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CANADA: Quebec Doctors Turn Down Salary Increment

By Published March 08, 2018

The default scenario in a workplace is workers demanding a pay rise, a demand that sometimes result in industrial actions but in Canada, the reverse is the case as more than 500 resident doctors and over 150 medical students signed a public letter protesting against their own pay raises in solidarity with Nurses and patients.

“We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,”the letter read.

The group say they are offended that they would receive raises when nurses and patients are struggling.

“These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years and the centralization of power in the Ministry of Health,”

“The only thing that seems to be immune to the cuts is our remuneration,” the letter further said.

The 213 general practitioners, 184 specialists, 149 resident doctors and 162 medical students want the raise to be invested in the system instead.

“We believe that there is a way to redistribute the resources of the Quebec health system to promote the health of the population and meet the needs of patients without pushing workers to the end,” the letter says.

“We, Quebec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be cancelled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of the health care workers and to provide health services worthy to the people of Quebec.”

A physician in Canada is paid Can$339,000 per annum, on average, a family physician is paid Can$275,000 and a surgical specialist is paid Can$461,000.

The cost of medical school in Canada, though varies, is subsidized by provincial governments, the cost varies depending on whether a student is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or foreign student and varies from one school to another.

A MQRP published letter in February denounced working conditions of nurses. “The nurses are exhausted by a heavy workload. They argue that the chronic lack of staff and the fatigue caused by repeated overtime, sometimes mandatory, for lack of replacement of the team, have an impact on the safety of patient care.”

Canada has a public health system, which provides universal coverage for medically necessary health care services provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay.

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