MONTREAL -- The hatchet seems to have been buried between the Quebec government and the Fédération des médecins spécialistes (FMSQ).

Tuesday, physicians with the federation, which represents tens of thousands of medical specialists, voted 88 per cent in favour of an agreement in principle on reducing their wages.

This comes after the previous Liberal government offered them considerable salary hikes during its mandate.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government recently announced that the agreement would allow the Quebec Treasury to recover about $500 million a year.

During the 2018 election campaign, CAQ leader François Legault repeatedly insisted that Quebec's medical specialists were overpaid.

He pledged to recover $1 billion from their $5 billion payroll and redirect that money into the health care system.

However last fall, he noted that he preferred to reduce their pay by nine per cent to match that of their colleagues in the rest of Canada.

FMSQ President Diane Francoeur says she is pleased with the significant support for the deal, adding she is eager to turn the page on discussions.

Francoeur says the federation has been assured by the government that all the money gained from the pay cuts will go toward improving patient care and setting up a committee to review the need for some medical procedures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2019.