Deadline to access Bill 29 re-training fund extended

Details of application process not yet finalized; watch website for updates

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Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) members who were laid off as a result of Bill 29 will be able to access re-training funds for health care jobs in “areas of need” until the end of this year.

As part of the $75-million compensation package in the Bill 29 settlement agreement, the FBA and Health Employers Association of B.C. (HEABC) negotiated a $7 million fund to re-train displaced employees for jobs within the health care sector where there’s a shortage of skilled workers.

Two million dollars was earmarked for the 7,000 members and former members impacted by Bill 29. And an additional $5 million has been set aside to cover re-training costs – over the course of the current collective agreement – for any members who may be laid off under the 700 FTE contracting-out cap.

This is separate from the $5 million FBA Education Fund negotiated in 2006 bargaining to support training opportunities and skills upgrading for regular full-time and part-time employees.

The joint Bill 29 re-training fund committee has met twice to review the terms of reference and explore options for administering the monies. Details on an application process have yet to be finalized.

“The committee won’t likely have all the remaining details finalized and be ready to accept applications until late spring,” says HEU representative Denis Nogue. “The health authorities have not yet provided the committee with their approved list of occupations that are in areas of need.”

Therefore, the June 1 deadline as per the settlement agreement Appendix D 4(b) has been extended to December 31, 2009.

The committee includes: Elaine Doyle (HEABC), Barb Severyn (VIHA) and Pat Semeniuk (VCHA) appointed by HEABC, and Barbara Offen (BCGEU), Carolyn Unsworth and Denis Nogue (both from HEU) appointed by the FBA.