The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) is a labour union representing close to 23,000 paramedical technical, professional, and general support employees in the public and private health-care sectors of Alberta, Canada. HSAA maintains a head office in Edmonton and regional offices in Calgary.
HSAA was organized in 1971-72 by eleven paramedical technical associations/societies when it became evident that some form of unionization was imminent. The paramedicals were reluctant to become a minority group within one of the large, existing labour unions because they felt that with their particular training, certification and professional ethics they did not have a community of interest with other health-care workers. Therefore, they doubted that they could be well and truly represented by the unions which were then acting on behalf of other groups. For this reason, the paramedicals desired to establish an independent union which would be subject to their control and direction.
To George C. Hall, who was instrumental in the formation of HSAA and its first executive director, goes much of the credit for the solid foundation of what is now an effective well-respected participant in Alberta's labour scene.
In 1972, a group of paramedical technical employees at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton became the first bargaining unit represented by HSAA. The Canadian Red Cross was the first non-hospital bargaining unit, certified in 1974. The first private, for-profit employer unit was organized at Calgary Medical Laboratories in 1975 and, in 1995, HSAA certified its first community health support unit at the Barons-Eureka-Warner Health Units.
In 2003, HSAA members voted strongly in favour of joining the House of Labour. In doing so, HSAA became an affiliate of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). This move brought HSAA to the table to speak on behalf of working people when decisions are made at a provincial and national level. HSAA has two seats on the Executive Committee of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) and one seat on the Executive Board of NUPGE. On a local level, HSAA has affiliation with district labour councils and committees. Through NUPGE, HSAA is represented on the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) where the profile of allied health disciplines is raised on a national level.
Today, HSAA represents close to 23,000 paramedical technical, paramedical professional, and general support employees in more than 240 disciplines. HSAA is one of the fastest growing unions in Alberta.