FIR Labour Relations Ltd. acts as sponsor of the industry negotiated extended health care plan for USW employees in a similar fashion to the Dental Plan. There are no joint trustees but there is an ASO contract with Pacific Blue Cross, which operates and administers the Plan. The Plan provides protection against expenses not covered by the basic Medical Services Plan, including expenses for prescription drugs, physiotherapy ,emergency ambulance services, out of province emergency care and vision care to the extent of $250 per person per 24 month period.

Most employers were covered during 2008-2010 by a direct -pay card (“Blue-Net”) arrangement which was connected to a “prescription drug formulary “. This formulary generally restricted the drugs eligible for reimbursement to a list provided by the provincial government’s Pharmacare program. In 2010 Negotiations between Western Forest Products and the USW, the formulary was dropped in favour of a drug plan without Pharmacare restrictions but with a $5 per prescription deductible. Subsequently, FIR Ltd. ,bargaining on behalf of its member companies, and other companies bargaining separately agreed to follow the Western – USW pattern on drug coverage. This has resulted in a more costly plan than the Pharmacare Formulary Plan, so Extended Health Care Premiums increased significantly during the two years following the return to an open (non-formulary) drug plan.



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