Health PEI has asked for a conciliator to help it reach a contract deal with two of the province's healthcare unions.


The P.E.I. government's offer to health unions is not even close to what they are looking for, says UPSE president Shelley Ward. (CBC)

Glen Doyle, director of human resources for Health PEI, said negotiations with the unions representing around 1,400 licensed practical nurses, resident care workers, psychologists and other public healthcare staff have stalled.

"The parties have been at the table for a number of weeks now," said Doyle.

"The parties right now are so far apart that the next step in the process is to ask for conciliation."

UPSE president Shelley Ward said wages are one of the sticking points. Ward said her members reached wage parity with Atlantic Canadian healthcare workers last year, after an arbitrator ruled in her union's favour. Ward said she doesn't want to see those gains lost.

"Just recently the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union has just released an arbitration award where they received a 7.5 per cent wage increase," said Ward.

"Our health professionals deserve to have competitive wages, in order to have the professionals that we need in order to deliver quality healthcare services here on Prince Edward Island."

Ward won't say how much of an increase UPSE is asking for, but did say Health PEI's wage offer "wasn't even close." Health PEI will not discuss the details.

Officials hope to be in conciliation by July or August.