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Paramedics in Timmins react to province's newest recruitment program

The Ontario Government is expanding a program announced last March that hopes to get more health care workers into under-served communities. It is called the Learn and Stay Grant.

"Our government expanding Ontario’s Learn and Stay grant will attract new health care workers to small, rural communities in the north and across Ontario,” said Timmins MPP George Pirie.

Paramedics in Timmins-area told CTV News they are particularly happy for the news as they said the profession throughout the entire province is in need of new recruits.

Jean Carriere as the Cochrane District’s paramedic chief said, this is something he and his colleagues throughout the north have been lobbying the province for some time.

The province is going to pay northerners to enroll in paramedic programs at colleges in the north offering them.

“We’re actively recruiting we have been for the last two years and we just can’t find enough paramedics and one of the reasons is ... there’s not a lot of people actually who are registering in this program," said Carriere.

The Learn and Stay Grant will give students free tuition and cover other educational costs for the duration of a two-year paramedic program and Carriere said recruits can't come soon enough.

“We could hire fifteen paramedics tomorrow for our district which amounts to ten per cent of our staff and I don’t know that would be enough. But our staff have been amazing over the last two years," he said.

Students will be expected to stay and work in the community where they're attending college for a term of service after they graduate.Nursing and Medical Laboratory Technologist students can also apply for the grant.

“This news is exciting for post-secondary students attending Northern College, providing students with job opportunities near where they trained and went to school," said Pirie.

As of January, Carriere added a new trainer/recruiter position to the Cochrane District Paramedic Service and so far two new recruits have been hired and will be joining the team shortly. Top Stories

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