. What about my seniority?
PHSA will recognize Chiron seniority for the purposes of employment while working at PHSA Correctional Health Services only. Employees will also be given a second seniority date when they begin at PHSA and this will be recognized for the purposes of employment if the employee wants to transfer to another area with PHSA. The Chiron seniority will be permanently eliminated at the time that an employee transfers into another position or casual opportunity with the employer outside of PHSA Correctional Health Services or transfers to another employer.
10. Will I have to serve a probation period?
Yes, all employees of Chiron will have to serve a probation period in accordance with the provisions of the respective collective agreement.
11. 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.
Questions and Answers for PHSA/BCMHSUS staff
1. I work full time for PHSA/BCMHSUS and as a casual for Chiron in BC correctional centres. Can I work full time with PHSA and hold a casual position at the same time?
No. A full-time employee at PHSA cannot also hold a casual position with PHSA.
2. I work full time for PHSA/BCMHSUS and as a casual for Chiron. Will I have preferential access to the new positions in a BC correctional centre?
Yes. If you are a current Chiron employee, whether full time, part time or casual, you have priority access to the positions posted in June for Correctional Health Services.
3. I work for PHSA/BCMHSUS and would like to move into one of the new positions in a BC correctional centre. Will I be able to transfer my seniority and benefits?
This would be considered a transfer within the same employer. The portability of benefits and seniority are covered in the respective collective agreement.
4. Why won’t PHSA/BCMHSUS staff have preferred access to the PHSA Correctional Health Services positions?
PHSA negotiated an agreement with the collective bargaining units that gives Chiron staff preferred access to the positions posted in June 2017. If there are positions that are not filled by qualified applicants from Chiron, PHSA/BCMHSUS employees have the next opportunity to apply. Only if there are no qualified Chiron/PHSA/BCMHSUS employees, will we consider external candidates.
5. Where can I get more information?
Information regarding changes underway is posted on the BCMSUS website at:
For general information, visit www.bcmhsus.ca.
For career-related information, visit www.phsa.ca/careers.
Questions about this project, please direct them to email@example.com.