B.C. offers incentives like child care to recruit health-care workers

Health-care worker Nalini Persaud looks at her clipboard in the dialysis unit as she audits different health units for hand hygiene and sanitization at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The British Columbia government is offering nurses and other health-care professionals incentives like child care and support for housing and travel as part of a recruitment drive in the northern region.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the aim is to get more health-care workers to move to the north and stay there as many parts of the country experience a shortage of nurses in particular.

However, he did not provide a timeline for when some of the programs would be launched, including one offering virtual visits with doctors and other health-care professionals in rural communities.

Dix says workforce challenges have been exacerbated in the northern health region as it deals with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the province, but recruitment has traditionally been more difficult there.

He says the province's first priority is to ensure all health-care workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of a mandatory requirement starting Oct. 26 in order to prevent outbreaks in health-care facilities that would then have more staffing shortages.

Dix says the government will be working with the nurses union as well as the provincial association of doctors and groups representing other health-care workers.