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Managing Health Care Staff

March 12, 2020

Honourable senators, my question is for the government leader in the Senate and it continues on the topic and our care around the COVID-19 virus.

While I appreciate that you can’t answer all questions, we care about a lot of issues related to capacity. Today I had the opportunity to meet with two leaders from different countries who are surrounding countries that are high on our list and they are experiencing dramatic increases in cases. One of the things they’re taking a close look at is the capacity of their medical personnel from coast to coast to coast.

We talk about overcapacity in many of our Canadian hospitals. I’m not sure about all, but we do talk about capacity at the best of times. Strategically, other countries are looking at pulling 30% to 50% of their staff back for two or three weeks while their front line is part of their medical population and then shifting people in and out so they can have the capacity over the longer term. I am interested in what Canada’s strategy or approach might be in that area.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Thank you for the question. To the best of my understanding and knowledge, the decisions about how to manage staff in any given institution or network of institutions are taken by those close to the ground who are responsible for managing, whether it’s a hospital or group of hospitals or a region. Every province has different ways of organizing their health care system.

It is fundamental that care be taken to make sure there is a long-term, sustainable workforce to provide the care that Canadians want. These are decisions that are not really taken at the national level but much closer to the ground, with those who have both the knowledge and the responsibility for managing the institutions under their responsibility.

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