Fresh Takes

Reducing Bureaucracy to Attract More Nurses

Is changing a Quebecer’s bandage very different from changing a Manitoban’s?

The reason for the question is that if a Manitoba nurse wanted to come and ply her trade in Quebec, she or he would have to go through a whole new accreditation process with the Ordre des Infirmières et Infirmiers du Québec before being allowed to help a patient—even though Quebec has a shortage of nurses, as the government of François Legault admits.

Quebec is not alone in imposing these bureaucratic restrictions on medical personnel who wish to move to another province. Currently, every Canadian province requires accredited nurses from other parts of the country to go through the accreditation process again with the local college of nurses.

Ontario wants to shake things up, though. Doug Ford’s government has just introduced a bill that would allow health care workers accredited in other Canadian provinces to practise their profession in Ontario without having to go through the local accreditation process.

This bill, if it becomes law in February, will have a doubly beneficial effect on the province’s health care system. It will make it simpler to increase the health care labour force in order to treat more patients and reduce the pressure that currently weighs on health professionals in the system, which will improve working conditions as well as the quality of services provided to patients.

Given the shortage of nurses acknowledged by Quebec and the daily fact of mandatory overtime for the province’s nurses, we should take a page from what Ontario is doing right now. Needless to say, it would be a boon for the tens of thousands of Quebecers currently waiting for medical treatment.

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