RACHEL NOTLEY WILL OFFER BONUSES & BETTER TRAINING TO HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, ADD 10,000 HEALTH-RELATED POST-SECONDARY SPACES
CALGARY – Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley has rolled out her plan to attract more frontline healthcare workers, train them faster, and deliver better healthcare for Albertans.
On Saturday, Notley announced that an Alberta NDP Government would offer signing bonuses of up to $10,000 to attract doctors, nurses, and other allied health professionals to Alberta to help with the overwhelming crisis being faced in hospitals across the province.
Notley also committed to offering better training and career pathways to prospective medical students and providing income support while they complete their studies.
An Alberta NDP Government will also create up to 10,000 new post-secondary spaces specific to healthcare and related fields over the next three years.
“The UCP have a plan to sell off hospitals, but we have a plan to staff them,” Notley said.
“We will solve the healthcare crisis and empower Albertans to choose meaningful and respected careers in health care, in communities right across Alberta.
“Our plan will attract skilled professionals from around the world – because we have the best team-based care, the best hospitals, the best schools, the best quality of life, and the strongest economy.”
The Alberta NDP plan for recruiting health care workers will encourage more Albertans to choose health care as a preferred field of study, leading to a meaningful career making life better for Alberta patients. Health care workers will be treated with respect.
Annually, $70 million will be dedicated to signing bonuses for attracting frontline healthcare. As well, $375 million will be invested over three years to add the spaces in schools across the province.
The new post-secondary seats in health are part of the Alberta NDP’s plan to create 30,000 new post-secondary spaces, a goal supported by Government of Alberta analysis showing that tens of thousands of young Albertans will enter the post-secondary system over the next four years.
“We must stop the brain drain and keep our future leaders here in Alberta,” said Notley.
The UCP chased away doctors, nurses and allied health professions while creating a crisis in health care. More Alberta hospitals are closed due to staffing shortages, kids are waiting 15 hours in emergency rooms, and Albertans are driving 300 kilometres to get care.
“Enough is enough,” said Notley. “It’s time for better health care for all Albertans.”
Under the Alberta NDP plan, more internationally trained health professionals and international medical graduates (IMGs) will be recruited, trained and provided with pathways to practice in Alberta, so more Albertans can get the care they need in their communities.
The international credentialing process will also be streamlined to ensure accessibility and fairness and upholding high-quality standards.
“I moved to Canada in 2020 with my husband and children because Canada needs more doctors,” said Eman Ali, a doctor who trained in Egypt. “I chose Alberta specifically because I was told it had a clear process for internationally trained doctors to practice medicine.”
The distribution of post-secondary seats for healthcare programs will be determined in collaboration with the Healthcare Recruitment and Retention Advisory Council.
This council will include post-secondary institutions, sector unions, healthcare representatives and government officials and will also develop immediate recommendations to recruit and retain healthcare workers. As part of this plan, competitive retention and recruitment incentives will be explored.
“We have internationally trained doctors currently in Alberta waiting on the sidelines – ready to work,” Notley said. “Danielle Smith will try to say that why I’m proposing can’t be done, but it’s actually she either refuses to do this or can’t.
“The Alberta NDP has the will. We have the determination, and we will do everything in our power to end the crisis in healthcare.”
We will fund 30,000 new post-secondary spaces over four years. We will target up to 10,000 spaces to health care programs to meet the growing need for health care aides, paramedics, nurses, doctors, and other allied health professionals.
We will work with post-secondary institutions to determine the distribution of the remaining spaces, which will target sectors experiencing skills and labour shortages including technology and skilled trades.
We invest $375 million in the first 3 years for new post-secondary seats across the province.
Fair and Transparent Pathway for Internationally Trained Health Workers
We will break down barriers for internationally trained health professionals and medical graduates, and make the credentialing process more accessible, fair, and transparent.
For international medical graduates (physicians) who meet established standards of training and care, we will:Double the number of residency spaces IMGs are eligible for, and increase transparency and competitiveness of the whole program.Eliminate the need for repeated bi-annual language exams when IMGs have been working in their field in English. Fund additional health care positions that match internationally trained workers’ qualifications, while offering access to bridging education. This will improve access to care for patients while allowing workers to get the experience needed to qualify for medical residencies.
Additional Recruitment and Retention Measures
Our government will come to the table with health care workers, listen to their priorities, and offer the incentives that would make the biggest difference for them and their families.
We will ensure Alberta compensation and working models are competitive with those in other provinces. This could include improved work/life balance, for example, the ability to take vacations, staff-to-patient ratios, and fair compensation and flexible funding models. It will also include incentives for those who choose to learn and work in rural and remote communities.
We will invest $70 million annually in signing bonuses to attract doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
Healthcare Retention and Recruitment Advisory Council
To support and plan recruitment and training, we will establish a Healthcare Retention and Recruitment Advisory Council. This will include post-secondary institutions, sector unions, healthcare representatives and government officials to identify greatest need now and into the future. This group will recommend actions, post-secondary seat allocations and residencies, as well as other immediate and long-term measures.