POSITION STATEMENT ON

Whereas from time to time there are suggestions for mandatory mass HIV screening for all health care providers in Alberta, and

Whereas such screening provides at most a snapshot of a particular moment in time and provides no assurance of the individual’s HIV status at any time after the test, and

Whereas health care workers are at far greater risk of contracting the virus from patients, but standard HIV screening of health care consumers is not proposed, and

Whereas the cost of wholesale screening of health care workers would be prohibitive, and

Whereas such screening could lead both health care workers and consumers into a false sense of security, potentially leading to a relaxation of universal blood/body fluids precautions and exposure to not only undiagnosed HIV, but also to far more easily transmitted diseases such as Hepatitis B and C,

Therefore, it is the position of HSAA that mandatory mass screening of health care workers for HIV infection would be an unjustified abrogation of individual civil liberties, not in the best interests of health care consumers, workers or of Alberta taxpayers.

Approved March 22, 1995
Amended March 11, 2002
Approved AGM May 2002
Reviewed March 2012

The HSAA will continue to advocate for and support:

  • Strict adherence to the five principles of the Canada Health Act:
    1. public administration
    2. comprehensiveness
    3. universality
    4. portability
    5. accessibility
  • Inclusion of community care, rehabilitation, home care, and long-term care within the scope of the legal framework defining medicare in Canada
  • Development of a national home care program, a national Pharmacare program, and effective preventive health care programs
  • Assurance of national standards through allocation of adequate federal funding to publicly provided health care
  • Allocation of appropriate funding by the Alberta government to address the health care needs of Albertans without shifting health care provision to private, for-profit enterprises
  • Recognition by governments of demographic factors, including population growth, age, poverty and other social determinants of health in resource allocation

Because the vast majority of Canadians support the five fundamental principles enshrined in the Canada Health Act, and

Because HSAA recognizes that while there are fiscal concerns, these must not supersede the primary goal of health care – the health and well being of Canadians, and

Because methods of health care delivery and health care funding have shifted a substantial portion of care from hospitals and physicians’ services into community and home settings, and long term care settings, with provision by many other allied health professionals, and

Because the cost of pharmaceuticals and other supplies, which are essential in the delivery of health care, are prohibitive for many Canadians, and

Because both federal and provincial government funding allocations have been inadequate to ensure that the health care needs of Canadians are met, and

Because Tommy Douglas’s vision of a “Second Stage of Medicare” remains to be completed, and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved at 2008 AGM
(Replaced Position Statement on Health Care)

Unions, by virtue of their role as social advocates, have a responsibility to influence and encourage the establishment of universal high quality, publicly-funded, non-profit, accessible and inclusive child care.

HSAA believes that children are society’s most valuable resource, and that their nurturing is the responsibility of everyone.

Therefore, it is the position of HSAA that safe, affordable, easily accessible child care be available to all parents, or those acting in a parental capacity,
whether or not they are working outside the home.

Child care providers should be well trained, with formal education in child care. Child care providers should receive terms and conditions of employment befitting the value of the services they provide.

Child care should be available at work sites or at other convenient locations, with hours that reflect the needs of the families they serve.

Governments must commit adequate resources to comprehensive regulations and their enforcement.

Amended May 2016

It is recognized that both the employer and employees have an interest in ensuring satisfactory attendance.

However, attendance management programs may result in inappropriate employer response in cases of illness, with the result that employees may feel harassed.

Therefore, it is the position of HSAA that the focus of attendance management programs must be to help the employee to achieve satisfactory attendance, but not to harass or intimidate employees, not to deny benefits.

Approved December 3, 1998
Reviewed March 2012

Harassment is defined as any unwanted behavior, conduct, comment, question, gesture or physical contact, whether on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents, which is likely to cause offense or humiliation or compromises an individual’s dignity or self worth;

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted behavior, conduct, questions, gesture or physical contact which might reasonably be perceived by an employee as placing a condition of sexual nature on his/her employment, work assignment and working conditions;

HSAA recognizes that harassment in the workplace compromises the integrity of the employment relationship and endangers employee well-being and job performance.

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a working environment which protects employees from harassment.

Therefore, it is the position of HSAA that harassment is considered unacceptable conduct. It is offensive, and in many cases intimidates or humiliates others, and will not be tolerated by HSAA.

HSAA will insist on a timely, thorough investigation to be conducted by the Employer in every harassment complaint, and will vigorously pursue redress for all bargaining unit members who are harassed.

Approved December 3, 1998
Amended October 20, 1999, L.R.C.
Reviewed March 2012

It is recognized that student practicum placements are essential in the education of qualified health care personnel.

However, it is the position of HSAA that students should not work without supervision, or in place of bargaining unit employees

Approved December 3, 1998
Reviewed March 2012

It is recognized that the presence of volunteers in health care facilities can add to the comfort of patients.

However, it is the position of HSAA that volunteers shall not perform the work of, or replace, bargaining unit employees.

HSAA will pursue all possible avenues to enforce this position.

Approved December 3, 1998
Reviewed March 2012

The HSAA opposes a flat tax structure because it is regressive, providing a disproportionate benefit to higher income earners, and penalizes lower income earners.

Approved December 1999
Reviewed and Revised March 2012
Approved at May 2012 AGM

HSAA recognizes the importance of Employee and Family Assistance programs which provide counseling and support for staff members and their families.

It is HSAA’s position that these programs must be administered at arms length and completely independent of the employer. Confidentiality must be maintained and the utilization of these programs by our members must be voluntary. HSAA supports the concept of these programs and the provision of this benefit by the Employer.

Approved at 2001 AGM
Reviewed January 2012

HSAA believes in the concept of union solidarity expressed as the participation of its Local Unit Members in Joint Union Activities.

Such participation, in support of causes that benefit Union members and their families, is encouraged.

Approved April 6, 2000
Reviewed January 2012

Solidarity in a union is based upon the principle that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and deserve respect, cooperation and understanding.

HSAA will advocate for inclusive communities where people experience no discrimination based on race, colour, place of origin, ancestry, political or religious belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, source of income, age, and physical or mental disability. 

HSAA will advocate for terms and conditions of employment that enable people to work to the full extent of their abilities.

HSAA will advocate for the economic rights of all people, including the right to form and join unions; favourable remuneration for all working people; and the right to economic security for everyone in the event of disability, old age, unemployment or other lack of livelihood.

HSAA will advocate for the right of all people to access publicly delivered health care; to access educational opportunities; to participate in the arts and cultural life of their community, and to live and work in a clean and healthy environment.

HSAA’s policies and practices will reflect its commitment to human rights, equality and non-discrimination. HSAA will conduct its activities in keeping with these principles.

February 2013
Approved 2013 AGM
Amended 2015 AGM

It is the position of the HSAA that the raising of children, while first and foremost the choice and responsibility of parents, is also a responsibility of our society at large. In keeping with this broad statement, we also affirm our belief that:

  • Under no circumstances should provincial legislation have the effect of disentitling a parent from federal (EI) or contractual benefits.
  • Parental leaves should be a minimum of one year, and preferably be available of up to eighteen months, particularly for the purpose of breast feeding.
  • To foster the growing participation of fathers in the care of their children, there should be no distinction between male and female employees in relation to parental benefits, except where they can be demonstrably justified.
  • Bonding with an adoptive child may, in some circumstances, be more challenging than with biological offspring. Therefore, we submit there should be no difference in the period of parental leave provided to adoptive or natural parents.

Approved at 2001 AGM
Reviewed January 2012

Whereas poverty is not the result of failure of the individual, but rather the failure of public policy in ensuring the economic and social well-being of Canada’s citizens; and

Whereas poverty is not merely relegated to those unable to work, but also to the growing segment of society known as the “working poor”; and

Whereas the gap between the rich and the poor has widened dramatically over the past two decades, resulting in more people living in poverty than ever before; and

Whereas the existence of poverty in a province and nation as wealthy as Alberta and Canada is an unnecessary tragedy.

Therefore be it resolved that the various levels of government must take responsibility for public policy to eliminate poverty. As well, individuals and organizations must work with government to find a way to eliminate income inequality and poverty. The challenge is to provide the necessary support and social programs for those in need, while at the same time creating an environment of economic growth and individual initiative.

HSAA takes the position that in order to eliminate poverty, all Canadians must have access to the following societal factors:

  • an adequate level of income, or reasonable minimum wage levels that are above the poverty level.
  • access to a full range of human and social services.
  • freedom from all forms of discrimination based on socioeconomic inequality.

Approved at 2002 AGM
Reviewed January 2012

Whereas, HSAA members may be exposed to infectious body fluids at work, and

Whereas, said body fluids in the form of needle stick injuries, and other inadvertent exposure, could lead to infection and illness in the affected worker, and

Whereas, testing of the patient who was the source of the potentially infectious material may be helpful in predicting the potential transmission of certain pathogens, but

However, such screening at most provides a “snapshot” of a particular moment in time, and does not rule out infection in affected workers, and

Furthermore, such screening has the potential of instilling a false sense of security into the affected worker, and could result in the affected worker not taking necessary steps in further transmission of infection, and

Whereas, testing of Source patients does involve some risks minor risks to the patient,

Therefore, be it resolved that HSAA supports Source Testing on a voluntary basis, and

Furthermore, we strongly support and encourage procedural improvements, and educational programs for workers that will yield reductions in frequency of exposure, as well as train the worker on how to deal with exposure when it has occurred.

Board approved June 16, 2003
Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

As a health care union whose members work for health care employers, HSAA should have a special interest in identifying emerging health hazards, and

Whereas air quality in all areas of employment, both on employer property (including all buildings, grounds and parking lots) and all off site locations, may be affected by:

  • second-hand smoke
  • various allergens (including mold, plant and animal allergens)
  • chemicals
  • scented products
  • temperature, and
  • humidity

Whereas exposure to such substances may cause or aggravate health problems for some people (especially those with asthma, allergies and other medical conditions), and

Whereas many health care employers have policies which are either too limited or only apply to on site locations.

Therefore be it resolved that HSAA supports and encourages the development of policies and procedures that:

  1. Minimize or eliminate exposure to any second-hand smoke, allergens, chemicals, molds, and scented products in all areas of employment. (Both on and off site locations)
  2. Recognize that workers who experience such health problems or disability are entitled to receive accommodation in accordance with Human Rights principles and legislation.
  3. Ensure timely and accurate reporting to the Workers’ Compensation Board where appropriate and necessary.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

Whereas a key recommendation of the Romanow Report Building on Values: the Future of Health Care in Canada has been partially fulfilled by the creation in December 2003 of a national health council with twenty-six experts from various perspectives and areas of the country; and

Whereas the Government of Alberta refuses to join the national health council; and

Whereas the HSAA has vigorously supported the Romanow Report recommendations,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA lobby the Government of Alberta to join the national health council.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

Whereas the Government of Canada, effective January 4, 2004, amended the federal Employment Insurance Act to provide compassionate care leave of six weeks paid and two weeks unpaid waiting period, and has also amended the Canada Labour Code to provide the statutory guarantee to employees under federal jurisdiction that, “… every employee is entitled to and shall be granted a leave of absence from employment of up to eight weeks to provide care or support to a family member if a qualified medical practitioner issues a certificate stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks….”; and

Whereas every province of Canada except Alberta and British Columbia has legislation that mirrors or is superior to the federal legislation and guarantees that employees who are covered under provincial jurisdiction cannot only take such leave but also return to their same jobs after taking compassionate care leave; and

Whereas amendment of the Alberta Employment Standards Code to mirror the Canada Labour Code would provide a common minimum standard that all employers in the province could model their own policies on, as well as provide all employees a guide to their rights,

Therefore Be It Resolved that the Board of Directors of the HSAA lobby the Minister of Human Services and Employment to include compassionate care leave and right of return to the same job in the Employment Standards Code; and

Be It Further Resolved that the HSAA will endeavor to negotiate compassionate care leave provisions into all collective agreements and improve on the minimum legislated standards.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

Whereas the Government of Alberta and some Alberta Health Services continue to promote public-private partnerships (P3s); and

Whereas the HSAA has taken a position that while P3s may be made to appear financially attractive in the short-term, they ultimately result in greater public costs and loss of public control than if projects were publicly funded and operated; and

Whereas such initiatives tend to result in lower wages, reduced job security, and the loss of money and other resources from local communities, possibly to foreign-owned corporations; and

Whereas the HSAA believes that all working people deserve a union of their democratic choice

Therefore Be It Resolved that the HSAA continue to support campaigns opposing initiatives that use public dollars to create private profit from the provision of public services; and

Be It Further Resolved that the HSAA will continue to do its utmost to ensure strong union representation of health care workers regardless of where they work, including P3 facilities.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

Whereas the Government of Alberta continues to endorse and promote public-private partnerships (P3s) in health care, education and other public services; and

Whereas P3s may be made to appear financially attractive in the short-term but ultimately result in greater public costs and loss of public control than if projects were publicly funded; and

Whereas a substantial body of evidence demonstrates that P3s lead to a decline in service quality while giving large profits to investors and putting greater fiscal pressure on governments; and

Whereas Commissioner Roy Romanow in Building on Values: the Future of Health Care in Canada demanded evidence that private provisioning of public health care services was better, and found that evidence was not forthcoming from privatization proponents; and

Whereas such initiatives tend to result in lower wages, reduced job security, and the loss of money and other resources from local communities; and

Whereas the long term nature of the contractual commitments will leave a legacy of debt and financial obligations for future generations; and

Whereas these combined effects will negatively affect local communities and their economies;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the HSAA oppose public-private partnerships for public services including hospitals and support campaigns to keep public services and public infrastructure public.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

Whereas the private automobile insurance plans discriminate for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, age, gender and geography, and

Whereas this discrimination is a key source of profit for private companies; and

Whereas the Alberta government has never explained why public automobile insurance would not work,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA advocate for public automobile insurance which does not discriminate on any basis other than at-fault claims history, traffic violations or criminal code driving offenses.

Approved at 2004 AGM
Reviewed and Revised March 2012
Approved May 2012 AGM

WHEREAS of the 185 Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Canada has only ratified 30; and

WHEREAS of the seven core Conventions of the ILO, Canada has only ratified five; and

WHEREAS of the 30 ILO Conventions developed since 1982 – all of which Canada voted for at the ILO’s Annual Conferences – Canada has only ratified two

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the HSAA work with its affiliated bodies to develop and coordinate activities designed to influence the federal and provincial governments to:

  • have labour legislation comply with the ILO’s freedom of association principles;
  • ratify the ILO’s core Conventions: No. 98 – the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention and No. 138 – the Minimum Age Convention; and
  • establish an ongoing consultative process with the labour movement with respect to the ratification of ILO Conventions that Canada has voted for at the ILO’s Annual Conferences.

Approved at 2005 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

WHEREAS since 1982, Canada’s record with respect to the number of ILO complaints against restrictive labour legislation is the worst of any of the ILO’s 177 member States with Canadian unions filing more complaints than the national labour movements of any other country; and

WHEREAS the federal and provincial governments have completely ignored the rulings of the ILO Governing Body; and

WHEREAS this disregard towards these rulings have led the ILO to request the Canadian government to consider allowing an ILO Study Mission to Canada to investigate the large number of complaints and the lack of responsiveness by Canadian governments to the ILO Governing Body’s rulings,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the HSAA and its affiliates continue to lobby the federal and provincial governments to implement all current and outstanding ILO recommendations with respect to the various laws found not to be in conformity with ILO’s freedom of association principles.

Approved at 2005 AGM
Reviewed March 2012

WHEREAS there has been a dramatic increase in the use of legislation by the federal and provincial governments to restrict and/or deny the collective bargaining rights of Canadian workers as evident by the 200 pieces of restrictive labour legislation proclaimed by the federal and provincial governments between 1982 and 2013; and

WHEREAS the federal and most provincial governments are failing in their responsibility under international labour and human rights standards to protect workers’ rights by their continuous legislative attack on workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively and take strike action.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the HSAA continue to condemn the use of legislation to restrict or deny the fundamental rights of workers; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the HSAA work with its affiliates to make progressive labour law reform a central focus of labour’s political agenda and create public awareness around the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Approved at 2005 AGM
Reviewed January 24, 2013
Revised and Approved 2013 AGM

The HSAA will:

→ Strive in its procurement practices for goods and services to use providers that support the values of organized labour and encourage its membership to do the same.

Because HSAA attaches great importance to the values of organized labour and international solidarity, and

Because HSAA members believe in the dignity and value of each person’s work, and

Because HSAA is opposed to sweatshop working conditions, and

Because HSAA’s mission is: “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Revised and Approved at 2013 AGM

ARCHIVED ON MARCH 7, 2014

Whereas the Government of Alberta endorses privatization of public utilities and deregulation of the same, and

Whereas deregulation was purported to reduce costs to consumers through increased competition, and

Whereas costs have increased significantly and no meaningful competition appears to exist,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA supports public provincially or municipally run utilities whose rates are set/regulated to protect the citizens of Alberta.

Approved at AGM 2005

Whereas HSAA attached great importance to the value of full democratic participation in Canadian society, and

Whereas most HSAA members do not presently have a “political leave” clause in their collective agreements, and

Whereas not only HSAA members but all citizens would benefit from a legislated right of return to previous employment without loss of status after having been a candidate for and/or elected to governmental office,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA set as a bargaining demand that a political leave article be introduced which would allow an employee to have leave of absence without pay so that the employee could be a candidate in federal, provincial, municipal or school board elections, and that employees who are elected to public office be allowed leave of absence without pay but with no loss of seniority and be able to pay the full share of the benefit plans under the collective agreement during their term(s) of office,

And Be It Further Resolved that HSAA develop and implement a plan to lobby all parties represented in the Alberta Legislature with a goal of obtaining legislation which will enable all workers to have political leave available as a right of citizenship.

Approved at AGM 2005

Whereas on June 3, 2005, Alberta earned the distinction of being only the second province in Canada to allow 12 year-olds to work in restaurants without a special permit, and

Whereas the effect of this ill-considered regulatory change is that any restaurant owner can hire children without obtaining government approval and that the Employment Standards branch will no longer be able to monitor where the children needing protection are located, and

Whereas the International Labour Organization’s Convention #138 which has been ratified by most of the developing world says that for general occupations, the minimum age of employment should be 15 years of age, and 13 years of age for “light work”, and

Whereas HSAA remains opposed to child labour in Alberta, Canada, and the rest of the world,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA record its opposition to the Alberta government’s deregulation of child labour permit restrictions.

Approved at 2006 AGM

Whereas HSAA is on the record as advocating progressive labour law reform and has continued to promote the creation of public awareness around the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and

Whereas the Alberta Minister of Human Resources and Employment (now Ministry of Human Services), the Honourable Mike Cardinal, acknowledged, in the face of the ugly, and at times violent 2005 labour dispute at the Lakeside packing plant in Brooks, Alberta, that the rules relating to a first collective agreement need review, and

Whereas in the face of bargaining impasses which are experienced far too frequently by newly certified unions, including HSAA, the employer obtains unfair advantage, and

Whereas first contract arbitration if made available under the Labour Relations Code would ensure that workers who choose to form a union could do so without facing the spectre of months or years on a picket line to get a reasonable agreement,

Therefore Be It Resolved that HSAA continue to lobby the Alberta government to make progressive amendments to the Labour Relations Code to achieve “first contract arbitration.”

Revised and approved at 2013 AGM

As a healthcare union, whose members work for healthcare employers, HSAA should have a special interest in emerging health hazards, and

Whereas the Alberta OH&S Code recognizes that excess noise levels, as defined in section 218 a) & b), can cause loss of auditory function, and

Whereas some members may work in environments where noise levels may approach, but not exceed, legislated limits, and

Whereas there may be health problems we are not aware of and which are not reflected in current standards, and

Whereas baseline and on-going audiometric testing may identify loss of auditory function in situations where noise levels do not contravene legislated levels, and may assist in the establishment of a causal relationship between hearing loss and workplace noise exposure.

Therefore be it resolved that HSAA supports and encourages the development of policies and procedures which will:

  1. Identify environments which may be detrimental to the auditory health of members.
  2. Provide audiometric testing, at the expense of the employer, for members exposed to noise levels which may approach but not exceed legislated limits.

Approved at AGM 2006

The HSAA will:

  • Advocate for the introduction of Pharmacare for all Albertans and Canadians, to be brought in on the same basis as set out by the five principles of the Canada Health Act.
  • Support the Canadian Healthcare Coalition, Alberta Friends of Medicare and the National Union in their activities to pressure governments to commit to bringing about a pan-Canadian drug plan that would cover everyone for prescription drugs like medicare covers doctors and hospital care

Because people who do not have drug plan coverage may face unwarranted hardship, if not financial ruin, to obtain prescription medication; and

Because Pharmacare represents an affordable fulfillment of part of Tommy Douglas’s vision of a “Second Stage of Medicare”; and

Because most employer sponsored drug plans cover only part of the cost of prescription drugs and the rest is paid out of pocket or by contractual benefits such as flex spending accounts, and this can be a financial burden; and

Because in most cases, when a covered worker temporarily leaves her job by going on leave exceeding thirty days, or during the ‘non-health related reason’ portion of maternity leave, coverage can only be maintained by paying the full premiums for the applicable plans and this can be a financial burden; and

Because in most cases, when a covered worker leaves her job, is laid off, or retires, she loses her drug plan and so does her family; and

Because drug plans vary from one collective agreement to another, resulting in the inequitable outcome that some of our members have worse coverage than others even though their medical needs are the same; and

Because government Pharmcare plans to date have proposed means testing which would violate the principle of universality.

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Revised and Approved at 2013 AGM

The HSAA will:

Advocate for changes to Alberta labour legislation, including:

  • First-contract arbitration: If bargaining for a first collective agreement gets to an impasse, have first-contract binding arbitration available to help newly organized workplaces get a collective agreement without labour disruption and without workers being frustrated in their right to be represented by a union
  • Full bargaining rights: Full and fair collective bargaining rights and the legal right to strike for public employees, including those in the health care sector
  • One labour law for everyone: Creation of a new unified Alberta Labour Code for all working people in the province
  • Automatic certification: Certification without the requirement of a vote when more than half the employees in a workplace sign a union card.
  • Anti-scab law: Legislation that would make the use of replacement workers during strikes illegal.
  • No worker excluded from a union: Lifting the prohibition on unionization for farm workers, domestic employees, nurse practitioners and all other excluded workers.
  • Cover all workers: Extending the Occupational Health and Safety Act to cover all workers in the province, and ensuring that all workers are covered by Workers’ Compensation.
  • Bring Alberta up to ILO standards on child labour: Repealing Employment Standards regulation which allows 12 year-olds working for wages.

Because in keeping with the National Union’s perspective, we believe that labour rights are human rights and must apply indivisibly unless compelling reason exists for restriction.
Because the Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed that collective bargaining to exist as a right must have real application that cannot be casually frustrated by the legislature.
Because all of the above are in keeping with HSAA’s mission statement: To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.

Approved at 2008 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Promote within the union and to individual members materials including those prepared by the National Union and affiliates on the subject of climate change
  • Support the establishment of “Green Committees” within HSAA workplaces and encourage these Committees to join with other labour, environmental, faith and social justice groups to study and promote measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change in a manner that is fair to workers and their communities
  • Encourage members to undertake consumer actions which will reduce energy consumption and increase recycling and reuse options
  • Continue to examine our own practices and explore opportunities to reduce the union’s ‘environmental footprint’

Because, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.”* referenced below

Because, “Continued GHG [Greenhouse Gas] emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”* referenced below

Because, “Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems.”* referenced below

Because, “A wide variety of policies and instruments are available to governments to create the incentives for mitigation action. Their applicability depends on national circumstances and sectoral context.”* referenced below

Because, “Responding to climate change involves an iterative risk management process that includes both adaptation and mitigation and takes into account climate change damages, co-benefits, sustainability, equity, and attitudes to risk.”* referenced below

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”
Approved at 2008 AGM

Reference: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (November, 2007) Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers, bolded statements {1.1}, {3.2.1}, {3.3.5}, {4.3}, {5.1}.Found at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

The HSAA will:

  • Support the activities of social justice-seeking groups that advocate the adoption of Sustainable, Environmental & Ethical Purchasing Policies by municipal and provincial government and other large organizations, and
  • Assist the social justice seeking groups in advocating that employers in Alberta also adopt Sustainable, Environmental & Ethical Purchasing Policies.
  • HSAA will adopt sustainable, environmental and ethical purchasing policies for its own operations.

Because the goal of Sustainable, Environment & Ethical Purchasing Policies as adopted by cities like Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Vancouver is to ensure that the goods and services purchased by the municipality are produced according to recognized ethical and environmental standards, and

Because the goals of Sustainable, Environmental & Ethical Purchasing Policies are to ensure that garments purchased are made under humane working conditions in compliance with accepted international standards and also to ensure that any food, agricultural products and commodity purchases would be Fair Trade whenever possible, and

Because Employers in Alberta employ most of HSAA’s membership, making Sustainable, Environmental & Ethical Purchasing Policies directly relevant to our working lives, and

Because HSAA’s mission is: To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved at 2008 AGM

The HSAA will advocate for workplaces where our members and other workers are:

  • Safe to go to and from work without the fear of domestic violence following them
  • Safe from intrusion of an abusive domestic member into the workplace
  • Safe from the threat of domestic violence towards co-workers
  • Safe from negative consequences of domestic violence in the workplace

Because domestic violence is a workplace issue, and

Because employers are required to provide a safe workplace for their employees, and

Because it is each union member’s responsibility to help eradicate domestic violence, and

Because governments continue to underfund or cut funding for programs that help prevent domestic violence, and

Because HSAA’s mission is: “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved at 2008 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • In conjunction with our role in the National Union, pressure the federal government for legislation that will protect net neutrality; and
  • Educate our members and the public about the differences between an open internet versus regulating and enforcing content laws and reducing cyber bullying.

Because net neutrality is the principle that every internet service provider will treat all internet traffic equally, and will not in any way interfere with, or interrupt, the transmission of any content regardless of its subject, source, ownership or destination; and

Because citizens of the world need non-discriminatory access to the Internet to ensure they are able to fully participate in the global economy and in the democratic institutions of this country; and

Because the Internet is the most important tool allowing labour unions and civil society organizations and oppressed citizens world-wide to reach out to their participants and the public; and

Because Globalization means that corporations that own internet content are also internet providers, allowing them to throttle the speeds of their competition; and

Because TELUS has already violated net neutrality when it blocked the website Voices for Change, which was created by the members of the Telecommunications Workers Union during the TELUS strike of 2005; and

Because oppressive governments have blocked internet access during periods of political unrest (e.g., the Arab Spring, the Ukrainian Uprising and the Venezuelan student protests); and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Amended 2014 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Advocate for electoral reform in Alberta, including promotion of proportional representation

Because the traditional first past the post system in Alberta has contributed to the lowest voter turnout for a provincial election in Canadian history in the March 3, 2008 election; and

Because the old way of doing things has not incorporated opportunities to expand democratic participation in elections; and

Because with a fair voting system that treats all voters equally, the number of seats won by the parties will accurately reflect voter intentions; and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Amended 2014 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Support the National Union’s five point action plan for federal government intervention to ensure Canada has a strong economy and fair society for today and the future by:
    1. Creating a strong framework for financial stability
    2. Strengthening public services and investing in infrastructure
    3. Developing a modern industrial strategy and a new green economy
    4. Providing an income security package for working families
    5. Protecting and expanding pension security
  • Promote coalitions between unions and social justice groups to push for the necessary economic and social change to prevent such a financial crisis from happening again.

Because Canada is faced with a global economic crisis; and

Because Canadians are worried about their jobs, their savings and their future; and

Because we need a comprehensive stimulus package and a long-term plan for our economy; and

Because this is an opportunity for fundamental and necessary economic and social reform; and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

The HSAA Will:

  • work with affiliate unions, federations of labour, labour councils, seniors groups and other allies through the Retirement Security for Everyone campaign to vigorously oppose provincial and federal government and employer attacks on Defined-Benefit (DB) workplace pension plans;
  • work with affiliates and allies to develop materials, raise public awareness and educate union members about the value of DB pensions and the threats to these plans, including integrating a discussion of the value of DB and workplace pensions;
  • continue to support and promote defined benefit pension plans as part of the overall Retirement Security for All campaign, including opposing legislation that would allow employers to convert DB plans to Target Benefit (TB) pension plans;
  • work with affiliates and federations of labour to press provincial governments introducing provincial public pension plans to ensure they follow the Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) model of universal coverage and they do not have opt out provisions;

Because defined-benefit (DB) pensions provide fairness to workers, income security for retirees, and vital revenue for public services, local vendors, and hundreds of thousands of households;

Because DB pensions are deferred wages, earned and paid for by employees;

Because conversion from DB to TB plans is a particularly dangerous step that in New Brunswick has removed legal protections against reducing members’ earned benefits and pensions-in-pay;

Because allowing TB plans in the federal sector will do nothing for 12 million
Canadians without a workplace pension plan;

Because doubling future CPP/QPP benefits will provide higher and more secure retirement income for all Canadian workers, while reducing pressure on DB workplace plans; and

Because the federal government will test the level of labour-movement opposition to TB plans in assessing where next to attack workers’ pensions.

Approved at AGM 2014

The HSAA will:

  • Join in solidarity with the organizations calling upon the provincial, federal and municipal governments to work together with community organizations and others to develop a comprehensive plan with measurable poverty reduction targets and timelines to eliminate poverty in Alberta

Because we endorse the principles of Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada (founded by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice) that freedom from poverty is a human right; we believe in equality among all people; we believe we are all entitled to social and economic security; we believe in dignity for all; and

Because poverty in the midst of plenty is a failure of social policy not an inevitable or natural outcome, and consequently can be addressed by government and partner organizations; and

Because the reduction of poverty, on the way to its elimination, results in greater social cohesiveness and consequently better health outcomes for everyone in society, which in turn will make for less overall cost to the health care system; and

Because the reduction of poverty will result in positive economic benefit to Alberta, such as reduced crime, increased productivity in the workplace, and higher income and corporate taxation revenue; and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved 2010 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Support a living wage for all Albertans, including a substantially improved minimum wage and a social welfare policy free of ‘poverty trap’ clawbacks.
  • Support the activities of anti-poverty organizations that seek to pressure governments to commit to ensuring that workers directly employed, or contracted/subcontracted, or are employees of a partner organization, or are suppliers of goods and services to government will be paid a living wage*.

Because too many Albertans do not have access to employment which would pay sufficient wage and benefits to constitute a living wage, causing them to live in poverty; and

Because the strength and solidarity of our communities depends on all citizens having access to a reasonable level of income from whatever combination of sources; and

Because poverty is not inevitable and can be partly addressed by municipal and higher levels of government adopting living wage policies to raise income levels; and

Because HSAA’s mission statement is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

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“A Living Wage is the amount of income an individual or family needs to meet basic needs, to maintain a safe, decent standard of living in their community and to save for future needs and goals. The amount of a Living Wage varies depending on the method used to measure the local cost of living in a particular community.” – Excerpted from Vibrant Communities Calgary November 2006 newsletter

Amended 2014 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Continue well-funded efforts to organize workers without a union who would have a natural home in HSAA
  • Maintain as priority organizing ambulance or emergency services workers where these workers do not have union representation already
  • Maintain as priority organizing public sector hospital paramedical technical and professional employees who are not already in HSAA
  • Maintain as priority organizing the remaining groups of public sector paramedical professional and technical employees who are employed in the community sector, but remain unorganized or shielded from true union organization by employer dominated associations
  • Identify and develop longer term organizing objectives
  • Be open to and available to assist our affiliates in the greater House of Labour with their organizing efforts
  • Not engage in raiding

Because HSAA organizers have developed considerable momentum and experience through major campaigns and organizing drives

Because organizing the unorganized is an act of solidarity, a way to give back and build strength within the Union and our affiliates

Because through being organized in the Union, individual workers are able to assert their collective right to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment

Because through collective action, members of HSAA join a movement for social and economic justice

Because labour rights are human rights

Because HSAA’s mission statement is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved 2007 AGM
Amended April 2014

The HSAA will:

  • Oppose any cuts to public education

Because research by allied organizations like Public Interest Alberta’s Task Force on Post-Secondary Education and the Alberta Teachers Association has shown that cuts to education funding threaten the very foundation of our children’s futures; and

Because when education funding is cut, class sizes increase, programs suffer, fewer new teachers are hired, infrastructure repairs are shelved and support staff and services are reduced; and

Because when P3s (public-private partnerships) are used to build schools, experience across Canada has shown that P3 projects ultimately result in greater costs than if traditional design and build methods are used – resulting in a siphoning of public money from direct education spending; and

Because investing in Alberta’s schools, public universities, colleges and technical institutes is essential for creating the “green” knowledge-based economy of the future and for building productive, healthy and diverse communities; and

Because by increasing – not decreasing – the support for our public educational institutions, government will not only help stimulate Alberta’s short-term economic recovery, but will also be laying the foundation for Alberta’s long-term prosperous future; and

Because raising tuition for people entering paramedical technical and professional programs will result in unsupportable student debt for individual graduates and more severe healthcare labour shortages in the near future, due to young people turning away from expensive post-secondary experience; and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved 2010 AGM

The HSAA will:

Continue to advocate for workplaces where members and others with temporary or permanent disability1 experience no discrimination on that basis and experience inclusion in the workplace enabling them to work to the full extent of their abilities.

Because the marginalization and exclusion of persons with disabilities from full participation in meaningful work continues to exist in Alberta, whether because of discrimination due to stigma, lack of access to employment supports or other deficiencies in social policy; and

Because, although employers have a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities, the Union often has to intervene to protect the interests of such members; and,

Because as workers age, disability rates increase2 and HSAA demographics show that over 40% of our members are aged 45 or more3; and

Because none of us can be certain that we will never experience a major activity limitation or disability over the course of our working lives; and

Because HSAA’s mission is: “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Amended 2014 AGM

  1. World Health Organization definition: “Disability: Any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. http://www.drnbc.org/disablility_definitions.php
  2. Statistics Canada’s Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) tracks persons whose activities are limited because of a physical or mental health-related condition or problem. By this definition, which covers a very broad range of limitations in terms of both type and severity, the total disability rate in 2006 was 11.5% for the total Canadian working-age population (15 to 64)—or 2.5 million people—rising to 15.1% for those aged 45 to 54, and 22.8% for those aged 55 to 64 Statistics Canada 2006)
  3. Creating A Quality Work Environment Survey, 2006 [HSAA research publication]

The HSAA will:

  • promote quality public services and tax fairness as key ways to reduce income inequality and achieve greater prosperity, opportunity and living standards for Canadians
  • raise awareness about the large and growing income inequality gap in Canada and the social and economic problems associated with this trend

Because income inequality in Canada (the gap between the richest and poorest Canadians) has been dramatically growing over the last two decades, while the incomes of most Canadians have stagnated; and

Because this trend is contributing to economic instability, damaging the social fabric of our country and diminishing the quality of life for Canadians; and

Because reduced government spending, tax cuts favouring the wealthiest Canadians, and tax cuts for profitable corporations have accelerated the growing income gap; and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

Approved AGM 2011

The HSAA will actively oppose Federal Private Member’s Bill C-377 as introduced in the First Session of the Forty-first Parliament by Mr. Russ Hiebert, Member of Parliament for Surrey-White Rock:

  • by informing our members about the threats to our union that this bill poses;
  • by initiating direct action with Alberta Members of Parliament;
  • by participating in all initiatives undertaken by NUPGE and other labour bodies to which we are affiliated
  • by participating financially in any legal actions NUPGE or other labour bodies with which we are affiliated undertake

Because the proposed legislation has far-reaching implications that would hamper the work of unions, our members’ pension plans and other suppliers with which we do business, and

Because the proposed legislation is a thinly disguised effort to discredit unions in the eyes of our members and the public, and

Because the proposed legislation is very likely unconstitutional, and

Because unions are already among the most transparent organizations in society, and

Because the proposed legislation would place requirements and restrictions on unions that corporations do not have, and

Because the proposed restrictions would have severe monetary impacts on HSAA’s operations in order to comply.

Approved 2012 AGM

The HSAA will:

  • Adopt the recommendations of the Alberta Federation of Labour’s Report on Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta (December 2010).
  • Advocate that workers who are invited into Canada to meet labour demands be offered Permanent Resident status.
  • Advocate for all articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly as it addresses the rights of all workers, specifically articles 4, 15, 21, 23 and 24.

Because labour rights are human rights, and

Because Temporary Foreign Workers have historically been exploited by employers, labour brokers and recruiters due to lax government standards, laws and enforcement, and

Because HSAA’s Strategic Plan (September 2011) states as a goal that: “HSAA’s public policy reflects our advocacy efforts with key stakeholder groups (e.g., government, central labour organizations, employers, etc.), and

Because HSAA’s mission is, “To enhance the quality of life of its members and society.”

February 12, 2013
Approved 2013 AGM

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will lobby the provincial government to introduce fair taxes and royalties, with wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals paying their fair share, so the government has adequate revenue to provide the vital public services that Albertans demand and deserve.

Because Alberta is one of the wealthiest jurisdictions on Earth, but its current tax and royalty regime is failing to collect a fair share of that wealth for Albertans, leaving the financial burden to be borne by working people and their families, and

Because corporate profits in Alberta have soared by about 350 per cent over 20 years, but the corporate income tax rate has been cut from 15. 5 per cent to 10 per cent, and

Because the government’s reliance on revenue from non-renewable natural resources means Albertans face cuts to services including health care and education every time the price of oil drops, and

Because current royalty and tax rates make it impossible to save for our future and for future generations, and

Because selling off non-renewable resources and failing to save is stealing from our children and grandchildren, and

Because Alberta has rarely met its own targets for royalty collection from the sale and development on non-renewable resources, costing tens of billions of dollars.

Approved at 2013 AGM

The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) will urge the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to oppose the use of omnibus budget bills by the federal government by lobbying MPs and Senators and through public education campaigns that spell out the dangers omnibus bills pose to democracy in Canada.

Because omnibus budget bills have been used to make legislative changes that have nothing to do with the budget, and

Because omnibus bills deprive Canadians of the right to hear their elected representatives debate important legislative changes, and

Because debate is a key element in keeping our democracy transparent, and

Because omnibus bills are an attack on Canadian values and undermine faith in democracy.

Approved at 2013 AGM

HSAA encourages members to be vaccinated to contribute to public health initiatives to prevent the spread of seasonal influenza.

HSAA recognizes that its members should have a right to make their own health-care decisions, and are entitled to the privacy of that choice.

HSAA will support members in making their choice. Where that choice impacts their work HSAA will support members in seeking “accommodation”.

Approved AGM 2013

  1. HSAA believes that no work related injury is acceptable and that members, staff and agents of HSAA have a right to leave work free from injury or disease, either mental or physical, caused by their job or their workplace.
  2. HSAA believes believe that Patient safety and patient outcomes are closely linked to worker safety. Thus our members and their employers have a strong mutual interest and professional and moral obligation to work together to establish a strong safety culture and infrastructure to improve the lives of all Albertans.
  3. Workplace factors have a significant impact on the overall health both physical and mental of a worker thus HSAA believes that Health and Wellness programs are a fundamental part of Workplace Health and Safety.
  4. As Healthcare is one of the most dangerous industries in Alberta HSAA will strive to be a leader in the labour movement when it comes to advocating for health and safety in Alberta Workplaces, and will seek to develop a strong safety culture amongst our members, leaders and staff.
    HSAA will seek to reduce the level of injury and occupational disease amongst our membership by working to hold employers accountable for the high rates of injury and occupational illness in the Healthcare industry.

HSAA will work with government, labour organizations, and other safety advocates to improve health and safety legislation and standards in the healthcare industry.

HSAA will seek to build a strong safety culture amongst the membership by providing Education, resources and advocacy regarding health and safety rights and responsibilities.

HSAA will lead by example when it comes to Health and Safety by having robust internal health and safety processes embedded within the culture of our union.

HSAA will support our members who are members of Joint Management Labour Health and Safety Committees. This support will include, print resources, formal education and expert guidance to members of joint committees and the membership at large.

HSAA’s Health, Safety and Wellness Committee (standing committee) shall act as a conduit to provide feedback on how HSAA can better support the membership in regards to workplace health safety and wellness matters.

HSAA will seek out partnerships with safety organizations that are working on health and safety issues of importance to our members, recommendations for these partnerships will come from the membership at large or the board Health Safety and Wellness Committee, and be approved by the board of directors.

HSAA will strategically advocate for improvements to health and safety legislation, recognizing that Alberta has some of the least worker-friendly health and safety legislation in Canada.

HSAA will apply best practices and sufficient resources to provide a safe working environment for staff, members, and elected leadership when they are engaged in activities on behalf of HSAA.

HSAA will work with the Employee Management Health and Safety committee to ensure that proactive solutions to health and safety issues at HSAA worksites can be found, and implemented.

HSAA will strive to lead by example when it comes to worker participation in establishing a healthy and safe workplace.

HSAA will implement an independently audited health and safety management system to ensure the organization continues to meet best practice in regards to health and safety because HSAA recognizes that independent inspections/audits are fundamental to safety improvement and maintaining health and safety in any workplace.

HSAA will strive to ensure that Safety and Health is embraced by all members and staff when they are acting on behalf of HSAA and have contrl of or influence over activities that affect safety and health. Members and staff are to ensure their own safety and the safety of others in accordance with HSAA policy.

Because supporting and improving health, safety and wellness in the workplaces of our members and Alberta workplaces at large is a fundamental aspect of HSAA’s mission statement: “The mission of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta is to enhance the quality of life of members and society.”

____________________________
Elisabeth Ballermann BScPT, LLB
President

_________________________
Lynette McAvoy
Executive Director

Approved AGM May 2016

HSAA will work to ensure that dangerous trade deals like the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are not adopted by Canada through lobbying of our provincial and federal political representatives; and

HSAA will ensure that our members are informed of the negative impacts of such trade deals; and

HSAA will demand that all current and future trade agreements undergo a full and transparent evaluation of the social, environmental and labour impact of the proposed agreement prior to negotiations; and

HSAA will insist that the federal and provincial governments ensure trade agreements do not interfere with the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, protect existing public services or create new social programs; and

HSAA will demand that trade agreements not force federal, provincial or municipal governments to open public procurement to foreign companies

BECAUSE these agreements that are generally referred to as “free trade deals” only accord freedoms to corporations bent on maximizing profits; and

BECAUSE they are generally negotiated in secret and remove the freedom of citizens to pass laws in their own countries that protect industrial development, human rights and the environment; and

BECAUSE the consequences of these deal are suppressed wages, deteriorating working conditions, rising carbon emissions that exacerbate climate change and the erosion of public services.

Approved AGM May 2016

  1. My union is built on our members. The strength, understanding and unity of the membership determine my union’s course and its advancements.
  2. The members who make up my union and pay its dues are the ones to determine the right path for my union in our own interests, the interests of our union and in the interests of all the people.
  3. An informed and alert membership gives my union its power. My participation in the organization, negotiations, strikes, contract enforcement, local executive, education (formal and informal), member engagement and every other aspect of union life is indispensable to union solidarity.
  4. The strength of my union is built on setting aside internal differences and issues to combine for the common cause of advancing the interests of the membership. No union can successfully fulfill its purpose if it allows itself to be distracted by any issue which causes division and undermines the unity which all labour must have in the face of the employer.
  5. My union believes that workers are indivisible. My union celebrates our diversity which include age, race, colour, creed, ancestry, religious or political belief, gender, ability, family status or sexual orientation. Any division among the membership that pits worker against worker interferes with the power of my union.
  6. My union helps any member in times of distress. My union is more than my contract. This is a daily guide in the life of my union and its individual members.
  7. Conditions of work, security of employment and benefits for members and their families are of equal importance as wages.
  8. It is important for my union to organize the unorganized, in the interest of our memberships and of working people everywhere.
  9. My basic aspirations and desires are the same as any worker in the world. Inter-union and international union solidarity are crucial in sharing union research, education and actions of solidarity and affiliation with each other.
  10. My union looks beyond self-interest in the social and economic conditions of the communities in which we live. My union must support efforts that make communities and society a better place and promote change for the overall benefit of humanity.

In Summary: My union believes that the decisions that affect the health, economic and social welfare of our members are inherently political in nature. As such we encourage our members to participate in the political process for the betterment of the membership.

Approved AGM May 2016

The AFL will encourage its affiliates to consider the impact of the workplace and working conditions on the overall physical and mental health of workers when negotiating collective agreements and in other advocacy efforts with employers; and

The AFL will work to advance total worker health initiatives by advocating for changes to employment standards, WCB and OHS legislation that recognize the link between workplace factors and worker illness.

Because work is a social determinant of health; job-related factors such as wages, hours of work, workload and stress levels, interactions with coworkers, access to leave and healthful workplaces all can have an important impact on the well-being of workers, their families and their communities and

Because scientific evidence shows that risk factors in the workplace can contribute to health problems previously consider unrelated to work including obesity, sleep disorders, cardiovascular disease, mental health and other health conditions and

Because the total worker health approach focuses on how environmental workplace factors can both mitigate and enhance overall worker health beyond traditional workplace health and safety concerns.

Approved 2017 Convention