Jun 20, 2022 at 2:23 pm
City Councillor Mayor

Kamloops and District Labour Council asks:

Many municipalities are facing ongoing problems and are dealing with staffing issues as part of the current health care crisis. Describe from a local government perspective how would you plan to recruit workers to our community?

- Kamloops and District Labour Council

Candidate Answers

Dale Bass

Candidate for City Councillor

Health-care worker recruitment is not an issue municipalities can deal with directly. We are legislatively not responsible for it. However, morally we should do what we can to assist recruitment. That means ensuring Kamloops is seen as a great place to live and work. We do that in many ways, from marketing through Tourism Kamloops to continuing to take steps to improve livability.

One area I’ve been active in addresses exactly what that question poses. It is incumbent on the Interior Health Authority to fix the many challenges at our hospital, public health and long-term care facilities. Many of us on this council have been vocal in our concern IHA is not doing that. I’ve been criticized for being so vocal but I’ve also heard from nurses, doctors, other health-care workers at RIH they appreciate councillors speaking up for them as they fear reprisals if they speak to the issues.

Daphane Nelson

Candidate for City Councillor

There are many factors to the ongoing problems with staffing issues beyond the health crisis; a huge generation of workers is in the process of retiring and we don't have enough workers in the workforce to make up for that.

Because HR is an operational function and is not within the purview of City Council, I would not be able to make decisions about this as a councilor. From a policy or strategic perspective, I could see how it would benefit our community to recruit newcomers to either the country or the province and I would encourage Venture Kamloops, Tourism Kamloops and other promoters of our vibrant city to work on strategies to attract and retain employees.

Darrell LaRiviere

Candidate for City Councillor

Part of my vision (https://dlk.ca/post-secondary/) is free Post Secondary (including trades) tuition for Kamloops High School graduates. We could also expand this program to medical professionals who live and work in Kamloops for a predefined time (8 years, for example).

Arjun Singh

Candidate for Mayor

- involve the Mayor's office more in health care recruiting.
- work for affordable housing, great amenities, and building on our friendly caring community spirit.
- work with the Province and Federal government on encouraging immigration to Kamloops. Local governments, for example, have been pilot communities for aspects of the provincial nominee program.

Bonnie Cleland

Candidate for City Councillor

This is such an important issue and I think is too broad to be addressed in a few paragraphs and by one person. We have been applying various bandages to our healthcare system for years now and the pandemic pushed all those issues to the forefront. It is important to recruit more workers, but if we don't address issues surrounding the burn out we will just continue to cycle through staff and we won't be able to retain anyone. I think that solving this issue will require conversations with many stakeholders (front line workers, medical professionals, administrators, unions and council) and is a very complex issue. I am prepared to have those conversations, listen and propose ideas with the goal of having skilled workers who can do their jobs safely.

Bill Sarai

Candidate for City Councillor

We have just made improvements to our working hours in our DES department. This has led to 3 new hires. We have to be creative and offer things outside the box that other communities are not offering.
I would like to see the city maybe lease a condo or townhouse to assist new hires in a temporary stable housing environment for say 3-6 months till they can find a place on there own. We have lost a couple of great recent candidates due to the fact they could not secure housing. Attend job fairs throughout our province, and have an online presence across the country. Our Covid protocol was well received by our unionized staff as we paid for the testing that allowed them to come to work.

Katie Neustaeter

Candidate for City Councillor

While this isn't a direct area of responsibility for a municipal government, it should certainly be a top priority as it impacts the quality of life for the people who live here. Kamloops must become a more desirable place to work, live, and play of we want to see the shortage of healthcare workers decline.
We need available and affordable housing, the culture this demographic is seeking, and we should consider what incentives can be offered for relocation. Retention is also a vital consideration.
We should be motivated to make Kamloops a desirable place for healthcare workers to live and raise their families while motivating IH to change the environment they are asking workers to be a part of.

We need to lay down our egos and bring key stakeholders to the table to define how we can each play our part in alleviating this unjustifiable decline in both conditions and care so we can fix the broken system we are unreasonably asking workers to burn themselves out for.

Taj Sandur

Candidate for City Councillor

We have to work to provide more housing opportunities, it's one of the major reasons people don't choose Kamloops is the difficulty in acquiring a rental, or finding one at a reasonable price.

The next is in providing a higher quality of life and better experiences for the people potentially joining our community. When comparing what Kamloops has to offer for restaurants, bars, music venues, etc., we are eons behind other BC cities like Kelowna or Nanaimo. We have to build a local identity through promoting small business, arts, and culture so that Kamloops is more of a city to experience and not just a place to drive through or visit for tournaments.

Making our city more appealing is key to attracting new workers in all sectors, not just health care. I recently had a friend who is a surgeon decide to forego a job offer at Royal Inland Hospital for a lesser job offer in Nanaimo for substantially less money. These were some of the concerns that swayed them to choose a different city than ours.

The city needs get creative in ways to attract other workers by using non-traditional methods. We are competing with many other great cities in BC for these workers so we have to think out of the box and find solutions other municipalities aren't considering yet.

Sadie Hunter

Candidate for Mayor

Our role in local government is to set the policy that will create a community people want to live, work, plat and retire in - and to visit. Recognizing there are multiple things people look for when choosing to move for work and approaching recruitment holistically, is the only way to be effective in these efforts. Many potential employees have children, spouses and/or other family members who will also be moving with them.

So we need to ask what the needs are for the entire family. What amenities and services are they looking for? What kind of housing do they need? How can we help them learn more about what Kamloops has to offer and connect them to those things? We all have a role to play in creating a desirable community and helping others feel welcome.

Randy Sunderman

Candidate for City Councillor

There are many good models emerging where communities are coming up with innovative approaches to attract and retain health care staff. I like the approach being taken by Quesnel where they not only help the new health professional become familiar with services and welcome in the community but also provide housing solutions. In Quesnel they maintain furnished accommodation so that health professionals can move in and become familiar with the community before setting up their own residents. Not only are they creating a need service sought by health professional they are doing it on a cost recovery basis.

They also work on issues to make sure that if a health professional is coming to the community with a partner that partner is supported in successfully finding suitable employment. This is often critical with retention. These activities can be undertaken with minimal cost to the taxpayers which is also key in exploring approaches.

Jesse Ritcey

Candidate for City Councillor

Mainly recruiting is about offering a great place to live, work, and play. I was recently speaking to a pediatrician who pointed out that health care professionals are big into active living, so we need to get serious on building out active transportation infrastructure like bike lanes if we want to attract new doctors. We have some great assets like our proximity to Sun Peaks to market ourselves. A Centre for the Arts would help and, of course, building more and better housing and working with our schools to get childcare offered more widely than just Ralph Bell and Happyvale elementary.

There are, however, some things we can do around zoning and planning to embrace the future of medicine, which is hives/hubs of healthcare professionals, often interdisciplinary. This is the model we see at the Orchard's Walk in Valleyview. I would like us to examine the use of a revitalization tax exemption (RTE) to build a location like these in every neighborhood.

Stephen Karpuk

Candidate for City Councillor

This is a provincial issue but we can design, create and manage a city that makes recruitment and retention easier for those who are trying to fill our health care and other job vacancies. A safe, secure, prosperous, healthy, and exciting city that we create will attract, and more importantly retain, workers and visitors alike. That is what I want to do at city hall as a city councilor.

We can also lobby hard and provide local solutions for provincial and federal governments to fund.

Darpan Sharma

Candidate for City Councillor

By providing enough housing, dealing with the crime pandemic, and making Kamloops a vibrant and safe community to live in. Although healthcare is not in the civic govt mandate, we can certainly lobby with the interior health and the province to raise the standard of the work environment at IH. Family-based practices can be given property tax incentives.
We can certainly help with the recruitment process, make it easier and more welcoming for doctors to move to Kamloops, help with the jobs for spouses, house hunting, childcare, etc. But quite frankly Interior health needs to wake up from its slumber.

Ray Dhaliwal

Candidate for Mayor

The Heath Crisis is Country Wide. We have to make Kamloops an Attractive city in order for Medical Staff to Move Here....from Sporting Venues to Community Centers where we can all enjoy year round activities, Kamloops is 10 years behind where we need to be....Lets get to Work!