STRAIT AREA: A partnership between two health care recruitment groups on Cape Breton has created an electronic mailing list for landlords to subscribe to, and support the attraction, recruitment and retention of health care professionals in the area.

The Cape Breton South Recruiting for Health (CBSRH) and the recently formed Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) Community Health Recruitment and Retention Committee are encouraging landlords, real estate agents and other property owners to sign-up to be contacted when a health care navigator is seeking housing for a potential health care professional.

“We have been working at recruiting physicians, but when nurses or other health care professionals would call, sometimes we’re told they’re looking for a place to stay. They were struggling finding something, and it was a lot of effort from our team trying to track down if there were rentals around” Trevor Boudreau, co-chair of the CBSRH told The Reporter. ”This tool will allow us to connect with landlords, and will also help ensure that the healthcare professional’s criteria aligns with the accommodations available.”

Trying to figure out a best way to try to connect with landlords quickly and make the process more efficient, the CBSRH came up with the idea of an electronic mailing list to help health care groups find housing for newcomer health care professionals.

“Let’s be honest, it’s really had to find housing for anybody,” Boudreau said. “So someone coming from outside the area, health care professionals included, it is a real struggle, we see this as a barrier, but this is how we’re trying to deal with this.”

When a health care navigator is looking for accommodations, they will reach out to the mailing list to help find housing solutions for the professional they are looking to recruit.

The private and confidential list will only be accessed by health care navigators and will assist in their recruitment efforts by identifying temporary and long-term housing solutions for essential health care professionals that they are working to bring to the Island.

“A high demand for housing, with a limited availability continues to be a barrier to the attraction and retention of health care professionals on the Island,” Bryan Pratt, a member of the CBRM Community Health Recruitment and Retention Committee said. “We are hoping this initiative will be a step in the right direction in addressing this barrier and help retain professionals for the long-term.”

As for CBSRH’s recruiting efforts, Boudreau highlighted they’ve been able to support everybody to date in some way, and not having access to housing hasn’t hindered any recruitment efforts, to this point.

“Who knows where this can go, this is for health care professionals and supporting health care in our communities but if this works for us, maybe it will work for others,” he said. “People want to find the right fit for them, whether that’s close to work or convenient for work or school for their kids, and that’s what we’re trying to provide here.”

The partnership between the two groups is something both believe will be very useful as this isn’t just happening in the Strait area, and any initiative to help support healthcare recruitment on Cape Breton and Nova Scotia will benefit everyone.

“When people are applying for jobs, they’re not just applying in Nova Scotia or the Strait area so if we have a quick response on housing for them, it shows how much the community cares about having them here and values them,” Boudreau said. “I think it brings some context to where they’re coming and the community feel that we’ll have.”

Participation in this initiative is important and will help in the efforts to attract and retain healthcare staff for the entire island of Cape Breton. Anyone interested in joining the Cape Breton Housing mailing list can visit https://bit.ly/CB-Healthcare-Housing to sign up.