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Canadian Healthcare Sector and the New Vaccine Mandate

Industry leaders, owners, and those interested in selling should not panic, but take a creative and empathetic approach to retain valued health care workers.

Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario are making the vaccines mandatory, each with varying due dates and stipulations. This is a dramatic U-turn to previous announcements that the vaccine would be a personal choice. Dr Bonnie Henry, B.C’s Provincial Health Officer, has said, “we are now in a place where we need to take additional measures,” as research highlights that being unvaccinated is too risky.

This measure could put the health care sector into a precarious, short-staffed situation, doubled with the effects of two years of intense pandemic-induced stress, leaving workers already burnt out across the sector. There are significant numbers of health care workers exiting the industry or retiring early, well before the new vaccine mandate.

What does this mean for business owners or sellers within the health care sector? Well, the news may not be as bleak as it appears.

Firstly, as of October 6th, approximately 97% of long-term health care workers in the Lower Mainland have received at least their first dose. Further, 97% of all staff in the University Health Network, operating in medical facilities in and around Toronto, have been fully vaccinated. An emergency room doctor based in Edmonton said that when it comes to losing the few staff who refuse to get vaccinated, “it's going to be sad (but) the impact will be minimal.”

This implies that the industry leaders, owners, and those interested in selling, should not panic, but it will take a creative and empathetic approach to retain valued health care workers.

Health advocates have been highlighting what the workers want for some time now and this includes increased mental health support, well-trained leadership, adequate paid time off, and promised end of wage cuts and caps.

Some creative thinkers, particularly in Quebec, are enticing new talent with signing bonuses upwards of $15,000. This is becoming a popular tactic across many industries and is seeing success in retaining both graduates and job seekers.

Ultimately, the health care system is a vital industry and therefore in targets of opportunity. As the Canadian healthcare industry is funded by the government, non-profits, and privately, it’s a unique combination that manages to keep costs affordable for the average Canadian while being a “low” risk investment, with a large profit to be made. When looking into buying or selling, aspects to consider are location, updated technology, and equipment and system networks/referrals if it’s an existing practice/company.



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