Midwifery advocates on P.E.I. say they've been waiting too long for the provincial government to regulate midwives and doulas, but the health minister says the province is still studying the issue.

Advocates say it's very difficult for midwifes to work in the province's unregulated environment.


Working in an unregulated environment can be an insurance problem for midwives, says Susana Rutherford. (CBC)

The Birth Options Research Network recently relaunched an online petition to include midwives in Island healthcare services. Over the last 10 days 300 people have signed it.A

BORN spokeswoman Susana Rutherford told CBC News Monday P.E.I. is the only province that has not committed to regulate midwifery, and that's a problem for women looking for a midwife.

"You'd have to find a midwife who'd decided to step outside of the regulatory framework and they're few and far between," said Rutherford.

"You might even be looking at bringing a midwife from the States or something. But those midwives could cause problems for themselves as far as insurance and liability and stuff. So it's getting pretty difficult, if not impossible to get a midwife to come here."

The government announced a task force two years ago to study how a program would work on the Island.

But that group now says it doesn't have enough information to make any recommendations.

So the province is doing more research, said Health Minister Doug Currie.

Midwifery advocates would eventually like to see the province not only license midwifery services, but pay for them too.

"There's no secret that we're in fiscal challenging times," said Currie. "And we're currently evaluating all services in the province. So we need to make sure that before we look at any new additional services, we have the best information that we require to make those decisions."

The province wants to find out how much a midwifery program would cost, and how it would fit in the current system, Currie said.

It's unclear how much longer that will take.