Quebec government, medical specialists close to a deal
QUEBEC -- The Quebec government and its medical specialists are close to striking a new deal.
Diane Francoeur, president of the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists, told reporters Friday that a framework for a new deal had been negotiated. Terms of the potential new agreement are not yet public.
"It's all going to be made public," she said. "There's nothing to hide. The specialists did their part, we heard the population, we had the preliminary data from the comparison with the Canada. We know that we're in the middle, not up, not down and that's where we wanted to be, so we did our part."
Earlier in the day, the government let it be known that it was moving quickly to reach a deal that will reduce the salaries of the province's medical specialists.
Earlier this week, Treasury Board President Christian Dube said he wanted to reach a tentative deal by Friday. Premier François Legault is calling for negotiations to be finalized before Christmas.
The plan has been in the works for a year, since the CAQ campaigned on the promise to reduce the average specialist's salary from $400,000 to $320,000 a year, which the government estimates will save taxpayers about $1 billion. That money would be redirected into the health care system.
"What we are discussing right now is that there is to be enough money coming from this agreement to make sure that we put this money into the health care system," said Dube.
Dube's press attache told CTV News Montreal that Dube will be meeting with the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists on Friday behind closed doors; he has said from the beginning that he would not negotiate in public.
The minister said on Tuesday that if there was no prospect of agreement, he could use a special law to impose reduced pay.
Last month Dube described the federation's offer of $1 billion over four years as insufficient. According to several reports, the federation has since raised that number to $1.6 billion.