Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


NSGEU urging provincial government to raise the pay for 811 workers

By Evan Taylor Jul 12, 2023 | 12:11 PM

Berkeley Communications / Unsplash

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) emphasized the significance of the service provided by the associates at 811 within the healthcare system. Currently, these employees earn wages ranging from $17.05 to $18.44 per hour.

The 811-telehealth system comprises 18 associates who handle incoming calls from the public, offering medical advice and making decisions on whether callers should be connected to a nurse or transferred to 911. Additionally, they assist individuals seeking to be placed on the family doctor wait-list.

The associates are employed by Emergency Medical Care Inc., a company contracted and funded by the provincial government. NSGEU President Sandra Mullen highlighted the essential role these individuals play in Nova Scotia’s healthcare landscape. Mullen, in an interview, expressed the frustration felt by telehealth employees and stressed the critical nature of their 24/7 service.

The union drew attention to the fact that employees with similar responsibilities at the 311 line in the Halifax Regional Municipality receive a starting wage of $26.90 per hour. Moreover, the current pay rates for 811 employees fall below the living wage of $23.50 per hour in Halifax, where the telehealth service is based.

Mullen emphasized the urgent need to renegotiate the contract with the government. The previous negotiations took place under the previous Liberal government, and the contract is not scheduled to be revisited until after 2024. Mullen suggested that the government has demonstrated a willingness to address wage issues outside the regular bargaining process and should explore such opportunities in this case.

Low wages have resulted in high turnover rates among telehealth employees, Mullen revealed. Prospective applicants often withdraw their interest upon learning about the pay scales.

The Department of Health and Wellness addressed the matter in a statement of their own on Tuesday. It acknowledged that the current agreement is set to expire on October 31, emphasizing the government’s respect for the collective bargaining process and expressing anticipation for the outcome of these discussions.

MLA Allan MacMaster told reporters Thursday that the province is listening to the union’s concerns, emphasizing that the province needs to make sure they are paying wages that are competitive.

“We’ve seen recent bonuses for nurses, we’ve seen the increase for CCA’s, while I wouldn’t say any details, I would say that we are aware of the situation … I am listening and the government is listening,” said MacMaster.”



Leave a Reply