B.C. nurses frustrated after registration fees set to increase

Nurses across the province are voicing frustrations after the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) announced registration fees are set to go up again this year.

In an online petition, one health care worker says nurses and midwives will see a 15 per cent increase to their registration fees, something that the president of the BC Nurses’ Union says may be the last straw.

“At a time when the cost of living is so high, to put yet another burden on our nurses who are working to such extreme levels, that you would also add insult to injury,” Aman Grewal said.

The petition has already garnered close to 7,000 signatures, and marks the fee increase will be about an extra $80.

“In 2022-2023 BC Nurses registration fees cost $521.95. This was a 3 per cent increase from the 2021-2022 registration fees. BCCNM now demands a 15 per cent increase in registration fees totaling $600.24,” the petition stated.

Grewal says the actual number will jump up closer to $700, when insurance costs are added onto it.

“Our nurses are feeling very disrespected and frustrated that the fees continue every year to go up,” Grewal said.

“In recent years, they have gone up by almost 50 per cent, and we want to know why they are going up so much when…our wages and everything else are not going up, but the cost of living and everything is going up. So our nurses are frustrated and this is just another blow.”

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But the BCCNM says it didn’t make the decision lightly. In a statement to CityNews, the organization says it has been dealing with challenges like high inflation and pandemic costs.

“We are very aware of the challenges facing nurses and midwives, and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication during these unprecedented times. Our senior leadership and board spent a great deal of time discussing this increase and did not make the decision to raise fees lightly,” it said.

“BCCNM sets fees based on the cost of the activities to effectively regulate each profession in B.C. As noted above, several factors have contributed to the increase in the cost to fulfill our regulatory mandate.”

The college adds it is also grappling with increased costs and says the fees need to go up to cover those costs.

Grewal says the union has been successful in negotiating a deal in the past where the government chipped in some money to cover the costs.

But she says B.C. nurses have been working without a contract for months now, and the group is currently negotiating with the province.

“Our nurses are going to work and they’re working short [staffed]. What are these fees going to give to our members,” she said.

Grewal says she’s asked for a meeting with the BCCNM but hasn’t heard back yet.

“This is something that it’s the college that needs to explain why these fees have gone up so much,” Grewal said.

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