‘It’s going to bankrupt health care’: Spending on temp agency nurses up more than 550% since pre-pandemic at one Toronto hospital network
Toronto’s largest health care firm is paying $1.4 million in wages to temp agency nurses who now take care of patients in hospitals all over the province.
The Star went undercover to show that temp agency nurses and other members of an agency that services about half of the province’s hospitals were receiving wages and pension plans that are hundreds of times higher than what they would receive in their home countries.
While they are not required to work in Canada, these nurses have been working in Ontario hospitals for several months and are required to take and pass a knowledge test before they can get paid.
The Star’s undercover investigation of the temp agency network that handles more than half the province’s health care shows that temp agency nurses are getting paid higher wages and more generous allowances than paid nurses in Canada.
The Star investigation revealed that temp agency nurses are getting paid at least $1,400 in Canada per shift compared with the maximum $400 per shift for full-time paid nurses and $200 per shift as a student-in-training.
The Star investigation also showed how that paid nurses are getting a retirement allowance that is more generous than is offered to Canadian nurses – in fact, the maximum amount a nurse can make as of this writing is $13,000 a year.
The temp agency nurse who was the focus of a Star story this week also recently passed a “knowledge test,” but she failed it because she was not present for it.
The Star also revealed that temp agency nurse Karen Schick, who has worked for the agency since 2017, is paid $1,200 for the first eight weeks of her paid nurse’s training.
Schick also received a $1,200-a-month pension from her firm, but her pension is not considered a salary or a bonus, which can count as taxable income. Instead,