Quebec hired 10,000 new orderlies, but some say the province lied about how permanent they'd be
MONTREAL -- Quebec orderlies have been praised for their work through the pandemic, but despite the plaudits, many feel they have been lied to by the government as their contracts will soon end.
One orderly, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisals, told CTV News they “100 per cent” felt lied to by the government, as what was supposed to be a permanent job has instead turned into a one-year contract that will expire in September.
“That's why I want it to be known now, because there's only two more months in our contracts,” they said. “Even though it was never supposed to be a contract. I want people know now, before the narrative is switched on us.”
Last year, as Quebec's CHSLDs buckled under the dual weights of the pandemic and short-staffing, Premier Francois Legault launched a massive recruitment blitz for orderlies. In June, 2020, he said his plan would see 10,000 people be trained as orderlies and given permanent jobs by September.
Pamela Scott was among those who answered the call. But she said soon after her training started, the deal changed.
“It was a full-time position, with a guaranteed salary and once I got through my training and got through the door, it was closed behind me. I found it wasn't that,” she said.
Scott said she was told the permanent position was instead a one-year contract.
Both orderlies said some new staffers will see their jobs be switched to an on-call basis, with no guarantee of hours.
Scott did manage to get a part-time position, though she had hoped for full-time.
Jeff Begley, president of the CSN union representing the orderlies, said that once the contracts are up, they should be grouped into the existing collective agreement.
“This was something that was done really, really quickly. It's not surprising there's some confusion,” he said.
The orderly who asked for anonymity said they love their new job and they fear that, with CHSLDs still short-staffed after the hiring blitz, the people they've cared for could suffer once more.
“I'm hurt. I'm really hurt knowing we're not cared for,” they said. “To know our government can say one thing and not follow through.”