Canada needs a national health strategy.
Canada’s Northwest Territories contains 33 official communities stretched over 1.144 million square kilometres (442,000 square miles). There’s only one hospital, so accessing medical services isn’t as simple as calling an ambulance. Many locals still dial the municipal emergency number they were used to for decades before 911 service was finally introduced three years ago, although it certainly makes things easier for tourists. Even after the operator has identified which of the NWT’s 11 official languages they speak, callers fortunate enough to be within range of a cell tower when they need help may have trouble clarifying their location out on the land.
In distant Northern communities, a single nurse may be the only medical care available. Northern nurses are well paid and live in gorgeous environments, but also must be prepared to independently handle a broad variety of medical situations. They’ll commonly be required to provide obstetric and pediatric care, but basic training as a nurse doesn’t necessarily include any education at all on pregnancy care or medical issues specific to children. That’s why regulatory agencies like the Registered Nurses Association of the NWT and Nunavut exist. Nurses hoping to work in the North need to register with the agency, paying a fee that their employer will reimburse. The licensing body does due diligence to verify that the applicant’s educational credentials are genuine, and include the requisite skills they’ll need on the job. They examine their employment history so that no one operating with medical autonomy for a community turns out to have behaved inappropriately, or killed a bunch of patients through negligence, in the past. They perform the vital function of ensuring that people into whose hands we literally place our lives are fundamentally legit.
Amateur hour for vital skilled professionals
Ontario premier Doug Ford has done a great deal to deliberately accelerate the health care crisis. Some, like unconstitutional Bill 124, legislation ensuring that already inadequate nursing pay falls ever farther behind soaring cost of living increases, are drawing lots of attention, in part due to vocal efforts by Ontario’s…