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Nurses |  Is it seniority that scares young people?

Nurses | Is it seniority that scares young people?

We often hear about the difficult working conditions of nurses, especially young ones. Among other things, young nurses cannot benefit from the advantaged work hours of older nurses, gained through union seniority.


However, last week the Economic Institute of Montreal (IEDM) published alarming data about young people under 35 abandoning the profession.

While 100 young nurses are entering the profession in Quebec, 40 are leaving it. This has been going on for several years. The MEI numbers, which I verified, were calculated from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) databases.⁠1.

In Ontario and British Columbia, the youth departure rate is also high, but not as high. The proportion was 31% in British Columbia and 34% in Ontario, compared to 40% in Quebec for the same year in 2021, according to CIHI figures.

What are the reasons for these departures? Among those mentioned by ICIS, it concerns career change, family reasons and promotion, among others.

For the IEDM, one of the reasons for this departure is the rigidity of collective labor agreements and, in particular, the disadvantages faced by young people from union seniority.

“Because shifts and schedules are rarely favorable to them, younger nurses are required to work mandatory overtime and are subject to relatively more stressful working conditions overall,” says Emmanuel P. Faubert, an economist at the IEDM Institute, a right-wing think tank. “It can be a source of stress within employees and lead to professional burnout.”

MEI is not the first to make such an observation. Former Health Minister Gaetan Barret explained to me that in order to minimize service interruptions in the summer, he tried to fill nurses’ shifts in the French-speaking sector. By proposing to distribute vacations differently, but he objected to these seniority rules.

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“It was a complete no-no. However, we have to share the unfavorable working hours and help balance work and family. Some nurses told me that they never had time off in July and August after 20 years of seniority.

A former network executive who worked in Quebec and Ontario told me about some differences with Ontario. In the neighboring province, skill takes precedence over seniority when posting positions, which improves work efficiency.

As for vacations, it is the head nurse who plans them, not the rules of seniority that dictate them. Nurses who take their leave in July or August of one year will take it in June or September of the following year. Share for kids and adults.

Seniority is certainly not the only reason young people leave. Certainly, seniority rules have a reason to exist. But isn’t there a way to adapt? After all, older nurses end up bearing an increased burden when younger nurses leave the profession.

Isn’t there a way for unions to relax their rules so we can improve the ultimate well-being of the network and the patient?

* * *

Photo by Marco Campanozzi, press archive

A recent study by Statistics Canada found that rents often include fewer items in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. This difference explains part of the gap.

My rent is better than yours

Rents are generally less expensive in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada, but are we comparing apples with apples?

A recent study by Statistics Canada found that rents often include fewer items in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. This difference explains part of the gap.

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In Quebec, only 23% of rents include household appliances, a figure that is 71% in Ontario and about 75% in British Columbia and Alberta.

A similar observation is observed for electricity (22% included in Quebec, compared to 42% in Ontario) or air conditioning (13% in Quebec compared to 27% in Ontario).

According to Statistics Canada, this difference in inclusion has an impact on the level of rents. In 2021, the average monthly rent was $1,290 in Ontario, compared to $800 in Quebec, a difference of $490. However, these inclusions explain $111 of the $490 rent difference between the two counties, or nearly a quarter.

More precisely, having air-conditioned housing explains $41 of the $490 difference between the two provinces and home appliances, or $34, according to Statistics Canada.

The median rent in British Columbia is even higher, at $1,370, a difference of $570 with Quebec (2021 numbers). Of this amount, $62 is explained by whether home appliances are included or not.

The agency did not say why there were fewer listings in Quebec. However, Statistics Canada data suggests that the size of buildings can play a role, as some larger buildings may be equipped with central heating and air conditioning, for example, which is generally not the case for smaller complexes, of which there are many in Montreal. .

Another hypothesis of my own: Quebec’s established rent-setting mechanism, which has been in place since 1981, could have encouraged landlords to exclude certain items from the base rent, in order to compensate for small increases in income.

1. This rate is not obtained through collective monitoring, but rather by comparing young people who left the profession in a given year compared to those who entered it.

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