Nurses being offered $10,000 bonus for joining Niagara Region long-term care

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Published June 14, 2021 at 8:30 pm


Nurses are in such high demand for long-term care (LTC) facilities that the Niagara Region is offering a $10,000 bonus to any nurse who signs up for a one-year commitment.

A report to the Niagara Region Public Health and Social Services Committee, prepared by Henri Koning, the director of senior services within the Community Services, indicates that the need for registered nurses, nurse practitioners and registered practical nurses is so dire that the region finds itself in the position of having to add cash incentives on top of regular salaries.

“The long-term care sector has faced significant recruitment challenges due to the current nursing and personal support worker (PSW) shortage across Ontario,” said Koning.

While the Province has been having well-publicized problems with countless LTC facilities around Ontario, their efforts to lessen the issues by adding more personal hours to individual seniors may make the situation even harder.

Koning noted in the report, “The provincial staffing plan to increase staffing levels to four hours per resident per day, although welcomed, further exacerbates previously long-standing recruitment challenges.”

The incentive program was created by the Province and offered to all municipalities as a way of attracting nurses back into the workforce. As such, there is a catch. Applicants cannot have been in the nursing system for the past six months. In effect, that would prevent a presently working nurse from jumping ship into the Niagara Region LTC system for a quick cash bonus.

However, recent graduates of Personal Support Workers (PSW) programs are also being lured through something called the Personal Support Worker Return of Service Initiative with a smaller cash bonus but a shorter commitment term.

“This program is designed to attract newly-graduated Personal Support Workers to work in long-term care homes,” said Koning. “This initiative provides a $5,000 incentive to recent PSW graduates in exchange for a six-month commitment to an eligible long-term care employer.”

Koning’s report will be presented at the June 15th Public Health and Social Service Committee at the Niagara Region’s headquarters in Thorold.

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