Recruitment trip to Philippines touted as success; 350 health care workers eyed for jobs in Manitoba

Manitoba’s health minister is touting a recent trip to the Philippines to recruit hundreds of new nurses as a success.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon said the province recently sent a delegation of health care leaders and a Shared Health recruitment team to the Philippines to attract more registered nurses and health care aides to Manitoba.

It is all part of an effort to address the health care system shortages in the province.

“That delegation had one message: Manitoba is the destination of choice for trained health care providers from around the world,” Gordon said on Wednesday.

“We are extremely pleased with the quality and qualifications of the candidates we met and offered the vast majority of applicants a letter of interest for employment, moving them to the next stage in the process,” said Ken Borce, a member on the recruitment mission.

Gordon said the delegation handed out nearly 350 letters of intent, including nearly 150 letters to registered nurses, 50 licensed practical nurse equivalents, and 110 health care aides during the recent mission.

Those applicants will receive further help with the immigration and settlement process.

But Manitoba’s opposition was critical of the plan.

“We cannot forget that there are many internationally trained nurses, health care professionals in the province right now who are having difficulty getting to work at the bedside,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said the plan is the same as one undertaken in 1999, where 20 people chose to immigrate and only six stayed. Beyond that, Lamont said there are ethical issues with the recruitment of nurses from the Philippines, a country he says is also facing a staffing shortage.

Gordon said Canada and the Philippines have a longstanding ‘give-and-take’ relationship.

“We are in talks at the moment with the Philippine government as well as the Canadian government on how we can give back to the Philippines,” she said.

Gordon added this recruitment push is just one part of Manitoba’s overall health human resources action plan. 

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