Ottawa, Ontario, Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory – Indigenous Services Canada
Nursing shortages are impacting health care delivery across the country, with frontline workers taking on tremendous workloads and burdens as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce continue. In many Indigenous remote and isolated communities, these impacts are exacerbated, posing challenges not only for staffing but for community health and safety as well.
Nurses working in remote and isolated communities are some of the most resourceful and resilient health care professionals across Canada. In acknowledgement of their efforts and the current challenges in staffing, the Government of Canada and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada have reached an agreement to increase the existing recruitment and retention allowances for Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) nurses working in these locations.
This increase will take effect starting September 1, 2022, and continue through to March 31, 2025, or when a new collective agreement is reached-whichever comes first. It will be provided to both full- and part-time ISC nurses delivering critical services in remote and isolated First Nations communities in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
Moving forward, the agreement provides the following:
- Triple the initial recruitment allowance, from $2,250 to $6,750
- Triple the allowance provided after twelve months of employment, from $3,250 to $9,750
- Triple the annual retention allowance, from $5,500 to $16,500
This agreement applies to the 50 remote and isolated communities where ISC nurses are located: Ontario (24), Manitoba (21), Alberta (4), and Quebec (1).
It is essential now more than ever to ensure nurses are available and accessible to Indigenous Peoples living in remote and isolated locations. We recognize the effects that staffing challenges at health centres and nursing stations in remote and isolated communities can have on First Nations communities. As such, ISC continues to work closely with Indigenous partners, communities and leaders to pursue timely solutions to raise staffing levels and maintain the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.