The Outaouais continues to lag behind the rest of Quebec in nurse registration
On Wednesday, November 27, The Order of Nurses of Quebec (OIIQ) released their 2018–2019 report detailing the status of the nursing workforce across the province.
In the report, it was noted that, although the nursing workforce in the Outaouais region stands out as the second most qualified in Quebec, behind only Montreal, with 49% of nurses having a bachelor’s degree, the region’s workforce falls behind the rest of the province when it comes to both growth rate and staff retention.
In 2018–2019, the Outaouais was only able to increase the number of nurses by 0.4% compared to the provincial average growth of 1.4%.
Only 70% of the nurses hired in the region between 2009 and 2014 currently remain employed here, five years later, which once again falls behind when compared to the average provincial retention rate of 75%.
According to the report, as of March 31, 2019, 2,270 nurses practiced in the Outaouais region.
In an interview with the Aylmer Bulletin, Pontiac MPP André Fortin expressed that “the situation in the Outaouais has always been different due to our proximity with Ontario. Nurses here are paid less than their counterparts in Ontario, which is a short drive away”.
“The Outaouais’s major problem is employment retention and we’ve known the possible answer to that problem for a while now. Members of the Interprofessional Federation of Health (FIQ) have been asking for better patient to nurse ratios for years. We launched many pilot projects under Gaétan Barrette’s supervision. The final results are coming in December and then it will be up to the current minister (Danielle McCann) to do something,” expressed the Pontiac MPP.
The Outaouais Clause
During the interview, Mr Fortin also put forward that he would support a project like the special “Outaouais clause” proposed by Quebec Solidaire during last year’s election campaign.
Such a clause would allow for nurses in the area to be paid a higher standard rate than elsewhere in the province in order to better compete with the salaries offered on the other side of the Ottawa River.
He also stated that such a clause should be included as well in the current province-wide debate about doctors’ salaries, stating that he fears that the region’s medical specialists could also jump ship to Ontario should the CAQ government decide to massively cut down their wages.