The Professional Association of Residents of Newfoundland & Labrador (PARNL) is the official voice for approximately 270 postgraduate medical trainees in Newfoundland & Labrador. Our members are medical school graduates registered at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and completing residency training in hospitals and health care centres throughout the province.
PARNL is the smallest of seven provincial housestaff associations who are members of the Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoc), which represents more than 10,000 physician trainees. PARNL has voting representation on the RDoC Board of Directors, providing resident representation on a variety of national organizations including the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), 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 PARNL 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 various regional health authorities on behalf of the Regional Health Authorities and the provincial Government.
In 1969, a medical school for undergraduate students was officially established at Memorial University of Newfoundland. 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 – our original name) was formed. It was voluntarily recognized by the Newfoundland Hospital Association as a bargaining agent and, since 1973, PARNL has led negotiations on behalf of all residents in the province.
As employees of hospitals, PARNL 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, PARNL 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 PARNL 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 PARNL 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 PARNL members be removed from the realm of the Public Service Act.
The strike was resolved when both parties agreed that PARNL 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 PARNL as the distinct bargaining unit it is today.
In 2016, PARNL underwent a rebranding process due to an overwhelming movement through the country to remove the outdated term “Interns” from the name and be more inclusive of our entire province. Since mid 2016, our organization is officially known as the Professional Association of Residents of Newfoundland & Labrador (PARNL).