Doctors in Nova Scotia will begin negotiating a new contract within months and money is expected to be a major issue, because the physicians are among the lowest paid in the country.
According to the Canadian Institute of Health information the province’s doctors are the second lowest paid in Canada, only next to Prince Edward Island.
The organization said the average pay is in the $250,000 per year range. A handful make more than $1 million.
Doctors Nova Scotia, the organization that represents physicians in Nova Scotia, says salaries are a concern because some doctors' overhead eats up 30 to 40 per cent of their pay.
"We need to be concerned about whether they are paid on a competitive basis, no question because they're highly skilled, they’re highly trained and they're highly mobile and so we need to make sure that we're creating an environment in Nova Scotia that really attracts and retains physicians so that we have the kind of care that we need," said Nancy McCready-Williams, CEO of Doctors Nova Scotia.
Doctors’ salaries in N.S
196 make between $40K-$100K
863 make between $100K-$300K
403 make between $300K-$500K
164 make between $500K-$1million
and five doctors make bewteen $1 million- $2 million.
She said a recent survey showed compensation is the most important factor when it comes to recruiting and retaining physicians.
"We need to make sure when physicians do arrive here there are supports in place and we need to make sure compensation is fair and competitive," said McCready-Williams.
But Health Minister David Wilson said he isn't sure the ranking is accurate, adding there are a number of factors that could influence the figures.
"I think our physicians here in the province are compensated reasonably," he said.
McCready-Williams said money will be one of the big items on the bargaining table when contract talks resume later this year or early next.
Doctors saved the province about $40 million with their current contract, when they agreed to reduce a negotiated raise, over two years, to just one per cent .