Nurse shortage hits P.E.I. long-term care facilities

PEIUPSE President Debbie Bovyer warns that increased injuries, burnout, sick time are associated with nursing shortages.

Charlottetown (24 July 2015) — Unions representing nurses in Prince Edward Island are warning that long-term care facilities in the province are experiencing a serious shortage of staff. Many of the nurses are being forced to work extra hours and are having vacation requests denied. 

Working understaffed

The Prince Edward Island Union of Public Sector Employees (PEIUPSE/NUPGE), which represents licensed practical nurses and resident care workers, reports that there is a chronic shortage of these professionals. 

Employees are telling the union that their vacation requests are being denied because of a lack of replacements. Furthermore, there are not any staff to cover a worker that has called in sick.

The understaffing affects "the safety of staff" by putting them at "greater risk of injury, burnout, sick time then themselves because they are exhausted from the day before, said Bovyer, President PEIUPSE. 

This then creates a "a risk to the most vulnerable people on PEI, the patients at the long-term care facilities."  

Recruitment and retention problems

According to the province's website there are currently 63 vacant nursing positions. Of those who are working many are only on part-time status.

The unions involved in the sector think that the province needs to work harder to recruit more nurses to work in the facilities and also must compensate them so that they can retain these health professionals.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE


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