CUPE has uncovered serious problems in rehabilitation centres for clientele with cognitive impairments and autism spectrum disorder (CRDITSA). Since the implementation of the Barrette reforms in 2015, CUPE has noted that the supervision of patients suffering from cognitive impairments or serious behavioural disorders has deteriorated.

This has had a direct effect on the health and safety of employees, who have increasingly been targets of violent incidents and have noted that they are unable to fulfill their mission, which is to provide rehabilitation.

In fact, CUPE union representatives deplore the fact that the institution itself has been becoming more disorganized over time and that resources have been in short supply. Patients in the CRDITSAs are increasingly left to fend for themselves or are inadequately supervised. This situation is such that they pose a danger to themselves and to personnel.

The most experienced employees are calling in sick, become disabled, resign or make themselves unavailable due to the increase in violent incidents. Their less experienced colleagues must therefore pick up the slack in ever-worsening conditions, which has further contributed to the vicious circle of staff turnover.

“CRDITSA employees are good-hearted, do their very best and love their work and their patients. But more often than not, they are dealing with crises instead of working on rehabilitation. Their work is becoming exceptionally dangerous, which is unacceptable. They end up getting sick due to the harmful effects of the Barrette reforms. Large numbers of our members are willing to talk and have provided numerous accounts of what has been going on,” explained Simon Beaulieu, president of CUPE 3247.

In CRDIs, members of CUPE work as rehabilitation assistants, administrative officers and health and social services auxiliaries.