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Wages and Benefits

Salary, Employer-paid Benefits, and Incentives for Nurses in BC




Effective April 1, 2018, there is a nine-step wage scale for nurses in BC:

Step 1: new graduates - $33.56/hour

  • salaries increase one step after every 1,950 hours worked

Step 9: $44.06/hour Shift and Weekend Premiums

  • evening: 70 cents/hour
  • nights: $3.50/hour
  • weekend: $2.00/hour (from 2300 hours on Friday to 2300 hours on Sunday)
  • super shift premium (nights on the weekend): $1.00/hour

Note: Shift premiums are cumulative, e.g. total nights on weekend premium = $6.50/hour

Qualification Differentials

Special Clinical Preparation – an additional $50/month incentive is paid to nurses working in difficult-to-fill specialties (OR/PAR, ER, ICU/CCU). This incentive is prorated for part-time nurses.

Employees with BScN preparation receive an additional $100/month. This is not available to casual employees. This incentive is also available to nurses who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a bachelor’s degree in health sciences (advanced psychiatric nursing) where this qualification is utilized in the course of the nurse’s performance of his or her normal job duties.

Nurses with a master’s degree in nursing preparation receive an additional $125/month. This allowance is also paid to nurses who have a master’s degree in psychology where this qualification is utilized in the course of the nurse’s performance of his or her normal job duties.

Note: Qualification differentials are not cumulative.


Responsibility Pay: Nurses receive an additional $1.25/hour for times when they are designated as being “in charge.”

Isolation Allowance: Nurses working in designated rural communities in BC receive an additional $75/month. Travel Allowance: For most positions, work-related travel is reimbursed at a rate of $0.50/kilometre.

Details on these premiums, differentials, and allowances can be found in the Nurses Bargaining Association Provincial Collective Agreement



The publicly funded health authorities in BC offer comprehensive compensation packages for regular-status employees, which include employer-paid benefits.

BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

  • Provides payment for medically-required services from family practitioners, specialists, and supplementary health care practitioners, in addition to laboratory and diagnostic services. Coverage is provided for employees and their eligible family members.
  • Out-of-province applicants must live in BC for three months before they are eligible for coverage under MSP.

Extended Health Care

  • Includes out-of-country medical coverage.
  • Pays for specialized services and supplies not provided under the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) such as prescription drugs, paramedical services, vision care, and hospital accommodation differential costs. Some maximums apply. Provided for employees and their eligible family members.

Dental Coverage

  • Reimbursement of a percentage of the costs of basic, restorative, and orthodontic services, subject to some maximums and wait times for employees and their eligible family members: 100% of basic services, 60% of major reconstruction services, and 60% of orthodontic services to a lifetime maximum of $2,750.

Life Insurance

  • A lump-sum death benefit of $50,000.
  • A lump-sum payment on loss of sight or a limb.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability

  • Short-term, sick-leave benefits are provided if an employee is unable to work due to a nonoccupational injury or illness. Accrued to a sick-leave bank at a rate of 1.5 days/month. 
  • Long-term disability provides continuing income in the event of total disability up to normal retirement age.


Pension Plan

  • Excellent pension benefits are provided through employer and employee contributions to the pension plan.

Paid Time Off

  • Paid vacation as per the Healthcare Collective Agreements or Non-Contract Terms and Conditions of Employment.
  • Vacation starts at four weeks per year, after the first year of service, with additional time accrued based on years of service, up to a maximum of nine weeks per year after 29 years of service.
  • Eleven paid statutory holidays per year. If you work on a statutory holiday, eight of the holidays are paid at double time, while Christmas, Good Friday, and Labour Day are paid at 2.5 times regular rate of pay.

Employee and Family Assistance Plan

  • Access to free, confidential counseling services to assist employees and their immediate families deal with a wide range of concerns, personal and work related.

Other Benefits

  • Maternity, paternity and adoption leave is provided in accordance with the collective agreement. A supplemental employment benefit/wage top-up may be payable to eligible employees.
  • Paid time off may be available in the event of a family crisis.
  • Unpaid compassionate care leave may be available to enable an employee to care for a terminally ill family member. (Provided in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.)

Benefits for Casual Employees

Limited health benefits may be available on completion of the eligibility requirement of their Health Sector Collective Agreement. Casual employees under the Nurses and Paramedical Collective Agreements who purchase certain health benefits once eligible and who work a minimum of 939.6 hours between October 1st and the following September 30th, will receive a refund of the premiums paid for those benefits, to a maximum of 12 months' premium. Casual employees also receive a premium in lieu of vacation and statutory holidays.

Details can be found in the Nurses Bargaining Association Provincial Collective Agreement.

Relocation Assistance

Relocation assistance is available for many nursing jobs. Please contact the health employers for more information. 

Scholarships, Bursaries, and Grants

Information on financial aid for nursing education, including the BC Loan Forgiveness Program, is available here.