The Ministry of Health is taking strides to reduce the service disruptions that have been seen across the province by expanding eligibility for their one-time Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive of up to 50,000 dollars.
The incentive is meant for individuals hired into nine high-priority classifications in rural and remote locations, including Swift Current.
The intention is to entice employees to empty positions within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) explained Saskatchewan's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors, and Rural and Remote Health, Everett Hindley,
“What we've tried to do is identify communities where they're not operating at full capacity because they're short staffed and so we've tried to determine, what are the designations of the health care workers that they need in these facilities in order to be able to hire people so that they can fully staff these facilities and offer the services they were intending on offering.
“We've got a number of what we call high priority classifications, and these are shortages in these areas where because we don't have these people available at some of these locations, we actually aren't in a position to have them operating at fully staffed.”
The nine high-priority classifications are as follows:
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Practitioner
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Medical Radiation Technologists
- Continuing Care Assistants
- Registered Psychiatric Nurse
- Combined Lab and X-ray Technicians
- Medical Laboratory Technologists
- Medical Laboratory Assistants
Hindley noted that there are variations in the amount an individual is set to receive, based on the job position.
“That's where there's some variance here in the up to $50,000, and that's in return for a three-year return of service of a contract that essentially goes with these. But ultimately, the goal here is to try to find people that we need in these areas where we're short-staffed in any one of these high-priority classifications and find those people so we can resume services fully.”
Eligibility for the incentive now extends to a vaster group of individuals, added Hindley.
“I think what changed with the expanded eligibility was that the biggest changes are considerations for people who might be in different working circumstances that weren't eligible previously,” he elaborated. “So, in order to capture people who might be working already in completing their education, this would capture those people, would make them eligible.
“It would also now include former employees who left before September 7th, that's when we first announced the health Human Resources Act action plan, and these are folks who would like to return to a hard-to-recruit position in one of the targeted rural locations. So, that's a couple of examples of some of the changes that were made here just last week to help expand the eligibility and hopefully make more people eligible for this incentive program.”
Other remote and rural locations include Maple Creek, Estevan, Herbert, Leader, Moose Jaw, Shaunavon, and Weyburn.
Applications are now open and will close on March 1, 2023, or as long as funds last.
To find out if you’re eligible, or to apply for the incentive, click here.