Quebec’s health minister announced this week that nurses in Nunavik will soon see new retention bonuses. (File photo) Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nurses who work in Nunavik are set to receive a big boost in their annual retention bonuses.

The bonuses are set to increase by 21.43 per cent, from $14,000 to $17,000, Christian Dubé, Quebec’s health minister, announced Wednesday in a French news release.

For nurses working in “more remote” parts of the region, bonuses are increasing from $20,447 to $24,829.

The announcement includes several other new measures.

Nurses who have worked half a year will be eligible for six trips out of their community annually, up from four.

Also, southern nurses will have more opportunities to go on leave from their employers to take temporary nursing positions in Nunavik.

Dubé also touted a previously announced plan to build 150 new housing units to accommodate staff.

“The measures will make it possible to attract new resources, but also to retain those who are already helping us on the ground,” Dubé said.

“Improving the conditions to attract more qualified personnel will improve access to quality health care for the citizens of Nunavik.”

The Interprofessional Federation of Health of Quebec, the union that represents nurses across the province, described the new measure as a victory in what has been a year-long battle to address staffing shortages and burnout-inducing working conditions at Nunavik health centres.

“They have mobilized over the past few months and finally, they have been heard by the Government of Quebec,” said Julie Bouchard, the union’s president, in a French statement.

“This is good news for the health-care professionals, but also for the people who live in these communities.”

Last year, the union that represents nurses in Nunavik’s Hudson Bay communities began sounding the alarm about clinics being understaffed and employees overworked.

Earlier this year, Hudson nurses walked off the job to protest a lack of improvement in their working conditions.

Shortly after that, they launched a petition demanding intervention from the Quebec government.

After a period of mediation talks, the Inuulitsivik Health Centre said it was looking to offer a new range of employee benefits such as shorter working periods, which would allow southern staff to return home frequently.

“The enhancement of this attraction bonus by the government is very good news both for our health personnel, whom we want to keep, but also for the population, which can count on new resources,” said Denis Lamothe, the member of the national assembly for Ungava.

“I enthusiastically welcome this agreement in principle and I invite health-care professionals who want to join us not to hesitate to do so.”

By Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 17, 2023 at 08:16

This item reprinted with permission from   Nunatsiaq News   Iqaluit, Nunavut
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