Raiding of Quebec nurses by Ontario: a “worried” union

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The Outaouais Care Professionals Union fears an “incredible” exodus to Ontario in the wake of the Ford government's invitation to join the Ontario health system. (File photo)

The promise of the Ford government to considerably relax the rules related to the movement of professionals between the provinces is of great concern to the Syndicat des professionales en Soins de l'Outaouais (SPSO). According to the latter, hundreds of nurses could go into exile in Ontario.

The exodus is going to be incredible, says Myriam Desrochers, head of mobilization at the SPSO. She says the health care system in the Outaouais will suffer.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Thursday unveiled new rules allowing nurses from other provinces to start working immediately in his province. [Nurses] will not have to worry about red tape to work in Ontario, he said at a press conference.

Right now, the situation in the Outaouais is already worrying. We can see for months, years that it is always the shortage of personnel that comes back in the media. It's just going to contribute to the staffing shortage. […] We are really worried about all our regions, continues Ms. Desrocher.

“It's not with the bonuses that we're going to be able to retain our healthcare professionals in the region. »

— Myriam Desrochers, mobilization manager for the Outaouais Healthcare Professionals Union

After Ontario, it's New Brunswick's turn to roll out the red carpet for nurses. New Brunswick offers up to $20,000 in bonuses and reimbursement of moving expenses to new nurses who want to leave Quebec. Many fear that this will further weaken the health network. Mathieu Nadon discusses it with Myriam Desrochers of the SPSO.

The union spokesperson maintains that the money that Quebec grants to the Outaouais under its special status is used to finance concrete and certain services instead of being used as a staff retention measure.

While the process of negotiations with Quebec has just begun, the union notes that the government's offer is really the opposite of the demands we make. The CAQ's proposal is clearly not formulated with a view to attraction, she laments.

The union expected, after three years of pandemic, to a better approach from the government.

With information from Mathieu Nadon

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