Saskatchewan, Canada hiring nurses from PH but unions say it’s not enough
The Saskatchewan Health Authority will hire 150 permanent, full-time nursing and laboratory staff from the Philippines this year to shore up its capacity, but trade union leaders say that’s not enough in the face of the worsening pandemic.
Barbara Cape president of SEIU-West, told The Star Phoenix that there are more than 1,000 job vacancies in the SHA, many of them on a “hard to recruit” list.
As of 2016, Statistics Canada estimated nearly a quarter of nurse aides, orderlies and similar professionals in Saskatchewan were immigrants. The same study found nearly 30% of such professionals across Canada were Filipino, the vast majority women.
Cape said many staff from the Philippines who came in 2008 did not stay, because workplaces were not ready to help them get used to working in a radically different environment.
Moreover, foreign nurses have a hard being accredited and often must work jobs for which they are overqualified. Hiring drives should offer a way to get equivalent credentials and, ideally, for people to establish permanent residency and citizenship.
“We could not be without our Filipino nurses,” Saskatchewan Union of Nurses President Tracy Zambory told The Star Phoenix. “They are a gigantic asset and we could not run without them. We just have to make sure that we are taking lessons from the past.”