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Yukon government nurses get $6M bonus package

Territorial government and union representing nurses have reached an agreement on the new package
Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee speaks at a COVID-19 update on Sept. 15, 2022. The Yukon government and the Yukon Employees’ Union have come to an agreement on a recruitment and retention package for nurses employed by the Yukon government. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The territory’s health minister and the Yukon Employees’ Union have struck a deal on retention and signing bonuses for Yukon government nurses.

Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee announced the new $6-million package in a Dec. 1 release.

The release notes this agreement recognizes the work of nurses, incentivizes new nursing hires and will help address nursing turnover and high vacancy rates. McPhee recently said vacancy rates for community nurses was hovering around 40 per cent amid a local, national and global shortage of health-care workers.

“Nurses play a critical role in the territory’s healthcare system and we are pleased to provide new bonuses to support them and recognize their dedication to our communities,” McPhee said in the release.

“These new bonuses will help retain our valued nurses and make the Yukon more competitive in recruiting and retaining nurses in a very challenging labour market.”

The package includes bonuses over the next two years for registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses working for the Yukon government, according to the release.

The release outlines the contents of the package: an immediate bonus of $15,000 for registered nurses and nurse practitioners, $8,000 for licensed practical nurses; a retention bonus starting on April 1, 2023 of $15,000 for registered nurses and nurse practitioners, and $8,000 for licenced practical nurses; a signing bonus of $7,500 for new registered nurses and nurse practitioners, and $4,500 for licensed practical nurses; $10,000 bonuses for primary care nurses and nurses in charge working in Yukon communities; and a reimbursement of exam fees for new nursing graduates hired by the government.

The News previously reported McPhee was at odds with the union over a proposed bonus package for nurses.

Yukon Employees’ Union president Steve Geick said the union did what it said it would do, despite the health minister having “leaked” it, which caused “quite a turmoil” among members.

Geick hopes nurses who aren’t employed by the territorial government — such as those who work in hospitals and for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation — and other Yukon government employees outside of nursing aren’t forgotten.

“The government decided to do something for nurses. I just hope that they remember that there are more people out there that work for [the Yukon government] and have gone through this pandemic,” he said.

READ MORE: Health minister at odds with union over bonus package for Yukon nurses

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Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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