CHETWYND -- Chetwynd and area residents are being advised that emergency department services at the Chetwynd General Hospital could be put on diversion over the Canada Day long weekend.

Northern Health says in the event that proper staffing level cannot be maintained this weekend, “the emergency department may require temporary diversion to other area hospitals, on short notice.”

In the case of a diversion, residents in Chetwynd are being told to travel to Dawson Creek or Fort St. John if they need to visit the emergency room.

Earlier this year, Mike Bernier, the MLA for Peace River South said these staffing shortages are not something new.

“The biggest problem I'm hearing isn't recruiting, it's retention. Not just in Chetwynd but the entire Peace Region. We need to figure out how to keep people, how to keep staff,” says Bernier.

Bernier says he’s been working with Northern Health as well as nurses and doctors, to find incentives to keep staff around for longer than a year.

Northern Health said that people in the community who need emergency care should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available and appropriate facility.