Nursing in Quebec

  1. Hello Fellow Canadian Nurses;

    I am a new grad nurse who graduated from a university program in Ontario. I initially became registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario and I decided to work in Quebec. My experience in obtaining a Quebec license by equivalence has been horrifying. I submitted my application at the beginning of August and it's still being processed 6 weeks later. No wonder there is a nursing shortage in Quebec. The nurses are there and willing to work but the regulating body puts obstacles in our way.

    I'm wondering if there are more people out there who have had problems dealing with the Order of Nurses of Quebec. If so, please let me know because I'm interested in hearing your experiences.

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  3. by   433nurse
    Looking for an international nurse to assist me in comparing cultural diversity of healthcare in the community . Definition of wellness in your country?
    Requirements for nursing practice in your country?
    Health goals of your country 2001 ? THanks any country Pat
  4. by   Michelle_nurse
    I graduated from a Quebec College (RN program), I am working in a federal veterans hospital in Quebec, so I can have either a Canadian or a Quebec licence, since it is federal. I decided to do only the licence exam in Ottawa /c the CNO. The OIIQ is scary! The exam is over $400, 3 days long,(2days of live nurse situations with actors and evaluators), and 1 day of short answer) it takes 3 months to get the results! I heard a lot of people fail and that the exam is badly translated into English, because a French person translates it.
    I know that you are transfering your licence over /c this reciprocity, I heard that it is a long process and that it is expensive. I paid $70 for 2 stamps from the OIIQ (to the CNO) saying that my college (which is 25 years old), is a recognized nursing school. It is a real political thing the fact that the exam is (usually) only good for Quebec. I think it is stupid, cause Quebec is in Canada, it is not a country. I am sorry, I am going off topic here.
    I am just warning you that the provincial system (at least in the Montreal area) is typical of the bad working conditions that we hear in the media. I am used to the federal system, so to me they are bad working conditions. I did my clinicals all in the provincial system.
    There is a major shortage, lack of supplies, or old supplies, forced overtime,BAD PAY!!!! lots of floating around, lack of guaranteed hours and vacation time.
    This is why I did not even write the Quebec exam. If I do not work where I am now, I would move else where, before I would work in the Quebec system.I think the hospital that I work at is the only federal owned hospital in Canada, so they have more money to circulate. (it is a veterans hospital). We are spoiled!
    I do not want to discourage you, but this is what I have seen. I do not know what it is like where you are now in Ontario.

    By the way, I passed my CNO exam, I received the letter on Sept. 4th, I sent the money by fax the same long does it take to receive the actual licence????

    Good luck!!

  5. by   Teachchildren123
    Are you guys still in Quebec? Any changes for the better or the worst? What would you suggest for a better place to work? Anyone else have comments on working in Quebec?
  6. by   tonybologna
    Stay away from Quebec. Here is our story.
    I applied to McGill University for MBA and was accepted March of 2005. We made the trek for her to interview in Montreal in June. She was offered a job to any hospital basically. She accepted an offer at the hospital of her choice and got a restricted work permit at the border which was $150. Then she got a physical while still in MOntreal visiting which was $180. Then in June she applied to the order of nurses of quebec (OIIQ) which handles all nursing licensure matters for an application for equivalency. Given she graduated with a BSN in the U.S., they accepted her equivalency but it costed around $236.

    Then, once we arrived August 2005, she had to work as a graduate nurse making $16.36 an hour because she did nto yet take the Quebec nursing exam. The QUebec nursing exam is only administered twice a year. She took it in October. She had to go to a giant room in palace de congress and sit with 800 other people, waiting in lines, then writing essays, and then role playing situations at 12 different booths. This took an entire day and costd $434. Compare to the NCLEX which is a hundred somehting dollars and takes 2 hour by computer. The whole thing was farce, terribly inefficient, and the role playing exercises were just silly.

    Now that she passed the exam, she got her temporary nursing license NOv. 3rd, which costed $286 and is valid for 1 year. (note that costs are now well above $1000 to become a nurse in quebec). Note the whole aspect of becoming a nurse in quebec is a process of discovery because nowhere are all the steps outlined for you of what you need to do.

    In last week of August she got a notice in the mail to renew her temporary license. She had to get a letter from her supervisor stating that she is needed in the hospital, had to provide evidence she took a french course, etc, etc (all sent to the OIIQ), AND had to take a French Exam administered by the office of french language of quebec which is a separate government entity. She has 3 chances to pass it, and can only take it once per year, so she has 3 years to pass it. She waited a month unfortunately before calling the office of french language to schedule an exam and they said she was really late and scheduled her for an exam first/2nd week of october. She took the exam, failed of course, but expected her permti to be renewed because she has two more chances to pass.

    She received her results 9 days ago, and expected the OIIQ to also receive them from the office of french language by the deadline for expiration of her permit which is tomorrow.
    Now her permit expires tomorrow, so we went to the OIIQ, they said they received no results, so we went ot he office of French language of Quebec, and they said even though she received her results, the results will take at least till December to get to the OIIQ (which is right down the street!). They said there is paperwork that must be filled out and the director has to sign it who is never there anyway and blah blah blah. We explained to them her permit expires tomorrow and maybe they can expedite the results, but they wouldn't do it.

    Seriously, what do they have to do? They can see she failed the test, she has two more times to pass it, so why not send the "paperwork" now? I don't see what it is they have to do because they have nothing else to evaluate her on (the OIIQ has the rest of everything else!).

    Stay away from Quebec if you're a nurse. I'm an MBA student so I like to look at business process and seriously, the whole nursing thing here is 3rd world, the people running it are rude and stubborn, and it is terribly inefficient. The sad thing is two people at her hospital wrote her glowing recommendations for CRNA school, attesting to the fact she is a great nurse. She is badly needed by the hospital here because the nurses are way overloaded and there is a shortage. Now because of stubborness and administrative blunders, she can't be a nurse here, so she is out of a job for 7 weeks while I finish school.
  7. by   tonybologna
    Well here's an update. She went to work today to see if her supervisor could call the office of french langage of quebec to see if they can sign her paper stating she took the french exam to send to the OIIQ. Apparently, the presidencia, who is the person that needs to sign it, is on vacation and will be on vacation for the next couple weeks. So now she is sitting at home on vacation pay for 3 weeks to see what will happen.
    One thing I noticed about the office of french language of quebec is their building on sherbrooke st has cameras all around it, the windows on the first floor are covered with wire mesh, and the people that work there have to punch a security code into the every door they go through. In addition, someone has to buzz you in when you come to the door.
    A very reliable source told us the building has been bombed. That tells you something about the people that run the place and the way they do business.
  8. by   Jay-Jay
    Quote from tonybologna
    One thing I noticed about the office of french language of quebec is their building on sherbrooke st has cameras all around it, the windows on the first floor are covered with wire mesh, and the people that work there have to punch a security code into the every door they go through. In addition, someone has to buzz you in when you come to the door.
    A very reliable source told us the building has been bombed. That tells you something about the people that run the place and the way they do business.
    What are you implying, Tony? It tells me that they are security conscious, and want to protect their employees from the lunatic fringe out there.

    Quebec has always been a French-speaking province. Unfortunately, in order to survive in a country that is predominately Anglophone, they have had to put some very stringent French-only language laws in place. Certain Anglophones resent that, and therefore, the employees have to protect themselves from those who resort to violence to get their opinions across.

    IMO, Quebec has every right to protect their culture and heritage.

    I sympathize with your frustration over the licensing, but I went through a somewhat similar experience when I tried to get licensed in Alberta. After 6 months, they STILL had not approved my license, and claimed some of the info they needed from Ontario was missing. Lucky for me, I had kept records of what I'd sent them, and told them YOU SHOULD HAVE THAT DOCUMENT!! I SENT IT TO YOU IN AUGUST. THIS IS NOW FEBRUARY!! GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER...I NEED TO WORK!! Bureacracies are notorious for being inefficient, regardless of what province they're in.
    Last edit by Jay-Jay on Nov 3, '06
  9. by   tonybologna
    There are many wanderful aspects to Quebec and I agree they must protect the French culture.

    The issue here is not the fact she has to eventually pass a french exam, the issue here is that her results are sitting on a desk of someone who is on vacation for one month, and there is nobody else to sign her papers to send to the OIIQ. There needs to be someone there at all times who can tend to the matter at hand and take care of business. Doctors and nurses are the backbone of society- and they are being tossed to the side because someone had to take vacation or because the papers need "processed". Bureaucracy is acceptable in some circumstances (for example- getting your registration on your car or drivers license can be bureaucratic, but what does that really matter in the long run), but in this case, its way out of hand given the importance of healthcare to society.
    Its also matter of efficiency. They need to have a flatter organizational structure so that people that people that work there have an ability to make decisions and process things as they come through. Because there are extra steps to practice nursing in Quebec, there needs to be an even greater push for efficiency here.

    There have been nurses from outside Quebec who have taken the French exam for the first time (whether or not they pass is immaterial) and have had their license expire because their papers need "processed" (give me a break) so they had to move back to Ontario temporarily to work until their papers got "processed". I would really like to see how many papers need to be processed from the office of french language and sent to the OIIQ and what the time requirement is for them to look at one file. I bet it isn't that much work. I worked as a patent examiner for hte u.s. patent and trademark office and the amount of paperwork and reading I had to do in one day was mind boggling- stacks and stack had to get done everday or else you were let go- making it an efficient organziation.

    They could hire one additional "presidentia" so that things could get done (so that the people that are working here can continue to work).

    What gets me is that when she called to schedule the french exam towards the end of september, she told 4 different people over the phone that her license expires November 1st, and not one of them told her that even though she would be scheduled for October 12th for the exam, that there is no way her license would be renewed by Nov. 2nd. Don't you think this would have been really really helpful to know back in september rather than yesterday? They could have told us when she scheduled OR when she took the french exam. There is a serious communication problem.

    Regarding the "lunatics", crazy people just don't target one place like this for no reason. Apparently, normal everyday people are making an effort to immerse themself into the french culture and learn french by visiting the office of french language of quebec in the first place. But somehow, along the way, people are getting really angry because they are being prevented from achieving their goals. If the office of french language of quebec really wanted to see people succeed, they wouldn't be having these problems, Right now as I see it, they make it as difficult as possible for you, even when the french language isn't itself an easy language to learn.
  10. by   clemmm78
    I'm an RN in Quebec and happy to be one here. I graduated from an RN program in the early 80s and now work part-time in palliative care.

    Yes, there are shortages, but nowhere as bad as outlined previously. I have been in hospitals in other provinces and in the States that have had as long or longer waiting times for various procedures.

    Yes, the buildings are old and yes, sometimes (note the sometimes) supplies are limited, but that is the way it is right now and the government has finally woken up and is starting to put money back into the system again.

    The nursing shortage is bad - but there is a shortage of nurses in most places I know of. In all my years of nursing, I have neve been forced to work overtime. I've been pressured, but never forced. If I can't, I can't. No-one I work with has ever been forced to work overtime.

    The "lack of vacation time" is baloney. You are given four weeks vacation when you are hired. If you are part time, the vacation time is added to your every-two week salary. So, you won't get paid when you take your vacation, but you do have it given to you, along with a percentage for your statutory holidays. If for some reason you don't take your full four weeks when you work full time, you are paid the difference.

    We also have 13 stat holidays that we can save up and use a bunch at a time, if we want.

    Nursing in Quebec has its challenges, as does nursing elsewhere.
  11. by   tonybologna
    My fiance loves her nursing job here. She likes the people she works with, and enjoys the liberal vacation and holiday schedule (vs the U.S.). As was said above, they never force her to work overtime, but do ask sometimes.

    For someone though that is coming from the outside, the process of getting all the way to the permanent license- from immigration to the equivalency to the nursing exam to the french exam is not easy. Things would be ten times easier if they had a guide about everything you needed to know from beginning to end, because the process of "discovering" along the way is not fun and it is expensive.
  12. by   spirit11
    :uhoh21:I am a Quebec nurse and native. I agree that nurses from places other than France should avoid Quebec! The Oder of Nurses have their own agenda. Even our very own french speakers have trouble passing the "french Exam". The questions have nothing to do with nursing. Better know how to explain problems associated with ones broken down car in a short letter or conversation!!

    I hope we don't all get sick and die while quebec is preserving its culture because there won't be neither doctor nor nurse left in this place!!!
  13. by   Teachchildren123
    Obviously, the OOIQ and the association taking care of giving the French test could polish their act and make it way easier and way cheaper for the nurses. I am soooo sorry that you had to go through all of this! It's a true disgrace! Lack of respect for such good people!
    I am kinda thinking of going back in Qc, with my US licence and education, and still my French accent! I have lot of work to do though! Oyayaye!
    Please, be generous of any advice!
    Meanwhile, I will get info. from OIIQ, and keep copies of all!
    Last edit by Teachchildren123 on Dec 23, '06 : Reason: mispelling
  14. by   tddowney
    "A very reliable source told us the building has been bombed. That tells you something about the people that run the place and the way they do business."

    As Winston Churchill remarked about civil servants: "Neither civil nor servant."

    Sounds like he was speaking of Quebec when he made the comment.