Health-care recruiting isn’t just about the job. It’s about selling PEI

Recruiters working to bring health-care workers to PEI say the province has something to offer that no other jurisdiction can compete with: life on the Island itself.

“Right now, the efforts underway are really about demonstrating everything that’s wonderful about Prince Edward Island,” Rebecca Gill, PEI’s director of health recruitment and retention, told CBC News: Compasss host Louise Martin on Tuesday.

“[It’s] making Prince Edward Island stand out from other jurisdictions, given how competitive we are seeing this labor market today [to be].”

All of Canada is facing an unprecedented shortage of health-care workers, which means every province in the country is fighting for the same limited pool of workers.

Gill said PEI’s compensation for health-care workers is in line with what’s offered in other jurisdictions, but that’s not what draws people here.

“Our partners in the Department of Tourism have done such a wonderful job over the years of promoting… Prince Edward Island. We don’t have to do that,” Gill said.

“What we have to do is ensure that whether it be a physician or a nurse or a member of the allied health professions, they can see themselves living and working here. They understand what the work opportunity is but they also see themselves building a life here with their family.”

‘We’ve had success’

The province embarked on its first international recruitment drive earlier this year, walking away with signed offers from 31 nurses after a job fair in Dubai.

Officials called the mission a success, and estimated the new nurses would begin to arrive on the Island by the end of this year.

“I would say .. we’ll see more of those events in the near future,” Gill said.

Rebecca Gill, acting director of Workforce Planning, Recruitment & Pharmaceutical Services
Rebecca Gill, PEI’s director of health recruitment and retention, says it’s about finding candidates who are a good fit for the Island. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

“We’re working to develop an international recruitment strategy right now, working with partners to identify where are the right countries… where is the labor supply, essentially.”

Gill acknowledged that removing the red tape to make it easier to recruit new hires could make the Island a more attractive place to work, but she believed PEI alone was enough.

“At the end of the day, what we have to offer is very attractive to people,” Gill said.

“We’ve had success. We’ve had a lot of very lovely health-care professionals come to our Island, choosing Prince Edward Island over the last few years.”