Language policy affects supply of nurses

Michelle Daveluy michelle.daveluy at
Mon Jan 17 15:40:54 UTC 2005

What about registering to writing classes in order to improve abilities with
a language these individuals claim knowledge and use of?

Human resources are lacking in the health services all over Canada.
Employment opportunities are indeed available in English only environments.

The media coverage of this specific case is to be understood in the current
debate on the funding and construction of 2 research hospitals in Montreal:
one English, the other French.


le 12/01/05 08:46, Harold F. Schiffman à haroldfs at a
écrit :

> Language cops bust Quebec nurses
> Canadian Press
> POSTED AT 8:29 PM EST Tuesday, Jan 4, 2005 Montreal Two nurses at an
> English hospital have had their licences revoked after failing a written
> French test even though Quebec faces a nursing shortage. Elizabeth
> Davantes, 47, and Eulin Gumbs, 43, who both speak French, say they'll look
> for work outside Quebec after losing their jobs recently at the Jewish
> General Hospital.
> Quebec's language watchdog and the provincial nursing federation require
> that all nurses, even those in English hospitals, pass a written French
> test. Ms. Gumbs has failed the test five times, while Ms. Davantes has
> failed on four occasions. Ms. Gumbs, a single mother of two, said Tuesday
> she's looking for a job elsewhere now that she can't work here.
> I don't want to leave, said Ms. Gumbs, who rates her spoken French as
> excellent. Quebec is my home. My family lives here, my kids live here. But
> I cannot support myself on nothing. The Office de la langue francaise
> recently warned the use of French in the workplace is in a precarious
> state in Quebec and Premier Jean Charest has hinted at a crackdown.
> However, the province faces a major nursing shortage. A report released in
> 2003 suggested the province will lose 16 per cent of its nurses to
> retirement in 2006. Head nurse Serge Cloutier, who worked with the two
> women, said the ranks of his profession are already thin and won't be
> helped if nurses are forced out. It's a bad situation, Mr. Cloutier said
> in an interview.
> Of course, if you lose two nurses it makes a difference. The nursing
> federation did not return phone calls on Tuesday. The hospital said
> Tuesday it did its best to help the women. The Jewish General Hospital
> actively tried to keep (the nurses) on staff, even though they failed the
> written section of the French exam, the hospital said in a statement.
> Officials at the hospital wrote several letters to the nursing federation
> and spoke with the language agency in an attempt to have the nurses'
> licences extended, said the hospital. But the nurses had their licences
> revoked in October, said the hospital. A spokesman for the language
> watchdog, the Office de la langue francaise, said his organization isn't
> to blame for the two nurses losing their jobs.
> Gerald Paquette said the French tests are drafted with the help of
> professional orders and employers. Rev. Darryl Gray, president of the
> English-rights lobby group Alliance Quebec, said Quebec is showing ill
> will towards the women.
> Anglophone nurses definitely are not going to jeopardize the French
> language in this province, he said in an interview. Rev. Gray said he
> wonders why the province won't work with Ms. Davantes and Ms. Gumbs to
> help them improve their written French skills. How can we attract people
> to this province if it has been made clear to us by the province that
> we're not wanted? he asked.
> National/

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