July 18, 2024

Worker incentive funding in Community Health – BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU)

Worker incentive funding in Community Health – BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU)

Published on June 17, 2024

The Ministry of Health is expanding funding initiatives aimed at tackling retention and recruitment issues, and delivering health care services to rural or remote communities, to now include workers in community health under the Community Bargaining Association agreement (CBA). This means eligible workers are entitled to receive incentive payments for the fiscal year April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025, including retroactive payment. 
Three specific initiatives include: 

  1. The Provincial Rural Retention Incentive (PRRI) will provide recruitment incentives of up to $8,000 for the year for all community health workers – regular full-time and regular part-time – for work done in eligible communities between April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025. By providing this incentive, the program aims to encourage new and current workers in community health to move to rural communities. For a full list of eligible communities, see Appendix B:

  2. The Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive will be available to workers in community health starting careers in rural and remote communities deemed eligible by the Ministry of Health (see Appendix C) and in a priority occupation (see Appendix A). Due to higher vacancy rates and more complex challenges within the Northern Health authority, workers who fill eligible vacancies identified in rural and remote communities will be eligible for $30,000 incentive payments (prorated based on FTE of the eligible vacancy). Workers who are recruited into eligible vacancies identified outside of the Northern Health authority will be eligible for up to $20,000 incentive payments (prorated based on FTE of the eligible vacancy). The worker must remain employed in the regular, priority occupation position in that community for a period of 24 months, failing which the employee will pay back 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. 
  3. The urban and metro Recruitment Incentive for Difficult to Fill Vacancies will provide workers newly hired into priority occupations listed in Appendix A 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. 

This is a government initiative that was applied across the health sector and although the CBA was consulted about the ‘Appendix A Priority Occupations,’ the terms are standard across all sectoral agreements.

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.

If you have questions about whether this applies to you or your co-workers, please contact your employer’s human resources department for more details.

In solidarity,

Scott De Long 
BCGEU vice-president, Community Health Services (Component 8) 



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