Know Your Rights

Article 24.09 – Displacement

December 20, 2023

Article 24.09 of the RNUNL Provincial Collective Agreement specifies that:

Displacement designates any temporary change of position of an employee affected at the request of the Employer. If the displacement requires the employee to move to another place of employment, it shall not exceed one month unless mutually agreed otherwise.

(a) The employee must accept displacement in the case of:

i. Increased or decreased workload;

ii. Unexpected absence resulting in an urgent or imperative need for personnel;

iii. Emergencies.

In all other cases of displacement there must be mutual agreement between the employee and the Employer.

(b) In all cases of displacement, the Employer should not displace any employee if the utilization of other means is expedient. The Employer shall seek volunteers before displacement.

(c) Displacement should be carried out in an equitable manner among the employees.

(d) The Employer will endeavor not to displace an employee greater than one hundred (100) kms.

(e) Where an employee is displaced, per diem meal allowance, accommodation and all travel related expenses shall be paid in accordance with Article 37.


Article 24.09 allows employers to unilaterally displace permanent, temporary and/or casual registered nurses on a temporary basis under certain circumstances. Outside of the enumerated circumstances – workload increase/decrease, unexpected absences and emergencies – the employer must have the agreement of the RN to displace them.

Permanent, temporary and obligated casual employees can be displaced at any point prior to, or during, their shift(s). A non-obligated casual who is advised prior to the start of their scheduled shift of the need to displace them pursuant to Article 33.08(ii) has the option to accept or decline the displacement (alternate work assignment). If they do not accept the alternate assignment, they are not entitled to payment for the pre-scheduled shift. Non-obligated casual RNs can be displaced the same as permanent, temporary and obligated casuals if the need arises after the start of the scheduled shift.

RNU advocates that displacement occur equitably amongst members, however, we acknowledge that factors such as professional competence and orientation to specific areas may also be considered.

As noted in the CA article, if displacement is required to another place of employment, the displacement shall not exceed one month. This refers to displacement to another site. While these displacements are rare, they can arguably occur under this language and the one month (at a time) limitation would apply. With the addition of Article 24.09(d), the Employer has committed to try not to displace beyond 100 kms. This is particularly relevant now that the former health boards are all one employer, as displacement could require members to travel greater distances to various sites.

Historically, RNU has always advocated that any work-related expenses incurred due to displacement be paid by the employer and the addition of Article 24.09(e) confirms that entitlement.

Displacement may raise professional practice issues that are not addressed in our Collective Agreement. A valid displacement under Article 24.09 may not be appropriate if there are practice issues. RNs who are displaced by the employer into units where they lack appropriate orientation, training or experience, should immediately bring their concerns to their manager’s attention. RNs should also utilize RNU’s professional practice resources and/or consult with the CRNNL for further guidance.

It should be noted that employers are not obligated to displace RNs to facilitate the preference of other employees to work in a given area. Displacement should occur only to meet an employer’s legitimate operational requirements. RNs who refuse displacement may be disciplined by the employer, even if such refusal is justified from a professional practice point of view (with the exception of a proper refusal to work under Occupational Health and Safety processes, if applicable – see myRNU for further information).


The terms displacement and floating are sometimes used interchangeably by the employer and by RNU members. However, these are two distinct concepts with different definitions and associated requirements for each.

Displacement refers to a temporary change of position/work assignment and is appropriate as per Article 24.09 of the CA language, as discussed above. Float positions are positions that are shared between two or more units in a workplace. RNs who are awarded float positions are expected and required to work on multiple units, as defined in the job posting and the letter of appointment, based on the employer’s operational needs. They can be required to float at the employer’s discretion, without regard to the parameters that apply for displacement.

Float RNs would be subject to the displacement language when they are occupying temporary positions, and in some other instances. For example, if a float position is shared between two units, and a need arises on a third unit, the employer may displace the float RN in their turn as per the CA.

The distinction between displacement and float positions is important, as the employer should not displace any employee if the use of other means is expedient, and RNU expects the employer to float available RNs who are required to do so prior to exercising their right to displace under Article 24.09.

Any Collective Agreement and/or professional practice concerns that result from displacement should be brought, using the applicable documentation, to your branch representative, union office and/or your local professional practice committee, as appropriate.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Labour Relations Officer or contact RNU at