Front-line health care workers will receive a retroactive pay bump to help offset the cost of child care services.

Health Minister Julie Green announced Dec. 21 the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) is working to “close the gap on some of the additional costs associated with being a front-line healthcare worker during the pandemic.

The childcare cost reimbursement “will be available to those who were required to be at the worksite and who were also impacted by school, class, or daycare/day home closures that led to childcare costs above and beyond what the individual would normally pay. The reimbursement will be retroactive to April 1, 2021.”

A review of the leave policy for employees of Stanton Territorial Hospital is underway. NNSL photo

A review of the leave policy for employees of Stanton Territorial Hospital is underway. NNSL photo

Kim Riles, NTHSSA CEO, “has advanced a series of recommendations that advocate for some form of additional compensation for health and social services staff,” according to Green.

“The Department of Health and Social Services is working directly with the Department of Finance, Human Resources to address these recommendations,” Green said in a news release, adding that that some actions were taken specifically related to the obstetrics unit, which is currently closed and sending expecting mothers to Alberta to give birth.

The Union of Northern Workers has reported that resignations and extended leaves caused by low morale and burnout in the obstetrics unit and elsewhere in the hospital led to the current situation.

Green said Stanton Territorial Hospital’s chief operating officer has “initiated a review of the leave policy in November 2021, including a series of staff engagement sessions” expected to conclude in January. A team of “clinical leads and management” has been created to “look at workload and staffing models.”

“Stanton’s medical and nursing leadership are working to ensure that labour and delivery services will resume as soon as possible, with a focus on long term sustainability of these services,” Green said in the release.

“In the interim at Stanton, additional positions have been approved and will be added to the OBS unit while the analysis of requirements is underway. This will not change the current staffing level on each shift but should allow for more stability and increase the flexibility of staffing options, including the addition of part time positions. Of course, the impact of this change will depend on the successful recruitment of staff.”

This story will be updated.

Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. He should be at least six feet away from you at all times.

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