In a recent conversation for Discover Humboldt’s upcoming Year in Review article, Humboldt-Lanigan MLA Donna Harpauer noted that the government had evolved a response plan for health care in the past year. One of the key components focused on recruiting qualified health care personnel from overseas. The Sask Party government is working to fulfill that goal through a recent trip taken to the Philippines as part of its overall Health Human Resources Action Plan. A targeted recruitment mission was led by Health Minister Paul Merriman, and it's one that has seen results. 

A provincial government release states that A total of 161 job offers have been made to Filipino health care workers to join Saskatchewan's health care system: 138 Registered Nurses, 21 Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) and two Medical Lab Assistants. One CCA from the Philippines has already started working in Moose Jaw.

Conditional employment offers were made by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to 129 qualified candidates from in-person interviews. This includes 128 Registered Nurses and one Continuing Care Assistant. Additional job interviews have been conducted virtually with Filipino Registered Nurses with another 10 conditional offers being extended. 

"Our government is committed to strengthening and building a more robust health care workforce in Saskatchewan, and it's critical that we work closely with our partners here in Saskatchewan and overseas to ensure progress continues," Health Minister Paul Merriman said. "I want to thank Mr. Zaldy Patron, the Consul-General of the Philippines to Canada, for his continued leadership with this initiative. I look forward to seeing more of our ambitious plans followed up with actions in the New Year."

Recruitment for remote and rural areas has remained problematic. To provide more opportunities for health care professionals, eligibility has recently been expanded for the Saskatchewan Rural and Remote Recruitment Incentive of up to $50,000 for a three-year return-in-service agreement. This incentive is available to new employees in nine high priority positions in rural and remote areas, including SHA employees who have completed an education program in one of these priority classifications.

"Our plan is delivering on what we have been hearing from front-line health care workers," Minister of Rural and Remote Health Everett Hindley said. "They wanted to see more permanent jobs, more full-time work and we are seeing progress in many centres across Saskatchewan by bolstering resources. I'm pleased our Rural and Remote Incentive is generating a lot of interest, and I look forward to more progress in this area." 

As of late November, the Ministry of Health has received over 600 applications from internationally educated health care workers within Saskatchewan and Canada. Options are being considered for bridging and educational programs for these candidates.

Further details on the action plan are available on the government’s website.