Quebec offers healthcare workers bonuses to fight staffing shortages

With thousands of Quebec's healthcare workers not reporting to work, the government introduced new financial incentives on Thursday to cut down on staffing shortages.

Premier Francois Legault said the new incentives are aimed at retaining personnel and encouraging part-time workers to go full-time.

Around 11,600 workers have turned up absent from Quebec's healthcare system. Of those that remain. 50 per cent are part-time only, a number that goes up to 60 per cent in long-term care facilities.

Included in the incentives are a rising scale of bonuses that increase depending on the number of weeks worked and location. An employee who works full-time for one month in a COVID-infected CHSLD or private seniors' residence with at least one case of the virus, or in a hospital hot zone, would receive a bonus of $1,000 per month on top of their salary.

The bonuses are available to nurses, auxiliary workers, respiratory therapists, orderlies and cleaning staff.

Further bonuses are available to healthcare workers from cold zones outside of Montreal who are willing to come to the city. Those that volunteer would receive an additional $2,000 on top of their salaries and the other incentives.

Quebec Treasury Board President Christian Dube said he understands the fear but hopes the money, on top of adequate personal protective equipment, will help alleviate the staffing shortages.

“What we're hearing on the ground is if they realize they're well-protected and it's not too bad, we would like to have this bonus and, honestly, having a 30 to 40 per cent increase is huge.” 

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