04/16/2013 05:02 EDT | Updated 06/16/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. moves to put registered nurses and licensed practicals in same bargaining

VICTORIA - The two major nursing groups in B.C. are now under a single negotiating umbrella.

Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says the Liberal government has enacted legislation that allows licensed practical nurses to bargain alongside members of the B.C. Nurses Union and be covered by the same contract.

A majority of licensed practical nurses voted last year to leave other unions to join the Nurses Union.

MacDiarmid says the change means all nurses can work collectively to provide better integration in the health system.

She says while the legislation takes effect immediately, there will be an adjustment period over the next year so amendments can be made to the contracts covering LPNs to bring them more in line with the B.C. Nurses Union contract.

The recruitment process by the nurses union came at a cost for the organization because it's been banned from the B.C. Federation of Labour and Canadian Labour Congress after working for years to woo LPNs from other health care unions.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said single union umbrella in lede.