Ontario program guarantees 7 1/2 months of work



Tannis Toohey/Torstar News Service


Nursing student James Chu, 25, in the Clinical Simulation Lab of Humber College.


One of the most difficult tasks for a nursing graduate has been finding a full-time job, but that’s changing with a program that guarantees them just that for 71/2 months.

The New Graduate Guarantee, a provincially funded plan that pays for six months of full-time work (provided the employer pays for another six weeks), is being hailed as “very welcome and inspiring news” by the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

For years, the association has been advocating for support to keep new graduates in Ontario, says RNAO president Mary Ferguson-Paré.

This year’s 4,000 graduating nurses can register online and do specialized job searches for Ontario hospitals looking for nurses in various fields.

Graduates like James Chu, 25, say that helps a lot.

“I think it’s very good,” says Chu, a Humber College graduate who will soon begin work at a hospital in his native Ottawa.

“The fact that they have a site where you can apply, and the incentive that it is free, gives you a better opportunity. It’s like a one-stop shop for students.”

Jodie Boltuc, 23, of Milton says she never got the impression it would be difficult to get a full-time nursing job, but agrees the new program definitely paves the way and makes it easier to find one.

“I knew going into nursing that, with the shortage, I would always have a job,” she says. “It wasn’t an issue.”

But before the program was developed, graduates had to visit each individual hospital’s website and look for postings within that institution, she says. “Now I can click on hospitals I’ve never heard of.”

Another key benefit is that the program helps keep grads in the province.

Ferguson-Paré says that before the initiative, nursing graduates couldn’t find full-time work in Ontario. Those who managed to get work found it was only casual or part-time and many opted to leave, either for other provinces or the United States, she says.

“It was a grave concern, considering the looming international shortage of nurses.”

In addition to guaranteeing jobs for nursing grads, the program guarantees mentorship, a bonus that appeals to many graduates.

“I’ve been guaranteed three months of mentorship with an experienced nurse,” says Brock University grad Jeff Biletchi of his new position in the Niagara Health System.

“You’re always with that nurse, so you’re never alone.”

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