A day after announcing a major compromise regarding his health care reform bill, Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette announced a number of changes to Bill 20 Tuesday.

There will no longer be a cut-off age for fertility treatments, nor will there be a requirement for married couples to engage in three years of sexual activity before having access to fertility aid.

The original bill included a cut-off age of 42 for women who wanted to take part in in-vitro fertilization. They will now have access but won’t get a tax credit.

The PQ said it believes there will be a drop in the number of patients overall, though, because fertility treatments will no longer be covered up front, but will instead be reimbursed as a tax credit.


In total, Barrette is proposing 72 amendments to Bill 20 and 18 of those changes widen access to fertility aid.

Parti Quebecois health critic Diane Lamarre said her party inspired Barrette’s changes, but the minister said it was expert witnesses who testified on the proposed measures who convinced him to change his mind.

Barrette announced Monday that the government and family doctors reached an agreement to exempt the latter from quotas outlined in the bill.

In exchange, the general practitioners have until 2018 to ensure 85 per cent of Quebecers have access to a family doctor.

Bill 20 proposes changes and deal with issues of accessibility to family doctors and medical specialists and assisted reproduction.

Barrette said he expects Quebecers will start to see the benefits of Bill 20 very soon.

"The agreement that we signed yesterday is not something up in the air. It's not hot air. There is a commitment on the part of GPs to resolve those issues and I'm quite confident that we will see changes as we speak, starting with enrolment and starting with quicker appointments and transformation of doctors' practices," he said.