Canada’s overworked healthcare sector braces for employees shortages as vaccine mandates loom

VANCOUVER, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Canada’s well being and long-term care industries are bracing for employees shortages and layoffs, as deadlines for vaccine mandates loom throughout the nation, with unions pushing federal and provincial governments to melt hard-line stances.

For hospitals and nursing houses, a scarcity of employees would pressure the already overburdened workforce coping with almost two years of the pandemic. The uncertainty sparked by vaccine mandates underscores the challenges on the street to restoration.

Devon Greyson, assistant professor of public well being on the University of British Columbia, stated officers are steering into uncharted waters with mass vaccine mandates, and it is not clear how employees will reply.

“A shortage of workers can mean people’s health and well being. It’s scary,” Greyson stated.

However, Greyson added, “we’re in an ethical situation where it’s also scary not to ensure that all health workers are vaccinated. So it’s a bit of a Catch-22.”

To sort out workers shortage, no less than one province is providing signing bonuses to nurses. Provinces together with Quebec and British Columbia have made it necessary for healthcare employees and nursing workers to be vaccinated to proceed working of their respective fields.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau additionally unveiled one of many strictest vaccine mandates on this planet final week, saying unvaccinated federal workers shall be despatched on unpaid depart and making COVID-19 pictures necessary for air, prepare and ship passengers. learn extra

Layoffs have are began to hit, with one hospital in southern Ontario final week dumping 57 workers, representing 2.5% of workers, after its vaccine mandate got here into impact. An extended-term care residence in Toronto put 36% of its workers on unpaid depart after they refused to get vaccinated, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.

British Columbia will place workers at its long-term care and assisted dwelling sector on unpaid administrative depart in the event that they fail to get no less than one shot by Monday.

Some 97% of long-term care workers in Vancouver and the encompassing areas have no less than one dose as of Oct. 6, the province stated. But northern B.C. has solely 89% of workers with no less than one dose, though the information was nonetheless being up to date.

The province not too long ago modified the deadline, giving extra time for folks to obtain their second vaccine dose. “It is because we know we have a very limited healthcare resource,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s medical officer, stated.


Quebec is providing C$15,000 bonuses to assist entice and retain about 4,300 full-time nurses. Some 25,000 healthcare employees who’re but not totally vaccinated forward of an Oct. 15 deadline danger suspension with out pay, stated Christian Dubé, the province’s well being minister.

Some 97% of all workers in University Health Network, which operates medical services in and round Toronto, Ontario, has been vaccinated forward of Oct. 22, with efforts underway to search out backup for the remaining.

Daniel Lublin, a Toronto-based employment lawyer, referred to as the mandates “very political” and primarily based on the bulk view that vaccines are good. “The fallout is that it’s another segment of the Canadian workforce that is going to be faced with job loss if they choose not to vaccinate.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents 215,000 federal employees, stated whereas the union helps the federal government’s vaccination stance, its members who don’t get inoculated shouldn’t be punished.

“Especially when remote work options are available that do not jeopardize the health and safety of co-workers and allow our members to continue to serve Canadians,” stated Chris Aylward, PSAC president.

Treasury Board, which oversees the general public administration, is engaged with PSAC and different labor representatives concerning the implementation of the mandate, a authorities supply stated.

Louis Hugo Francescutti, an emergency room doctor in Edmonton, stated he labored with a number of individuals who had been persevering with to refuse vaccination, although it will price them their jobs when the mandate takes impact on Oct. 31.

Alberta has one of many lowest vaccination charges in Canada, and its hospitals have been overwhelmed by the fourth wave.

“We’re so under the water right now that losing a couple of people who don’t want to get vaccinated – it’s going to be sad (but) the impact will be minimal,” Francescutti stated.

(This story was refiled to repair typographical error in headline.)

Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver,
Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal, Steve Scherer and Julie Gordon in Ottawa
Editing by Denny Thomas and Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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