Why do these doctors in Canada are rejecting a pay rise?

Why do these doctors in Canada are rejecting a pay rise?


Why would someone reject a pay raise?

For doctors in Quebec, in Canada, it is very simple: to get better care for the patient.

An agreement reached this February after eight years of discussions will lead to 20,000 of the medical specialists and GPs in the Canadian province receiving a salary increase of 1.4% to 1.8% per year.

This will cause the province, which subsidizes most of the doctors’ salaries, to have a new burden: about US 1.2 billion by 2023.

It is a fair agreement , according to the unions that represent the professionals, who pushed for the raise.

Although not all doctors support him: more than 700 signed a petition from the collective Médecins Québécois Pour le Régime Public explaining that they did not want the raise and that they preferred that the extra money be dedicated to the care of patients and other services.

The group represents doctors from the province who strongly support public health .

Quebec City HospitalCopyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Canada’s public system is under heavy scrutiny.

That they “cancel”

“The doctors of Quebec ask that the salary increases granted be canceled and that those resources of the system be destined to improve the situation of the other workers of the health and medical services at the level of the citizens of Quebec”, explains the published letter on February 26.

In a matter of weeks, the number of signatures went from 250 to more than 700, out of a total of 20,000 doctors in Quebec.

His request for public funds to be distributed in a fairer manner occurs at a time when the public health system is under great scrutiny.

A recent independent report sponsored by the Quebec Health and Welfare Commission concluded that doctors’ salaries doubled between 2005 and 2015 , while the hours family doctors spent on patients fell.

The nurses, in struggle

Meanwhile, nurses in the province struggle to improve their conditions. An image of an exhausted-faced nurse posted on Facebook went viral and was shared more than 50,000 times in January.

“I’m so stressed that I have back problems that do not let me sleep, I do not want to go to work because I feel overwhelmed by the work that awaits me,” wrote Émilie Ricard, who explained that she was alone taking care of 70 patients in a single shift. .

“I go home and I start crying from fatigue.”

Both the report and the crisis of the nurses caused many doctors in the province to feel ” embarrassed ” by their salaries, points out Dr. Isabelle Leblanc, president of the group that published the letter signed by the doctors, Médecins Québécois Pour le Régime Public.

Between the surprise and the praises

What happened generated great attention both in Canada and in other countries.

Washington Post journalist Amy B Wang defined the letter as a “completely Canadian” action.

In Kenya, the doctors’ request was met with surprise , especially after last year the doctors of this country staged a three-month strike to improve their salaries.

“It’s almost unheard of for a worker to complain about a high salary,” said an article in the Kenyan newspaper The Standard .

Medical illustration.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES imageImage caption Not all health workers are in the same conditions.

In Canada, doctors in Quebec have been praised by public officials , although some of their colleagues have remained silent.

“If they feel they are paid a lot, they can leave the money on the table, I can guarantee that I will put it to good use,” said provincial health officer Gaétan Barrette.

The unions representing doctors in Quebec did not publicly position themselves on the petition.

A different system between provinces

In Canada, healthcare is public and managed by provincial governments, which means that salaries can vary between areas .

The average salary of a doctor in the country was US 339,000 per year, according to the most recent data published by the Health Information Institute of Canada.

In Ontario, the largest Canadian province, the average that a specialist charges is about US $ 314,600. In Quebec, they are US $ 286,200.

MontrealCopyright of the GETTY IMAGESimageImage caption Worker conditions vary between provinces. Image of Montreal, in Quebec.

In contrast, a family doctor in Quebec earns about US $ 200,000, while in Ontario they charge about US $ 242,000.

The refusal of doctors to raise their salary is not shared with professionals from the sector in other areas.

The Medical Association of Ontario, for example, has been fighting for higher wages for years.

The province has cut its salary twice in three years and the association has not yet negotiated a new contract with the government.

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Rava Desk

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