As Alberta nurses vote on a three-year contract Wednesday, the head of Alberta Health Services is downplaying suggestions of a future wage freezes for its employees.
The new agreement with the United Nurses of Alberta calls for no wage hike this year, a two per cent raise based on productivity next year and four per cent increase in 2013.
Stephen Duckett, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said the board's $11.2 billion budget passed Tuesday takes into account any wage increases negotiated with other unions.
The board has already approved the nurses' deal, which covers 24,000 registered nurses.
Three other unions currently have contracts that include wage increases of 4.5 or five per cent.
The board's 2010-11 health budget is about $300 million more than last year.
The government eliminated Alberta Health's $1.3-billion deficit in the February provincial budget. At the time, it also said it's committed to stable health-care funding for five years.