Canadian doctors protest their recent pay increase

A group that represents doctors and advocates for public health in Quebec is asking that the money instead be allocated to the health-care system at large.

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Hundreds of doctors in Canada are asking for a decrease in pay. Médecins Québécois Pour le Régime Public (MQRP), a group that represents doctors and advocates for public health in Quebec, started a petition in response to the doctors’ recent pay raises, asking that the money instead be allocated to the health-care system at large.

Last week, 700 physicians, residents and medical students from the province signed the petition, which was posted online on Feb. 25, saying they “could not in good conscience accept the pay raises when working conditions remained difficult for others in their profession – including nurses and clerks – and while patients ‘live with the lack of access to required services because of drastic cuts in recent years,’” the Washington Post reported.

“We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,” the petition said when translated to English.

A deal, which was reached in February by Quebec’s federation of medical specialists and the government, would increase the province’s medical specialists annual salaries by 1.4 percent from $4.7 billion to $5.4 billion in 2023, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported. Medical specialists in Quebec are already some of the highest paid compared to neighboring provinces such as Ontario.

With Quebec going through a nursing shortage, a nurses union is pushing the government to pass a law that would limit the number of patients a nurse could care for at one time. The union is also asking the government to address the working conditions in which they are overworked.

“The subject of nurses’ work overload is at the heart of the news following the ‘sit-ins,’” MQRP wrote. “MQRP joins its voices to those of nurses to denounce this unacceptable situation, which affects the quality of care for the Quebec population and weakens our public health system.”

In the end, the petition is asking for the increases in salary be canceled and for the money to instead channel through Quebec’s health-care system.

“Contrary to the Prime Minister’s statements, 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 petition stated.

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