AHS enacts emergency provisions in response to COVID surge in Edmonton Zone

United Nurses of Alberta has been notified by Alberta Health Services that emergency provisions of the Provincial Collective Agreement have been enacted in the Edmonton Zone.

The provisions are being enacted in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations in the Edmonton Zone and are aimed at addressing staffing challenges and the need for increased capacity in acute care units.

Effective immediately, repatriation of employees who were previously redeployed to COVID response areas will be paused and additional employees may be redeployed to further enable a response to the current surge situation.   

This applies to the entire Edmonton Zone, including the sites in the surrounding communities such as Leduc.

Article 44.05 (e) of the UNA Provincial Collective Agreement states that:

An emergency is an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action.

A situation is not an emergency if it results from a reasonably foreseeable combination of circumstances or if reasonable remedial steps could have been or can still be taken to deal with the circumstances.

Employees from any site may be assigned to work at any site to provide assistance in emergency circumstances.

Before invoking this provision, the Employer will assess its ability to meet the emergency by compelling Employees at that site to work overtime. The ability or necessity to compel overtime neither proves nor disproves emergency circumstances. The parties recognize that the decision should be made in the best interests of patient care, that the relative costs are not a factor in themselves and that there are times when requiring mandatory overtime may itself create stresses on Employees and safety concerns that outweigh the stresses and concerns caused by relocation.

The Employer will notify the Union forthwith at any time this provision is invoked and disclose the circumstances that resulted in the emergency.

The Employer shall reimburse Employees for all reasonable, necessary and substantiated additional accommodation and transportation costs for traveling between sites including parking if not otherwise provided.

UNA members with any questions or concerns should contact their Local Executive or Labour Relations Officer at 1-800-252-9394 or refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document.