At noon today, several hundred people, including employees of the Institut and other CUPE members in health and social services, demonstrated in front of the Institut to denounce the risks to the public posed by excessive staff turnover.
On paper, the Institut currently has 840 unionized employees, but when the many people off on sick leave, leave without pay, parental leave, etc., are deducted, this leaves only 689 active members. Complaints to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) have skyrocketed by 800% since 2022.
CUPE 2960 points to, in particular, the shortage of specialized pacification and safety caseworkers (ISPS), who are responsible for safety interventions at the institution. They are leaving in droves to work in the provincial or federal prison system and with police forces where wages and working conditions are better. More than 150 have left in the past two years.
“We must never lose sight of the fact that the quality of case management at the Institut Pinel is vital to the health and safety of everyone in Quebec. This helps head off tragedies similar to the ones that occurred in Laval last February, in Amqui last March or in Louiseville, also in March, where a female police officer was killed by a patient who had been deemed not criminally responsible for his acts five separate times,” pointed out Marie-Eve Desormeaux, President of CUPE 2960.
“Today, we are demanding better risk management for our members, who very often are the victims of violent assaults, and for the public. This is achieved, in particular, through good labour relations, and unions at the Institut Pinel have just requested assistance from the Ministry of Labour on this particular issue,” added Desormeaux.