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The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) welcomes Quebec’s recent decision to drop plans to charge people living in Quebec significant user fees to access health care services in the province.

Union president Paul Moist praised the work of CUPE Quebec and the Federation des travailleurs du Quebec (FTQ) in helping to organize widespread public opposition that made the Charest government to backtrack.

Forcing people to pay out of pocket to access health services creates barriers to care for the poorest members of our society,” said Moist. “Worse, the user fee scheme posed a real threat to fundamental principles of our public medicare system.”

Meanwhile, the FTQ will keep up the pressure to force the Quebec government drop a controversial $200 per adult health care tax that was also announced in last spring’s budget.

Clearly our work to defend medicare is not over,” said Claude Généreux, CUPE national secretary-treasurer, who worked in the Quebec health system.

The Charest government wants adult citizens to pay the $200 per year tax, so that a person who makes $30,000 a year will pay the same amount as one making $120,000. This isn’t progressive—it is a serious breach in our social contract,” said Généreux.