P.E.I. health care recruiters heading west as nursing cuts loom in Alberta

Recruiters from P.E.I. will be heading to Alberta in the new year with hopes of bringing workers back to the Island.

The Alberta government has warned unions that thousands of health care positions could be eliminated over the next three years, including hundreds of front-line nursing jobs.

P.E.I. Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward says P.E.I. recruiters have always included Alberta in their efforts, but there will be a more concentrated effort in the province given the news of possible layoffs.

"We're actually in the process right now of scheduling and arranging for some events in various locations in Alberta," he said.

Aylward said meet and greets are being set up and it is "an open invitation" to any health care professional that may be interested in returning to P.E.I. or moving to the Island.

"We know, obviously, that there are many Islanders that travel to Alberta over the years to find employment, whether it is in the health care field or in the oil sector," he said.

Aylward said there will likely be stops in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

150 positions

Since word of the layoffs first hit, he said, some nurses in Alberta have been asking about what opportunities might exist on P.E.I.

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"Currently on Prince Edward Island we are probably in a range of about 150 positions that are vacant, whether they are full time, part time, casual," Aylward said.

There are incentives in place for taking a job on the Island — including a $5,000 signing bonus for experienced nurses, he said.

"As an Islander that lived and worked in Alberta for a period of time it was my number one goal to come home, and I am sure that there are lots of Islanders working in Alberta in the medical field that would love to have the opportunity to move home to Prince Edward Island," Aylward said.

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