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B.C. offers cash, housing help to tempt health care workers into moving north

The province announced $6.38 million in funding to keep health care workers in the north
Northern Health and the Ministry of Health are collaborating on programs to attract and retain health care professionals in northern BC. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Health care workers in northern B.C. are about to receive a boost in support from the provincial government.

On Tuesday, (Sept. 14), the province announced $6.38 million for programs and incentives to encourage more health care workers to live and work in the north.

$3 million of that funding is going to support the health care worker rural retention program for ‘targeted communities and occupations’. The program will offer financial incentives and support for priority health care workers.

Several other projects are underway to attract and retain health care workers in the north.

  • $821,000 has been allocated to continue funding the Travel Resource program that helps cover travel costs for non-emergency medical specialists.
  • A ‘flexible community fund’ of $115,000 has been set up to support interdisciplinary teams and Northern Health to create unique approaches to address rural obstetrics needs and support 24/7 care for their communities and helps stabilize care in the northwest.
  • $225,000 has been allocated to develop a child care program to add child care spaces and expand child care hours to meet the needs of health care workers in Kitimat, Hazelton, Prince Rupert, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
  • $750,000 will go towards a housing program in areas where lack of housing is a barrier to permanent staffing like Robson Valley, Kitimat, Hazelton, Prince Rupert, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
  • $825,000 in funding will go toward launching the Rural Urgent Doctor in-aid 24/7 virtual support pathway for doctors and health care professionals in rural areas.
  • $645,000 will go toward creating clinical management supports for Prince Rupert and the northeast to support new graduates and provide resources for management competency development.

Some of the programs can begin immediately, while others will require strategic planning and contractors before they can begin. The province anticipates that these programs will exceed the $6.38 million in funding.

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Black Press Media Staff

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