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Quebec suspends mandatory French test for doctors and nurses fighting pandemic

Doctors and nurses do not have to pass a French-language exam in Quebec in order to help with the fight against coronavirus.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

Doctors and nurses do not have to pass a French-language exam in Quebec in order to help with the fight against coronavirus, according to CBC News.

The OQLF in Quebec, which promotes the use of the French language, has halted the requirement for an unspecified period of time as of March 16. The requirement is for the 46 professional orders in the province including professionals like nurses, psychologists, physicians and midwives.

The list also included chiropractors, engineers, land surveyors and geologists.

In addition to speaking and writing French, more requirements specific to each specialty are necessary in order to be admitted.

An example is Quebec’s order of physical therapists which explains that a license cannot be issued without proof that the OQLF’s French-language requirements are being met. Dentists and Engineers have similar conditions.

Chantal Bouchard, a OQLF spokesman said that the move to lift testing requirements is because of the “COVID-19 pandemic and to comply with the preventive measures put in place by the government.”

They want health-care workers to have the ability to easily continue to provide care to Canadians.

“These measures also allow members of other professional orders, who may work in essential services, to continue working without constraints until the OQLF examinations are offered again,” Bouchard noted.

A notice was released by the order of nurses in Quebec earlier this week, stating that its members do not have to worry about passing the exam to renew their membership or to join.

More steps are being taken by the government in order to attract health-care professionals.

Public-sector workers also received a temporary 8 percent pay increase. Private institutions are receiving $4 an hour more than before.

The nurses’ order has also been able to let nursing students who are close to graduation help in the fight against coronavirus since April 15. Retired workers who are below 70-years-old are also permitted to work if they have been off for five years or less.

Quebec Premier François Legault didn’t have much good news on Thursday during his daily briefing despite the incentives.

He noted that 9,500 workers are currently away from the health-care network and the amount of confirmed coronavirus cases is still increasing.

Included in the absent workers are 4,000 who currently have coronavirus. He vowed to provide proper personal protective equipment to workers who have completed their 14-day quarantine.

“We need you,” the Premier said on Thursday. “We are not taking any risks with your safety.”

Later he tweeted: “our priority remains to find staff for the entire health network.”

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