August 16, 2022 — 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.
For more information on applications for nursing positions in communities, please visit Indigenous Services Canada's website at Apply for nursing jobs in First Nations communities.
"All of us rely on the care of nurses and frontline health care workers. Over these past two years, they have worked so hard to get us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, health care workers are tired, and the health sector is struggling. The impact of the health care worker shortage can often be greater in remote and isolated First Nations, impacting not only health care delivery, but overall community health and well-being. We need to recruit and retain these amazing workers who serve so many Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada is providing a significant increase to compensation for Indigenous Services Canada nurses in remote and isolated communities through to 2025. This is an important step forward as we work to make sure we have a robust health care workforce for rural and remote nursing in Indigenous communities."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
"Nurses work relentlessly to keep remote communities healthy under the most challenging of circumstances. We applaud this step forward to recognize and fairly compensate them for their dedication, and continue to advocate for improved working conditions and pay for all frontline workers."
President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)
"We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada to help address challenges with the recruitment and retention of Indigenous Services Canada nurses. This will improve critical services in remote and isolated First Nations communities as well as encourage recruitment of nurses who wish to make a positive impact in First Nations health care."
The Honourable Mona Fortier
President of the Treasury Board
"As the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for Indigenous Services Canada and a registered nurse for 32 years, I know that nursing holds a unique place in our country's health care systems. After years of witnessing the impact nurses have had on the safety and well-being of First Nations communities, I am more than pleased to announce these increases to our recruitment and retention allowances. These increases provide an additional tool to encourage nurses to join our incredible team in one of the most challenging and rewarding nursing roles in Canada."
Deputy Chief Nursing Office, Indigenous Services Canada
This increase will take effect starting September 1, 2022, and continue through to March 31, 2025, or when a new collective agreement is reached.
Communities impacted by the agreement are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and Quebec.
On a daily basis, approximately 223 nurses are required to meet established operational levels. The majority of ISC nurses in remote and isolated locations work on a part-time rotational basis.
As of June 30, ISC directly employed 839 nurses working in frontline community positions in our two hospitals and in management and practice support roles across the country.
ISC has a Nursing Health Human Resources Framework aimed to comprehensively bolster recruitment and retention through implementing plans established under five specific commitments:
- Talent Acquisition and Management
- Modernize the Practice Environment
- Ensure the Well-being of the Workforce
- Become a Labour Workforce Influencer
- Maintain a Nimble and Agile Surge Response
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Toll-free: 1-855-TBS-9-SCT (1-855-827-9728)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 613-369-9371
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)
Join the conversation about Indigenous Peoples in Canada: