President's Letters

Negotiations 2022 News and Updates

Resident Doctors of BC aims to deliver timely communications on the on-going negotiations of 2022 for a new Collective Agreement. This page is dedicated to the President’s Letters, available to both the membership and interested public.

  • May 26, 2022

    This letter is being sent out on Thursday as the Committee was in bargaining all of Wednesday.

    Dear colleagues,

    Two weeks ago, I wrote to you regarding the beginning of our official negotiations with HEABC. There has been a gradual progression of negotiations since. You may be wondering why this email is coming to you on a Thursday instead of Wednesday. This is because both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were bargaining days, and I wanted to keep you as up to date as possible. As such, I am writing to you today to provide a summary of these negotiations.

    Negotiations Week 3 and 4

    Our Negotiations Committee met with representatives from HEABC both yesterday and Tuesday. As a reminder, several weeks ago we presented our initial proposals surrounding scheduling and call, and HEABC was considering those proposals internally. The meetings over the last two days were mainly focused on responding to detailed questions from HEABC on specific proposals from this initial set. In addition, RDBC presented what are known as “Housekeeping Proposals”. These are proposals that modify smaller areas of the contract such as adding inclusive language, incorporating agreements made in previous forums, clearing up areas of ambiguity, etc. While this may seem small, it is important work that ensures our contract is as clear as possible while also ensuring diverse resident experiences are included and covered by the contract’s protections.

    RDBC and HEABC have agreed to numerous bargaining dates over the next several weeks. We are making slow but gradual progress, and I will keep you updated as the process goes on with another email in two weeks’ time. In the interim, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg
    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC
  • May 12, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    In my last letter, I wrote to you regarding the final agreement of the Call Workload Group. Since that letter, negotiations have begun in earnest. I am writing to you today to provide you with a brief update.

    Negotiations: Week 1 and 2

    On April 28th, our Negotiating Committee made up of residents, RDBC staff and our lead negotiator met with representatives from HEABC. We presented our proposals for two main categories: call payment and scheduling. This was a full day presentation that included dozens of specific proposals based on feedback from you. Unfortunately, due to the confidential nature of negotiations I am unable to provide you with specifics on the proposals but I want to assure you that they are detailed, thoughtful and extensive. HEABC has now requested time to consider our proposals internally before they present their counter proposals and we move forward and present the next section.

    I hope this update is helpful in keeping you up to date on our progress. if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

     

     

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • April 27, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    In my last letter, I wrote to you about the new negotiations timeline and the progress of the Call Workload Group. In the interim, I am pleased to report that there have been no changes to the schedule of negotiations, which are due to begin tomorrow. Additionally, the CWG has continued to meet and engage with UBC, the Ministry of Health and UBC. We have been incredibly pleased with our successes engaging stakeholders at the highest levels of the Health Authorities and the Ministry. This work was finalized yesterday, and so I am writing to you today to update you on the agreement we have reached.

    Call Workload Group: Final Agreement 

    In conjunction with the other participants of the Call Workload Group, RDBC has agreed to a consensus statement of 5 principles. This document represents compromise from all sides. While not all of RDBC’s priorities are represented here, these principles provide a strong foundation for the negotiations to come. The 5 principles are:

    1. Residents are learners as well as care providers. We make up part of a team that is collectively responsible for providing care, and we should not be inappropriately or excessively scheduled while doing so.
    2. Call scheduling has to balance service needs, educational objectives, the health and safety of residents, and the best possible care for patients.
    3. Different programs and services have different scheduling needs, and improvements to the system should be made with this in mind. Advanced notice of schedules and standardization of formats is a priority.
    4. Compliance with the negotiated agreements surrounding resident scheduling are a contractual obligation, and the parties will work together to review existing processes to support this.
    5. Issues relating to call are also related to the fiscal environment and should be further explored at the bargaining table.

    I am hopeful that this new agreement will pave the way for improvements in the call scheduling process, and lead to a strengthening of the rules surrounding call for the benefit of all residents. I want to thank my colleagues on the CWG, Drs. Cale Templeton and Zach Sagorin, as well as RDBC’s Director of External and Labour Relations, Dr. Soma Dalai, for all of their hard work on this agreement. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

     

     

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • April 13, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    On March 30th, I wrote to you to tell you about the delay in the start of negotiations, and told you that I would update you once we have more information. RDBC now has a better picture of the new timeline, and I wanted to use this update to provide you with the most up to date information.

    Call Workload Group

    The CWG continues to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Health, Health Authorities, HEABC and UBC. We are pleased with the progress that we’ve made so far, and are optimistic that an agreement can be reached regarding the principles of a fairer and more consistent approach to call. When these principles have been finalized, I will update you on the key elements, which I believe will be in keeping with the more general themes around call that I have previously shared in these letters. These principles will then form the groundwork of our negotiations around call, functioning as a shared commitment to improvement from both RDBC and HEABC.

    New Negotiations Timeline

    After some discussion, RDBC and HEABC have agreed it is reasonable to begin our negotiations on April 28th, 2022. As previously, there is no set end date. Should circumstances arise that change this date, I will be sure to let you know as quickly as possible. There are many factors that will influence this process, but I want to assure you that every decision RDBC and our Negotiating Team make is to ultimately get the best deal possible for residents.

    Given that we are entering a period of confidential negotiations which may last for some time, I will continue to provide these updates every two weeks. If there is a significant new development, I will of course not hesitate to increase the frequency to ensure you are always informed of our work on your behalf. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

     

     

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • March 30, 2022

    Dear Colleagues,

    Last week I wrote to you about the important work of the Call Workload Group (CWG). As a direct result of that work, this week I have an update on the schedule for negotiations.

    New Negotiations Start Date

    Several weeks ago, I wrote to you telling you that negotiations would start in the last week of March. In the interim, RDBC’s representatives on the CWG have been continuing to meet with HEABC, Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC. This group has not yet completed its work, and no agreement has been finalized. As a result, RDBC and HEABC have agreed to delay the start of negotiations in order to give this group time to finish the important work of agreeing to new principles surrounding the scheduling and payment of call. We know that this work is central to what our membership wants to see from a new Collective Agreement, and that is why we feel it is best to delay the start of negotiations while this work is concluding. Our Negotiations Committee is continuing to meet and strategize in the interim, and they will be prepared to begin their work immediately once new dates have been set. As a reminder, the terms of our current Collective Agreement will be in effect until a new contract is signed and negotiated.

    New Negotiations Timeline

    At present, it is difficult for RDBC to clearly commit to a new start date for negotiations. In addition to awaiting the outcome of the CWG’s work, there are several other factors at play including the ongoing negotiations of other unions in the healthcare space such as the BC Hospital Employees Union (representing porters, clerks, care aids, etc.) and the Health Sciences Association of BC (representing RT, PT, OT, lab technicians, pharmacists, social workers, etc.). The progress and outcomes of these negotiations will likely have an impact on our scheduling and although we are hopeful that we will begin negotiations in late April, it is possible that these dates will be subject to change. Regardless, I will be certain to keep you updated on our progress.

    Changes to our negotiation schedule are an important, and expected, part of ensuring we secure the best deal that we can for residents. Over the next few weeks, our representatives on the Call Workload Group as well as our Negotiations Committee members will be busy meeting with stakeholders and working towards this goal. I will send out another letter in two weeks’ time to update our membership on the status of this work. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • March 23, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    Last week I wrote to you outlining the major themes that RDBC will be bringing into our negotiations with HEABC this month. Today, I wanted to provide context of a specific theme which has been the subject of a great deal of work by RDBC: scheduling and call.

    The Call Workload Group

    Starting in the current Collective Agreement, negotiated in 2019, RDBC and HEABC agreed to the formation of the Call Workload Group (CWG). The purpose of the CWG was to bring together not only RDBC and HEABC, but also representatives from UBC. It is important UBC have a voice in this group because, although UBC does not sign our Collective Agreement, it has an important role in our scheduling via our Program Directors, Chief Residents, Admins, etc. The CWG was introduced in the current Collective Agreement so that the groups could agree to shared principles and policy proposals, which RDBC and HEABC then agree to bring into negotiations. Essentially, the goal of CWG is to make sure the work of improving call is occurring all the time, and to make the actual process of negotiating changes to call more streamlined. There is the possibility of agreeing to changes in advance.

    HEABC is represented at the CWG by their legal counsel as well as representatives from Vancouver Coastal Health. The Ministry of Health also has representation at the CWG. UBC is represented by the PGME Dean Dr. Ravi Sidhu and staff from his office, and RDBC is represented by our staff and the following residents:

    Myself (PGY 2, Emergency Medicine)

    Dr. Cale Templeton (PGY2, Anaesthesiology)

    Dr. Zack Sagorin (PGY 1, General Surgery)

    Current Status:

    At present, the CWG has met and RDBC has presented our ideas for guiding principles and potential changes to call scheduling and payment. Our overarching goal with these proposals is to advocate for a more flexible, fair and sustainable call scheduling and payment system. These proposals were designed based on feedback from our membership, the Council of Program Representatives, program Chief Residents, and comparisons with other jurisdictions in Canada. The representatives from HEABC and UBC are considering these proposals, and we have several more meeting dates over the coming weeks. This work has been occurring in preparation for, and will occur in tandem with, negotiations. Dr. Soma Dalai (PGY2, Internal Medicine) has been involved with coordinating the work of the CWG with the work of our Negotiations Committee in her role as RDBC’s Director of External and Labour Relations. The goal of all of this is to ensure that CWG and the Negotiations Committee are moving in lockstep to advance proposals that make life better for residents.

    The Call Workload Group is an important part of the work we do, and have done, to advocate for a better system of call. It is a way of involving all relevant parties between cycles of negotiations, as UBC has no formal role at the bargaining table, but has a vital role in our daily scheduling. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to offer feedback on your priorities, please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • March 16, 2022

    Dear Colleagues,

    Last week, I wrote to you regarding the timeline of contract negotiations. Since then, RDBC has had a chance to receive and analyze the nearly 300 responses to our final Negotiations Priorities survey. The results of this survey will now be shared with our Negotiations Committee and our Call Workload Group, and will form the basis of our negotiations efforts. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the major priorities we will be working towards wherever possible:

    Expansion of benefits and increased salary:

    In the last round of negotiations, we were able to secure expanded benefits for residents as well as an annual 2% salary increase. This includes CMPA fee coverage, which translates to approximately $2000 in increased funding for residents every year. During the pandemic, we were able to secure pandemic pay which also resulted in thousands of dollars of additional pay for many residents. During this round, we have heard loud and clear that increasing salary as well as adding additional benefits is a priority for our members. In addition to advocating for a salary increase in line with the other healthcare unions, we will advocate to expand residents benefits in areas such as mental health, vision, dental, etc. to ensure that residents have the services they need to take care of themselves outside of work.

    Improvements to call:

    Over the last three years of our current contract, it has become clear that the current call scheduling limitations do not serve the diverse needs of our membership. This round, we will be focused on improvements in the call system that will allow residents and their schedulers more flexibility while ensuring that residents are paid fairly for the work they do. We have already made great strides in this area, and were recently able to secure an increase in the weekend call stipends from $120 to $180. We hope to make further advancements in this area during the upcoming round of negotiations.

    Easing the burden on residents:

    The pandemic has laid bare how much labour is provided by residents in our healthcare system, and how much strain is placed on residents to make up for chronic labour shortages and an ever increasing volume of patients. During negotiations, we will focus on taking the burden of filling service gaps off of residents as much as possible, while ensuring they are able to take advantage of educational opportunities. We will also advocate for language that holds programs and departments accountable for practices that have detrimental impacts on the health and wellbeing of residents.

    While we may not be able to accomplish everything we set out to do during this round of negotiations, I am confident in the ability of our Negotiations Committee to get the best deal possible for residents. And it is my commitment to you, our membership, that we will do everything in our power as a Board and as the Executive of RDBC to facilitate and support this work. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to offer feedback on your priorities, please do not hesitate to contact me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • March 9, 2022

    Dear Colleagues,

    Last week, I wrote to you about the timeline for our upcoming negotiations, as well as to outline the consultations that RDBC has completed in advance. Thank you to all of you who filled out our final survey; we are currently in the process of collating and sharing the results with our Negotiations Committee. This week, I’d like to give you more details surrounding the events that occur during RDBC and HEABC’s negotiations.

    How do we get a new contract?

    Our Negotiations Committee will work tirelessly on your behalf to secure the best deal possible for residents, and your input has been invaluable in this process. Based on what you’ve told us in consultation, the Negotiations Committee puts together a list of specific proposals to bring forward to HEABC.

    The Negotiations Committee will be presenting our initial proposals to HEABC at the end of March and negotiations are scheduled to go into late April (although there is possibility for this to go longer depending on how proposals and counter proposals are received). Once our proposals have been presented, negotiated, and the two sides are in agreement, a tentative agreement will be presented to the Board of Directors and then on to you, our members, for a vote. The contract will pass if more than 50% of the membership votes to accept.

    What happens if we don’t have a new contract before the current one expires?

    Our current contract expires March 31, 2022. However, given that negotiations will not have concluded before that time, our current contract will remain in effect until the new contract is voted on and accepted by the membership.

    What about job action?

    It is possible that the proposed contract is not acceptable to either the Board or to our members. For example, if the proposed contract is sent to the General Membership and it fails to secure the votes needed to pass, then we would be in a “no deal” scenario. This would prompt consideration of labour action by RDBC.

    Because Health Care is an ‘essential service’ under BC Law, labour action (including a strike) includes providing some level of patient care even while the labour action is taking place. The services considered ‘essential’, and the numbers of residents required to provide those services, is negotiated between RDBC, HEABC, and the Health Authorities. More information on this topic will be provided to you if labour action is expected to occur.

    I hope this information helps to answer some questions as we work towards a new contract. As I said, we will do everything we can to deliver a good deal to residents. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or to our staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • March 2, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    Last week, I wrote to you to inform you about the impending negotiations between RDBC and the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC). I announced our negotiations team and went over our communications strategy. This week, I’d like to take you through what the process is going to look like over the next few months, and what RDBC has done to get us here.

    The Negotiations Timeline

    As mentioned in last week’s message from me, negotiations will officially begin at the end of March, likely on or around March 28th, 2022. These meetings will be our first formal sit down with HEABC this cycle. Unlike previous negotiations, this round will be taking place virtually. This process often lasts several months as we submit and review proposals and counterproposals from HEABC, and can sometimes stretch for even longer. Once the Negotiations Committee and HEABC have come to an agreement, the contract is brought to the RDBC Board of Directors for approval before coming to a vote by the General Membership (aka you).

    Consultations

    Since last winter, RDBC has been working hard to consult with you, our members, to determine what our priorities should be. We sent out 5 surveys between February and April of 2021, with the last survey closing date on May 7th, 2021. We received over 1100 responses. These survey results have formed the backbone of our priorities this round, and we continue to refine them as we get more feedback. Behind the scenes, the staff have been conducting comprehensive cross Canada comparisons of the other resident contracts and providing members with information on the bargaining process through articles on the websitepodcasts, committee presentations and meeting with individual programs. We’ve also been working with the Council of Program Representatives for the last several months to discuss specific issues and to solicit their feedback. Based on these conversations as well as the results of the first set of surveys, we crafted one more survey that was sent out last Friday. This survey is intended to be the last time before negotiations start that ask for your formal feedback, and I encourage everyone to fill it out. The survey closes on March 3rd at noon (12 PM PST). Next week, I’ll be sharing the general priorities we’ve identified from these consultations.

    That’s all for this week. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to reach out to me at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or to our staff at negotiations@residentdoctorsbc.ca

    Yours sincerely,

    Devon%20Signature.jpg

    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC

  • February 23, 2022

    Dear Colleagues,

    I’m writing to you today on behalf of Resident Doctors of BC to inform you that we will officially begin negotiations for a new contract at the end of March. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and our team, and to let you know what you can expect from your union over the next weeks and months as we go through this (sometimes complicated, sometimes challenging) process.

    The Negotiations Team

    RDBC negotiates directly with the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC). HEABC represents the health authorities as well as the government in these negotiations, and is in charge of negotiating with all the major healthcare unions in BC including the BC Nurse’s Union and the Doctors of BC. Regardless of which health authority a resident is working for, all residents are considered employees of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). VCH is also the body responsible for residents’ salaries, and payment of call stipends.

    Earlier this year, the Board of RDBC requested applications to join our Negotiating Committee. These are the residents and staff who will meet with HEABC and negotiate our contract. The following people were chosen from a large pool of qualified applicants:

    Dr. Soma Dalai, Director of External and Labour Relations at RDBC (Internal Medicine, PGY2)
    Dr. Daniel Lu, RDBC Board Member (Psychiatry, PGY2)
    Dr. Abigail Steinberg, (Public Health, PGY4)
    Dr. Hanyi Chen, (Orthopedics, PGY2)
    Mr. Harry Gray, Executive Director at RDBC
    Mr. Anthony Glavin, Chief Negotiator, GlavinKoskieGordon

    Communication

    As President of RDBC, I want our communications with you to be as clear, consistent and transparent as possible. Due to the sensitive nature of negotiations, it will be difficult to share which specific proposals the Negotiations Committee is discussing at any given point in time. However, I will do my best to update you on the larger themes and to be responsive to your feedback. To do this, I will be sending out a negotiations update weekly from now until the conclusion of the negotiations process. Furthermore, you can expect an email from RDBC this Friday with our final negotiations survey attached. Please let us know your thoughts so we can advocate for you in the best way possible.

    As we begin this process, I want you all to know that our number one priority in negotiations is to secure the best deal possible for BC’s residents. The Negotiations Committee and the entire Board will fight tirelessly on your behalf. If you have any questions or concerns as we move forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at president@residentdoctorsbc.ca or the negotiations staff at bargaining@residentdoctorsbc.ca.

    Yours sincerely,

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    Dr. Devon Mitchell
    Emergency Medicine, PGY2
    President, Resident Doctors of BC