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Reaction mixed to Quebec's new health reform


Reaction to the passage of Bill 15 on health reform at the Quebec legislature early Saturday morning has been mixed.

Opposition party MNAs are continuing to denounce invoking closure to push through the vast reform.

Elsewhere, however, reactions were more divided.

The union of government professionals (Syndicat de professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec or SPGQ), said it believes Health Minister Christian Dubé doesn't realize that he won't have the staff he needs to carry out the reform, in which he plans to create a new government corporation, Santé Québec.

SPGQ President Guillaume Bouvrette said he thinks government professionals have no interest in going to work for Santé Québec, at least not in the transition phase looming for many Health Ministry employees.

"The minister is implying that the salaries of those transferred to Santé Québec will be similar, but this is not true. In fact, the ministry's professional staff earn 7 per cent to 14 per cent more than those in the health network," said explained Bouvrette.

"This means that our members will receive half the salary increases provided for in the collective agreement, and the other half in lump sums until their salaries at Santé Québec are in line with the new agreement. This situation could last for many years," he said.

Others, however, are looking at the sweeping health-care reform with optimism.

The Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec or FCCQ), considers Bill 15's adoption and creating the Santé Québec agency "an opportunity to finally break down the silos in the health-care network in order to promote interregional workforce mobility and the adoption of innovative practices."

"Employers in different regions have reason to rejoice with the announced arrival of network seniority. Finally, they will be able to recruit workers from outside their region whose spouse works in the health network, without being blocked by the fact that they must give up all their privileges linked to their seniority,' said Charles Milliard, president and CEO of the FCCQ.

The federation is concerned, though, about certain powers granted to the new agency, and expects it to be properly supervised.

For its part, the association of managers of health and social services (Association des gestionnaires des établissements de santé et de services sociaux or AGESSS) welcomes, with some reservations, the adoption of Bill 15, An Act to make the health and social services system more efficient.

"The AGESSS salutes the government's efforts to improve the efficiency of the health and social services network (...) However, we regret that our recommendation to create a Council of Local Managers has gone unheeded. Its main aim was to ensure that managers were consulted throughout the transition leading to the creation of the Santé Québec agency, so that the process would run smoothly," said Danielle Girard, president and CEO of AGESSS.

"AGESSS is also concerned that the bill has not been amended to limit the minister's powers of direct intervention in the day-to-day management of health and social services institutions (...) The Minister and his department should focus on determining orientations and not intervene in the management of the network," adds the press release.

AGESSS represents more than 8,300 active managers in the health and social services network.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 9, 2023. Top Stories

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