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AHS invokes emergency provisions allowing vacations to be cancelled, frontline workers to be redeployed

Last Updated Aug 20, 2021 at 7:14 pm MDT

Stock image of hospital beds.

CALGARY — The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) says due to low staffing levels in healthcare centres, Alberta Health Services has invoked emergency provisions.

This would mean that AHS now has the power to redeploy frontline healthcare workers, as well as cancel vacations and mandate overtime.

In a statement released Friday, AHS says:

“The use of redeployment has been part of our pandemic response to ensure we can continue to deliver safe quality care to patients across Alberta.

These terms of the collective agreement have been used at times when really necessary throughout the pandemic.

It’s our responsibility to notify the unions prior to the use of any of the terms.

We are doing all we can to avoid the use of mandatory overtime or cancelling of pre-approved vacation time.

Discussion about the need to utilize these options to ensure staffing needs are met will occur at the local level with operational leaders, staff and union representatives.”


AUPE says this will affect both general support services and nursing care members who are bargaining with the employer.

Vice-president Susan Slade called the move slimy and disrespectful in a release issued late Friday.

“It’s no surprise that they snuck this news into our inboxes late on a Friday,” said Slade. “I don’t think AHS wants the media broadcasting their hypocrisy. You don’t ask your staff to do even more – to sacrifice even more –after telling them they deserve a 4 per cent wage rollback.”

Meanwhile, David Harrigan, the director of labour relations for the United Nurses of Alberta tweeted his dismay.