Nearly 16,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to the provincial government, urging health minister Adrian Dix and premier John Horgan to halt “hefty increases” in licensing fees for nurses of all classifications.
The petition, created two months ago by registered psychiatric nurse Christina Gower, decries the government’s fee hike, which adds to the economic pressures many face with a lack of affordable housing and increased costs in transportation, utilities and other costs of living.
“Hefty increases in licensing fees are undeniably a clawback in earnings,” the petition states. “This government mandated a two per cent wage increase and withdrew our right to negotiate for cost of living increases.”
The B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) announced the licensing fee increases in October 2020. The amount of the increase depends a nurse’s classification, ranging from a three per cent increase for practising registered nurses and psychiatric nurses for $558.36 for 13 months of coverage, to an 11 per cent increase for licensed practical nurses for $514.80 for 13 months.
The petitioners state prohibitive costs such as rising licensing fees deter nurses with non-practicing status and those on maternity leave from returning to work, causing further strain to an already exhausted health care sector.
The petitioners demand the government waive licensing fees and require employers too absorb liability insurance costs in lieu of MSP coverage and to reconsider the monopoly the Canadian Nurses Protective Society holds on liability insurance. It’s this, petitioners say, that caused insurance fees for nurses to triple in just one year.
They further demand an official inquiry to reassess coverage options.