Fired anglophone nurses getting French tutor

  1. last updated wed, 12 jan 2005 10:48:03 est
    cbc news

    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.
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  3. by   mattsmom81
    This all seems so strange to me. Here (TX, USA) it is law we must supply interpretors to benefit our patients. (and many ESL patients enjoy taking advantage with this)

    In Quebec the nurses and docs are removed from their positions if they cannot speak French "well enough" ? Hmmm. Ah well...I have heard Quebec takes its French very seriously. I do wonder why they wanted to work there if they knew the requirement. In south Texas one does not do well if they do not understand Spanish, so it is understood...don't go to work there if you don't have a working knowledge of Spanish.I have not seen it a 'requirement' tho...just 'preferred'.
  4. by   GingerSue
    maybe they thought they could pass the French exams.
    maybe the exams turned out to be more difficult than they anticipated.
    -with tutoring, I'm sure they can learn sufficiently, afterall they would also have had lots of exposure to French-speaking in their lives within Montreal, which is a wonderful city.
  5. by   Morning-glory
    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
  6. by   einstein
    I now live in the US but obtained my licence in Montreal. This exam is very hard(I am fluent in french) and I had a tough time. They were testing nursing concepts that were difficult to understand in english let alone trying to explain them in french.It's sad because Montreal is in desparate need of nurses. Sometimes caring for sick patients doesn't need a language
  7. by   fergus51
    Complete and total stupidity. I am also bilingual, but am getting to the point where I could care less if Quebec leaves Canada. I say "Bon voyage" (with my unapologetically anglo accent )
  8. by   Q.
    Interesting how this is such a contrast between the USA, where I believe we have difficulty even naming English as the primary language.
  9. by   fergus51
    Quote from Q.
    Interesting how this is such a contrast between the USA, where I believe we have difficulty even naming English as the primary language.
    Quebec is really the exception in Canada. I know in my home province you could take the driving test in Punjabi, Hindi, Cantonese and Mandarin. This is more about government policy than people on the street.

    IMO, the US has a lot of different languages, but the government is definitely a mostly english zone as are workplaces. Many of my patients speak spanish, but I've never been threatenned with my job because I don't speak it.