Financial incentives are being offered to attract health professionals to fill hundreds of open positions in the province. Up to $50,000 is offered, depending on the position and the location. At minimum $30,000 is offered.

Of the hundred’s of positions advertised on, 55 vacancies are located in the north for a variety of positions in multiple communities.

The greatest need for health staff in the north appears to come in nursing or nurse practitioner fields. La Loche needs ten licensed practical nurses and registered nurses at the local hospital and health center.

Mayor Georgina Jolibois said the lack of health professionals is impacting the quality of care in her community. She offered two possible solutions.

“The community has been asking for a way to train local people to become nurses. Right now the problem with their [Saskatchewan] centralized model, it takes away from that discussion,” she said. “Secondly, contract nurses are an excellent incentive plan. When contract nurses are brought in, all their expenses are paid.”

Currently there are advertisements for positions in Pinehouse, Creighton, Ile a la Crosse, Buffalo Narrows, and Sandy Bay. La Ronge is also heavily impacted by the staffing shortage. Right now, that community needs registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and public health nurses.

The province is taking an aggressive approach to attracting health care professionals, attempting to make Saskatchewan the ideal place to work. It has created more full-time positions in northern and rural communities and have enhanced existing opportunities.

“We have heard directly from frontline health-care workers that more permanent full-time positions are integral to enhancing health services across our province,” Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “By offering competitive incentive packages and focusing on key retention practices, we will expand our health care workforce, stabilize health services across the province, and build a stronger health care system ready to meet the needs of a growing province.”

The province said it is looking nationally and internationally for candidates.