Newfoundland and Labrador offering expat doctors $100,000 to come home to practise

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is offering up big money in an effort to entice doctors, nurses and paramedics working outside the province to move back home.

Doctors who were born, educated, trained or who had previous practices in the province are eligible for $100,000 if they agree to return to Newfoundland and Labrador to work for at least five years. Nurses and paramedics meeting the same criteria will qualify for a payment of at least $50,000 if they commit for three years, the government announced Tuesday.

"If they've got a connection, they're more likely to stay," Health Minister Tom Osborne told reporters.

"This is a recruitment incentive," Osborne added. "There are also retention issues that we're working on."

Like many provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador's health-care system is buckling under the weight of labour shortages. Emergency rooms in rural parts of the province have been intermittently closed throughout the summer and fall as the province struggles to find doctors to keep them open.

Polling from the province's medical association estimates that nearly a quarter of residents are without a family doctor.

The province calls the latest recruitment initiative Come Home 2022. The name comes from its Come Home Year 2022 tourism campaign launched last year to encourage those who have moved away to come home for a visit.

Though the main thrust of the campaign is to lure expatriate Newfoundland and Labrador health-care workers, there are incentives for professionals without connections to the province. Doctors in that group can qualify for $50,000 if they agree to the five-year commitment, while nurses and paramedics can get up to $30,000 for three years, depending on their credentials, Osborne said.

"It is in addition to any other incentive," he said. "We've done this to make us the most competitive."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press