Quebec has more nurses than ever, more private nurses

The number of nurses in Quebec has increased again over the past year, the Order of Nurses of Quebec confirmed on Tuesday. The OIIQ also notes an increase in the number of nurses in the private sector.

According to the annual statistics of the OIIQ which have just been published, 82,271 nurses were registered with the order as of March 31, 2022.

This represents a 1.5% increase in the number of nurses employed over the previous year.

“We have never had so many in Quebec. For 10 years, it has been on the increase,” declared the president of the OIIQ, Luc Mathieu, during his general meeting and convention.

However, many observers speak of a “shortage” of nurses.

“We know that there are shortages in the network. But is there really a shortage, in number? People in the profession say “we don’t think so”. We must first optimize the contribution of everyone,” Mathieu said.


The order also notes an increase in the private sector nursing workforce since the start of the pandemic.

“The retention of the more than 63,000 nurses in the health and social services network remains an issue, even if these figures are similar to those of the previous year. Thus, the trend started at the beginning of the pandemic continues with an increase in the private sector. workforce, without a massive outflow from the public sector,” the report says.

The OIIQ specifies that 2,400 nurses work mainly for a placement agency. This is an increase of approximately 19% over the previous year.

“There is an urgent need for action that will ensure the retention of existing nurses and the next generation of nurses,” the order concludes.


Also, more nurses are working full time. The ordinance even speaks of an “unprecedented number” of full-time members, at 68.4%, an increase of 4%.

And for the first time, more than half of the nurses who entered the profession were working full time, or 51.1%.

“Both are the largest increases in at least 20 years,” the order says.

These increases are partly attributable to government decrees and incentives to deal with the health emergency,” the OIIQ specified.

Faced with a shortage of health care workers because of COVID-19, Quebec has indeed offered a range of bonuses to nurses to encourage them to work full time.

The OIIQ also recalls that during the 2021-2022 fiscal year, it issued 3,565 permits to practice, which corresponds to the average of the last 10 years.

Of this number, 24%, or 842 people, were graduates from outside Quebec.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on November 22, 2022.

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