Health: HHHS to recruit staff at Toronto health care job fair

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Haliburton Highlands Health Services is taking steps to address any staffing needs.

HHHS will have a presence at a health care job fair in Toronto Sept. 17. It’ll be one health care service among many from across Canada to recruit professionals at the fair.

Carolyn Plummer, the president and CEO at HHHS, hopes the beauty and solace that can be found throughout the region will be a selling point this weekend.

“We will be working with the County of Haliburton to highlight the many benefits of a healthcare career in the Haliburton Highlands, and are hoping to encourage physicians and nurses to join us,” she said.

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“Our teams are excited to bringing a cottage country feel to downtown Toronto, featuring our best Haliburton Highlands plaid, and hope to see strong attendance thanks to the many communities participating in the fair.”

Healthcare Job Fair is billed as Toronto’s premier recruitment event for medical, nursing, allied health and support work employment opportunities.

The job fair is the only event of its kind in Eastern Canada and aims to attract highly skilled health-care professionals from major health care hubs like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal to meet directly with employers.

HHHS will be joined by service providers from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

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To showcase the appeal of the Highlands, the HHHS booth will feature a wooden wolf (courtesy of the Haliburton Wolf Centre), an inflatable stand-up paddle board (courtesy of Algonquin Outfitters), signage that matches the county's new roadside signs, and locally-made goodies with the #MyHaliburtonHighlands branding.

As the pain of staff shortages has been felt across the country, local health services have taken steps to brace for the vacancy crunch.

There’s been a portal on the HHHS website by which the status of the Minden and Haliburton emergency rooms can be checked. That is, people who feel they require medical attention can find out whether the nearest ER is open or closed.

Many facilities provincewide have had to close at various times due to lack of staff. It’s become more common as the pandemic progresses.

“Although HHHS hasn't experienced staffing-related closures of our facilities, we continue to experience a dire need for more healthcare staff - just like hospitals across the province,” Plummer said.

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“Participating in job fairs like this one, along with other retention and recruitment efforts, will hopefully help us reduce our reliance on third-party staffing resources and connect directly with potential recruits.”

Stephen McLarnon, CEO at HealthSectorTalent, the company organizing the job fair, said a lot of Canadian healthcare employers are struggling to meet demand for care.

In June, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian health care employers have the highest ever level of job vacancies – 136,800 positions were reported in the first three months this year – suggesting a major staffing crisis for the nation's health care system.

Job fairs provide a unique opportunity in this digital age for employers and job seekers to connect directly in person, accelerating the recruitment process for both.

The Healthcare Job Fair takes place at the Sheraton Centre Hotel on Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Minden Times

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