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Nova Scotia’s 800 VON nurses vote to ratify new collective agreement

The Victorian Order of Nurses office is seen in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015.
The Victorian Order of Nurses office is seen in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Unionized nurses employed by the Victorian Order of Nurses have ratified a new collective agreement.

Members who cast ballots voted 90 per cent in favour of ratifying an agreement reached on Feb. 13.

The Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union says the new contract for approximately 800 VON members includes important health and safety provisions and compensation improvements.

READ MORE: Peterborough’s VON works with police to tackle fraud

The community care nurses will receive wage parity with their acute care counterparts, increases in on-call, shift and weekend premiums, and improvements to assignment change notifications.

Union president Janet Hazelton says a significant gain is the creation of a province-wide committee to explore workplace violence and other safety concerns.

Nurses voted online this week to accept the agreement, which is retroactive to Nov. 1, 2014 and expires Oct. 31, 2020.

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The union said Friday that community care nurses are highly susceptible to injury and assault and statistically are more at risk than acute care and long-term care workers.

“The committee will examine ways to protect VON who work in isolation, and support nurses in this sector who, at times, feel vulnerable,” Hazelton said in a news release.

“In my view, this agreement strengthens services to the public by addressing working conditions.”