The healthcare labour shortage in Canada is a very real issue that is impacting Canadians. In Ontario alone, the province is facing a shortage of 33,000 nurses and support workers by 2028. A question facing many healthcare recruiters and companies looking to recruit more talent in healthcare is, would raising wages help solve the healthcare labour shortage?
Research Suggests Raising Wages Will Help Solve Healthcare Labour Shortage
Healthcare shortages have also been occurring in the UK and the US. Research has identified that the cost of living pressures people are currently experiencing due to inflation is causing many to leave the profession. While the reason for labour shortages is different in the Canadian context (as many have left because of burnout and other reasons), the solution of increasing compensation could help attract more people to the industry.
UC Berkeley’s Labor Center has explored what a bump in pay would do for healthcare providers in California. As discussed by Adi Gaskell on Forbes,
“The researchers suggest that there is a strong and established correlation between higher remuneration, reduced turnover rates, and improved staffing levels, ultimately resulting in a superior quality of care for consumers. It is therefore expected that raising the pay of healthcare workers would yield positive patient outcomes, including shorter hospital stays and reduced mortality rates.
“While it’s tempting to think that raising the pay of workers is something that only incurs costs, the research is a welcome reminder that doing so can also produce benefits that far outweigh the costs involved in introducing the higher pay. With healthcare workers across the world fighting for higher pay at the moment, this is perhaps something for providers to keep in mind.”
Bill 124 Reopener Offering Backpay to Ontario Nurses and Healthcare Professionals
Ontario has already taken steps to better compensate healthcare workers. On April 1, 2023, additional wage increases will be paid retroactively going back to April 2020, according to the Ontario Nurses Association. This is a step toward improving retention rates.
Increasing Wages Alone Isn’t Enough
However, it’s important to note that raising wages alone may not be a comprehensive solution to the healthcare labour shortage. Other factors, such as improving working conditions, offering professional development opportunities, and addressing systemic issues, also need to be considered to create a sustainable solution.
Furthermore, the financial implications of raising wages need to be carefully evaluated, as healthcare organizations and governments must ensure that they can afford higher salaries while maintaining the affordability and accessibility of healthcare services for patients. A holistic approach that considers various aspects of the labour shortage is essential for effectively addressing the healthcare workforce challenges.