Unnecessary English Language Requirement Forces Manitoba Nurses to Leave the Province

Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB— While the health care crisis in Manitoba gets worse, nursing students, stalled by bureaucratic red tape, are leaving the province to work in Saskatchewan and Ontario. Today the Manitoba NDP stood with several nurses who have left the province, Grand Chief Garrisson Settee and Dr. Barry Lavallee to demand the PCs cut the red tape and let these nurses get to work on the frontlines in Manitoba.

“Manitobans want a government that fixes health care, so they don’t have to wait for ten hours in a crowded emergency room when their family needs care,” said NDP Health Care Critic Uzoma Asagwara. “We know nurses are an integral part of any solution, but the PCs are actually keeping nurses out of the workforce by refusing to eliminate the unnecessary English language requirement. This requirement is significant barrier for all nursing students, but particularly for nurses from Northern Indigenous communities. We’re calling on Premier today to remove this barrier and let these nurses get to work on the frontlines.”

Manitoba nursing students who experience delays in registration following their studies in English are required to complete an English Language Proficiency test. As a result, nurses in Northern communities caught by this requirement have to leave their families to travel to Winnipeg to complete this exam. The NDP has heard from several nurses who have left Manitoba to work in other provinces that do not have this requirement. NDP Health Care critic, Uzoma Asagwara, has written the Minister of Health on behalf of two nurses who have left the province to work in Saskatchewan, but received no response from the Minister.

“When it comes to nursing jobs, Manitoba has to be competitive. We cannot afford to lose valuable nurses to other provinces,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “We need to do everything we can to bring back the nurses that left under Brian Pallister and Premier Stefanson and bring new nurses in to the system. We can’t fix health care without nurses so let’s support them and make Manitoba a great place for nurses to train and work.”