Canadian Doctors: No Raise if Other Caregivers Suffer 

Doctors in Quebec refuse pay raise and ask that the money be used to improve conditions for nurses and health care system overall. The move is seen as an act of solidarity and comes after nurses in the province showed anger over conditions with sit-ins and social media postings.

By Staff Writer

Sometimes making more money is not the end goal, at least not for some doctors in Canada.

Roughly 700 doctors in Quebec, according to a Washington Post article, signed an online petition saying they couldn’t in good conscience accept pay raises of 1.4 percent. At least not while other departments in the hospital suffered from cutbacks.

The petitioners, as part of the Médecins Québécois Pour le Régime Public (MRQP), said the move was done to support their compatriots and the industry as a whole. The petition was started on Feb 25 by health advocates and doctors concerned with public health care system.

MQRP physicians said they believe in a public health system that offers a better environment for all workers. This includes nurses and clerks, which according to the MQRP, suffer from poor working conditions, the Post reports.

And they are not wrong.

Nursing shortages

A nursing union in Quebec requested the government address a nursing shortage and limit the number of patients a nurse must attend to in a day. Nursing concerns in Quebec have led to a number of sit-ins recently.

Tearful online viral videos of nurses detailing difficult conditions, such as having to attend to more than 70 patients during a night shift, have highlighted the situation.

One nurse, Emelie Ricard, details difficult conditions such as helping families of dying patients while juggling a heavy workload. Conditions are causing many nurses to leave the industry and Ricard said she is “broken” and ashamed of the quality of care she provides.

Doctor see raises

The act of solidarity by the MQRP physicians came as the government approved a pay raise for the roughly 10,000 practitioners in Quebec. They are already paid more than $407,000 in Canadian dollars, which is nearly $50,000 more than their counterparts in neighboring Ontario.

A representative from MQRP said the money from the raise, totaling $700 million for physicians across the province, should be spread around the health care system. This would help level the playing field for all care givers.

Quebec’s health minister, Gaetan Barrette, told the Canadian Broadcast Corp. that if doctors are going to “leave money on the table,” than the government could spread it around to other departments. But, no plans have been made to do so at this time.

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