posted May 2, 2015
On May 1, 2015, the President of the Association of
Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC) issued an open letter to all BC
nurses, which referred to a lawsuit that was commenced in September 2013 by the
BC Nurses Union (BCNU) and Debra McPherson against both CRNBC and ARNBC.
Up to now, CRNBC has refrained from commenting publicly on
BCNU’s lawsuit while the matter is before the Supreme Court of BC.
However, in response to questions many nurses are now raising about the
lawsuit, we wish to provide a brief explanation.
The September 2013 lawsuit stems from a one-time $1.5 million
grant that CRNBC made to ARNBC in July 2013, to help with ARNBC’s start-up
costs and to allow ARNBC to begin offering services to nurses that fall outside
BCNU claims in its lawsuit that CRNBC had no authority under
the Health Professions Act to make this grant to ARNBC. It also
claims that the funds used for the grant were originally collected for the sole
purpose of providing professional liability insurance coverage to nurses, and
could not be used for any other purpose.
CRNBC vigorously disputes these claims.
As CRNBC previously explained in the FAQs to the notice it
posted in July 2013, CRNBC's Board has clear authority under the HPA to
approve spending of College funds for purposes consistent with the College's
duties and determined to be in the public interest. The Board determined in
July 2013 the payment to ARNBC was in the public interest and consistent with
the College's duties.
CRNBC also explained in July 2013 that the funding to ARNBC
was made possible through the assets, and appreciation on assets, of the former
Captive Insurance Corporation that previously provided liability insurance
coverage to nurses registered with CRNBC.
CRNBC acquired those funds by exercising its right as
Captive's sole shareholder to require the Captive to redeem a portion of the
shares held by CRNBC. CRNBC disagrees with BCNU's claim that the funds could
only be used for the purpose of providing professional liability insurance. The
funds were the property of CRNBC and could be used for any purpose consistent
with CRNBC's public interest duties.
Read the original July 2013 announcement regarding the grant to ARNBC.