Updated COVID-19 Provincial Surge Resources

Re:       BCEHS Updated COVID-19 Provincial Surge Resources

This memorandum will update staff on significant work between the parties to increase resources. We appreciate there is much more needed to address, however we are optimistic this is one significant step to address some immediate needs. BCEHS will be temporarily increasing staffing and resources this fall and winter to prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases. The additional temporary air and ground resources, announced by the Ministry of Health earlier this year, will be spread across the province to prepare for the fall flu season as well.

All additional 55 ground units and 5 air resources will be temporarily activated until March 31, 2021. Two fixed-wing aircrafts have been in place since spring and have been assisting in patient transfers, the additional three air resources will be activated in November.

BCHES used data modelling to establish where the additional ambulances will be placed, please click HERE to view a list of where the additional units will go.

The ambulances will be staffed on an Alpha day-shift pattern deployed seven days a week, 12 hours a day. They will primarily focus on interfacility transfers to ensure timely care for patients and ease the pressure off pre-hospital emergency response resources.

Due to the upcoming shift opportunities, the timeframe to submit availability is being extended for all employees to midnight on Sunday, October 18, 2020. This will delay the publication of final schedules, and final schedules will be available by the end of day on Monday, October 26, 2020.


Urban, Rural and Remote Areas:

Surge resources will mainly be staffed through the spareboard process but will be adjusted appropriately based on the number and types of units deployed at the station or post. 

If a surge-resource-designated community has a full-time employee paired with an on-call or stand-by (Fox or Kilo) employee (day shifts only), BCEHS will convert that shift to a paid regular shift that will be filled through the spareboard process.

The second line unit, the surge resource, will be converted temporarily to a full regular paid unit for 12 hours per day, seven days a week (day Alpha rotation) that will also be filled through the spareboard process. Night shift resources will not change.

The temporary spareboard shifts will be assigned as per the Collective Agreement and WAG to in-post primary operator staff. The scheduling of these units will be done locally by the unit chief or through centralized scheduling as per current practice for that station. Unfilled spareboard shifts will be made available to staff with secondary availability in accordance with the CA and WAG.

Lower Mainland Region:

BCEHS will add 18 temporary, additional units to the Lower Mainland region. The implementation date(s), start/stop times and location(s) are yet to be determined and will be communicated once increased facilities are confirmed and when that information is available. 

The positions will be initially staffed through the spareboard process for November given the short timelines to implement these resources.  BCEHS will review any impacts to prehospital fleet staffing and out-of-service. Beyond November, BCEHS intends to staff these units pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement, Re: Temporary Vacancies and Temporary Positions. Unfilled spareboard shifts will be made available to staff with secondary availability in accordance with the CA and WAG. 

If you have any questions, please contact your RVP’s or a member of the executive board.


Troy Clifford                                          Dave Deines
Provincial President                              Provincial Vice-President
CUPE Local 873                                    CUPE Local 873