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PAIRN is the voice of postgraduate medical trainees in Newfoundland and Labrador and advocates for the collective interests of residents on educational, professional and well-being issues.
To be recognized as a cohesive provincial medical organization with a unified membership that advocates for all residents in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Professional Association of Internes and Residents of Newfoundland (PAIRN) is the official voice for approximately 260 postgraduate medical trainees in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our members are medical school graduates registered at Memorial University of Newfoundland and completing residency training in hospitals and health care centres throughout the province.
PAIRN is the smallest of seven provincial housestaff associations who are members of the Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoc), which represents more than 9,000 physician trainees. PAIRN has two voting representatives on the RDoC Board of Directors, providing resident representation on a variety of national organizations including the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
Postgraduate medical trainees have a unique role as students, employees, teachers and providers in the health care system. The primary role of PAIRN is to advocate on their behalf to improve salaries and benefits as well as ensuring the rights, interests and well-being of our members. This is accomplished through the negotiation and enforcement of the collective agreement, which governs the scale of remuneration and working conditions for our members. The collective agreement is negotiated with the Newfoundland and Labrador Health Boards Association on behalf of Eastern Health and the provincial government.
In 1969, a medical school for undergraduate students was officially established at Memorial University. It was followed by postgraduate training and continuing medical education in 1970. Three years later, the Professional Association of Internes and Residents of Newfoundland (PAIRN) was formed. It was voluntarily recognized by the Newfoundland Hospital Association as a bargaining agent and, since 1973, PAIRN has led negotiations on behalf of all residents in the province.
As employees of hospitals, PAIRN members were originally designated as falling under the Public Service (Collective Bargaining) Act, 1973. That changed following a strike in 1982. During collective bargaining that year, PAIRN advocated for the right of binding arbitration as the preferred method of final dispute settlement rather than the right to strike or lockout. It was opposed by the Newfoundland Hospital Association and led PAIRN members to strike.
A task force was appointed to review the situation and to make recommendations for collective bargaining procedures. The task force concluded that PAIRN members did not equate with other classes of employees covered by the Act because of their unique role as having an academic relationship co-existing with their employment. It recommended that PAIRN members be removed from the realm of the Public Service Act.
The strike was resolved when both parties agreed that PAIRN had the right to the services of a conciliation board before the right to strike or lockout would occur. It also led to a new act in 1984 that was separate from the Public Service Act. Legislation was enacted to provide collective bargaining rights for residents and internes, while recognizing PAIRN as the distinct bargaining unit it is today.