Amid a nursing shortage in Quebec, thousands of nurses in the province could be suspended without pay if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Roughly 15,000 healthcare workers could be suspended without pay beginning on October 15, 2021, according to Health Minister Christian Dube. 

Additionally, the Quebec Order of Nurses has said that it will be suspending nursing licenses of any nurse who is not fully vaccinated beginning on Friday. 

Unvaccinated healthcare workers in Quebec have banded together to challenge the law. According to Natalia Manole, a lawyer who is representing them in court, the nurses believe that alternatives like regular testing can ensure their workplaces remain safe. 

“Most of them are not going to go back to health care if it stays. Some love their jobs and are dedicated; they work so many hours and shifts,” said Manole. 

“(The order) is not reasonable. A decree is supposed to be made in the public interest; our position is that this is not in the public interest.”

At the same time, the Quebec government is hastily attempting to boost the numbers of nurses in the industry by offering bonuses as high as $18,000 due to an urgent staffing shortage. 

“We need you. Quebecers need you,” said Quebec Premier 

The province is currently short of 4,300 nurses and hospitals in Quebec are being forced to cancel surgeries to deal with the shortage. 

Other provinces, including British Columbia, are experiencing a shortage in healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Recently, three BC emergency departments were forced to shutter their doors due to unspecified staffing issues.

Local residents attempting to access the emergency services were either told to dial 911 or attend an emergency room nearly an hour and a half drive away. 

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