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Coronavirus: Quebec has received 55,000 applications for long-term care jobs, Legault says

A worker looks out the window at the Vigi Mount Royal seniors residence Friday May 1, 2020 in Montreal.
A worker looks out the window at the Vigi Mount Royal seniors residence Friday May 1, 2020 in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

After calls for help in long-term care homes amid the novel coronavirus crisis, Quebec’s premier says 55,000 people have signed up to study and become orderlies.

François Legault made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday morning, thanking those who enrolled in the three-month program slated to start in mid-June.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the 55,000 people who heard our call and who applied to become CHSLD workers,” he wrote.

READ MORE: Quebec premier says hiring 10,000 orderlies ‘crucial’ to preventing 2nd coronavirus wave

The province has launched a sweeping recruitment campaign to woo at least 10,000 Quebecers into working in the province’s beleaguered long-term care system.

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Students are offered $760 per week for the duration of their training. Once they have completed their training, they will work in a nursing home at a starting annual salary of $49,000.

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Education Minister Jean-François Roberge told reporters on Wednesday that applicants must meet specific criteria in order to be considered. They must be at least 18 years old and have completed Grade 9. They must also be in good physical health and not have a criminal record.

Legault, who has pleaded for health-care professionals and volunteers to help in long-term care homes hit hard by the virus, says the hiring blitz will help prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections. He hopes the new orderlies will replace the soldiers and volunteers who are staffing those facilities in September.

READ MORE: Federal aid needed for long-term care homes before 2nd wave of COVID-19 — advocates

Residents of long-term care homes in Quebec, who are among the most elderly, sick and vulnerable, account for roughly 65 per cent of all COVID-19 victims in the province.

Quebec leads the country in caseload and deaths since the pandemic began. Legault has said the numbers are improving, but the situation is still difficult in long-term care homes.

— With files from the Canadian Press