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CRNBC decision to assist ARNBC

CRNBC's board made a decision to provide a one-time grant of $1.5 million to help cover some of the start-up costs of the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC).

posted July 12, 2013

Strengthening CRNBC’s regulatory role drives funding d​ecision

The College moved from an association to a regulatory body in 2005. Since then, our work at the College has focused on regulating nurses in the public interest. Public safety and protection are our main concerns.

During the past eight years, we’ve strengthened our public interest activities. At the same time, it’s become increasingly difficult to provide nurses with the same services we provided as an association. We’ve pulled back many of our association-type activities.

As we’ve matured into our regulatory role, we’ve heard from nurses throughout the province who feel their voice is missing from nursing and health policy development. They have also told us there is no one promoting the nursing profession.

For these reasons, the CRNBC Board decided to provide a one-time $1.5 million grant to the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC). The money is to help with the Association’s start-up costs. Most importantly, these funds will allow the Association to begin offering services that fall outside the College’s mandate. The Association will be able to expand and enhance these services. We are delighted to help the Association bring a fresh nursing perspective to the province.

As we transfer some of our services to ARNBC over the coming months, we will provide ongoing updates. If you have questions or need more information, please email

 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the details of this decision?
The College recently transferred to ARNBC a one-time grant of $1.5 million to help cover some fundamental start-up costs.  Next steps in this process will include the College negotiating an agreement to collect an annual fee on behalf of ARNBC beginning in January 2015 in place of the one currently collected on behalf of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA).  After successfully negotiating this agreement with ARNBC, we will end our financial agreement with CNA. B.C. nurses’ CNA membership will then continue through ARNBC.
Why was the decision made to transfer funds and services to ARNBC?
Over the past year and a half, the College has continued its efforts to increase its focus on our core purpose of regulating nurses in the public interest.  During this time, the College has been working towards shifting some responsibilities to ARNBC that fall outside of the College’s mandate, and previously associated with the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (RNABC).  The CRNBC Board made the decision to provide ARNBC with the start-up capital necessary for the Association to assume services that fall outside the College’s role and align with the function of the Association.
Where did this money come from?
This funding is a one-time grant and is made possible through the assets, and appreciation on assets, of the Captive Insurance Corporation that provides liability insurance to nurses who are registered with CRNBC. These funds are separate from the operating budgets of the College. The College acquired these funds by exercising its right as the Captive’s sole shareholder to require the Captive to redeem a portion of the shares held by the College.
How is the role of the College different from an association or a union?
The role of the College, association and union are distinct. 
Public safety and protection is the primary mandate of the College. Acting in the public interest is our legislative mandate and this is set out in the Health Professions Act (HPA). To attain its mandate of public protection, the College carries out regulatory responsibilities under the Act.  It also provides services, but these are generally focused on providing nurses with the support required to apply the Standards and to understand regulation. 
Some of the services that fit with the role of the College include practice consultation, registrant learning, quality assurance, and professional conduct reviews specific to the application of Standards and regulation of nurses. These services focus on ensuring that nurses understand their professional responsibilities related to the legislative requirements and the Professional, Scope of Practice, and Practice Standards.
In contrast, an association promotes and advocates for the professional and personal interest of the profession and its members.  Services might include promotional campaigns, advocacy on health policy, and representation to government, employers, and other agencies. An association may also choose to provide professional support that need not be directly related to CRNBC’s mandate and Standards.
A union protects and advances the health, social, and economic welfare of its members. This would include negotiating collective agreements, grieving incidents that are in conflict with the collective agreement, and advocating for member interests as they relate to employment and human resource concerns. Because of the union’s labour relations role, not all nurses are eligible for union membership.
I heard that the practice support program at the College will transfer to the Association is that true?
While the Association may choose to offer forms of practice support including consultation for areas that are within its mandate, CRNBC will continue to provide practice consultation and advice as well as education for nurses related to the Standards of practice and regulatory requirements.
What is the timing for all of this?
It will take some time for ARNBC to put its staffing and operations in place. In the coming months, the College will collaborate with ARNBC to determine the services that fall outside our role as a regulator and are better suited to an Association. Some services may be transferred in the coming months, while others may require more time. 
How was CRNBC enabled to make the decision to transfer funds to the Association?
Under the Health Professions Act, the College’s Board has authority to approve spending of College funds for purposes consistent with the College’s duties and determined to be in the public interest.
The Board has determined that this transfer of funds to ARNBC is in the public interest and consistent with the College’s duties.
It is the view of the Board that it is in the public interest that all Registered Nurses in the province have access to a sustainable professional association.  An association can help to advance the health of British Columbians, by providing an effective voice for the profession in the development of nursing, health and social policy at a provincial and national level.
Will my fees go up because of the transfer of funds?
This decision means little, if any, increase in overall fees to nurses over the next five years. 
Why not pass these services to BCNU? Why do we need another nursing body such as ARNBC?

The College cannot speak for BCNU or the Association, but what we can say is that as a regulator we look for ways, whenever it is appropriate, to collaborate with all stakeholders including the Union, government, the Association and employers. We see benefit in the College, BCNU and the Association working together—each playing a distinct, but complementary role that supports nurses and benefits the public.

It is important to understand the differences between the role of a College, an association and a union. The College carries out regulatory duties and acts in the public interest as set out in the Health Professions Act. An association promotes and advocates for the professional and personal interests of the profession and its members. A union protects and advances the health, social, and economic welfare of its members, and negotiates collective agreements that govern employees' conditions of employment.

Why is CRNBC collecting fees on behalf of ARNBC?
The College is not currently collecting any fees from nurses on behalf of ARNBC. The College has authority under the Health Professions Act and its bylaws to enter into an agreement with ARNBC to collect annual fees on its behalf.  It is the College’s intention to negotiate an agreement to collect annual fees on behalf of ARNBC beginning in January 2015, in place of the fees currently collected on behalf of CNA.
Will nurses be able to opt out of the ARNBC fee?
This will be determined by the agreement entered between the College and ARNBC.  That agreement may restrict the ability of individual nurses to opt out of paying the ARNBC fee, as is currently the case under the College’s existing agreement with CNA.
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