Canadian doctors protest against 'pay raises' in unprecedented move

Laverne Higgins
March 12, 2018

The group say they are offended that they would receive raises when nurses and patients are struggling.

In what may at first seem a unusual call, hundreds of doctors and medical students in Quebec have rejected a pay rise.

The petition said the region's nurses and other professionals face "difficult working conditions" due to "cuts in recent years". "The only thing that seems to be immune to the cuts is our remuneration".

The petition put forth by the medics has so far amassed 742 signatures-420 physicians, 157 resident doctors and 165 medical students.

Last month, Quebec's federation of medical specialists negotiated with the province's health ministry for average annual raises of 1.4 percent through 2023 for about 10,000 specialists.

A physician in Canada is paid Dollars 260,924 for clinical services by the government's Ministry of Health per year on average, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information published in September 2017.

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The media outlet reported that Quebec's health minister, Gaétan Barrette saying the doctors could give up their raise if they want. "But the doctors who are in that position are still the small minority".

Part of what's driving this is the desperate situation Quebec's nurses say they find themselves in.

It comes as evidence showed the amount of money being paid to Quebec's specialist physicians increased by $159,000 between 2009 and 2016, while the number of hours they worked and the number of patients they saw went down. More Support Isabelle Leblan, the president of Médecins québécois pour le régime public, the group that sent the letter, said "It's a tough stand to take".

And while Quebec doctors make more money on average than doctors in other provinces, nurses make less - averaging about $23 per hour to start, compared to $31 in Ontario and $36 in Alberta, according to the Montreal Gazette. "MQRP joins its voices to those of nurses to denounce this unacceptable situation, which affects the quality of care for the Quebec population and weakens our public health system".

Barrette told CBC he's committed to improving the working conditions for nurses. "My health system is sick and dying".

"I am broken by my profession", Ricard writes in her post, which has a picture of her with tears in her eyes and giving a sarcastic thumbs up.

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