last updated wed, 12 jan 2005 10:48:03 est
montreal - an english-rights lobby group in quebec is supplying a tutor for two anglophone nurses who lost their jobs at an english hospital because they couldn't pass a written french test. one of the nurses, eulin gumbs, is now working at a mcdonald's restaurant. the second nurse, elizabeth davantes, is applying for employment insurance benefits.
their former employer, montreal's sir mortimer b. davis jewish general hospital, had tried to keep them after they failed the mandatory test which is required by the provincial nurses' licensing body.
gumbs and davantes were both excellent employees, and nurses are in short supply in quebec, the hospital said in a jan. 4 statement.
quebec's office de la langue française defended the test requirement by saying quebecers have the right to service in french at any hospital in the province, even those designated as english.
the anglophone rights group alliance quebec says it wants to get davantes and gumbs back to work as soon as possible.
the women will work with a montreal tutor who specializes in helping professionals pass the written part of the french-language proficiency test.
doctors, pharmacist flunking test too
as he made the announcement tuesday, alliance quebec president darryl grey said the group has heard from several other health-care workers in the same situation since the nurses' story broke in the first week of january.
two doctors and a pharmacist are among those who have failed the test and lost the right to work for at least three months, grey said.
one doctor said she came from new york to study at mcgill university. because she trained in quebec but failed the test, she has been suspended from her residency as a doctor.
if she had trained outside the province, she would have been able to get a temporary permit to continue until she eventually passed the test.
grey said alliance quebec will consider legal action if there is no breakthrough during upcoming talks with the minister responsible for office de la langue française.
he points out that francophones don't have to take the tests to prove their competency in written french.
quebec's health minister has said he favours mentoring english-speaking medical workers who have failed to pass their french-language competency exams rather than having them leave quebec in order to practise.
Jan 12, '05
Quebec does take it's French seriously. Most Quebecers are more flexible than the government. There are a few hard core french people who will not accept it and will make a stink if they cannot be served in their language.
I do have a problem with throwing the nurses out on their caboose because they cannot pass a french test. Most french people could not pass that test either. It just seems really sad that people who have spent their whole lives in Montreal have to relocate because their french isn't good enough. We have some nurses working in Ottawa that live in Montreal because they want to live where their families are. That is a 2 hour commute on a good day.
I grew up in Quebec. I am fully bilingual. I understand the need to "keep the culture alive" but I don't agree with alienating all those who don't have french as their first language. T'is a sad day!
Last edit by Morning-glory on Jan 12, '05
: Reason: Spelling