The Legault government likes to talk about revamping the health and social services system, but there is a risk that it could collapse if all of the support measures that have accompanied the health-related state of emergency for two years are immediately dropped. According to the FSSS-CSN, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ and the FIQP, the SQEES-FTQ, CUPE, the APTS, the FP-CSN and SPGQ, permanent measures must be urgently established to recognize the efforts by workers over the past two years and to attract and retain personnel in the future.
In the next few weeks, the government will be lifting health emergency and COVID measures implemented during the pandemic. These measures helped maintain the system. The government will therefore be ending both the ministerial decree that allowed employers to restrict the working conditions of employees and the incentives to recognize the efforts made by these employees. If action is too hasty, unions fear that the government will provoke an exodus of workers from the system, triggering further interruptions of service to the public.
“Before going ahead and ending the incentives, the government must reflect on the effect this will have on personnel. Workers are exhausted from their two-year fight against the pandemic. We’re already having trouble attracting and retaining workers in health care, so bringing a quick end of incentives will not do any good. That is why we’re asking the government to begin discussions with us to ensure a smoother transition and to identify permanent solutions to provide better support to personnel in the system,” said representatives from the FSSS-CSN, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ and the FIQP, the SQEES-FTQ, CUPE, the APTS, the FP-CSN and SPGQ.
The union organizations are also asking the government to boost kilometrage allowances for staff in the system who must use their vehicles to perform their duties. The recent hikes in gas prices are a major financial constraint to those affected at a time of staff shortages.