It is with great pleasure that I welcome the recent agreement in principle for the renewal of the healthcare professionals’ collective agreement concluded with the government of Quebec. The FIQ members can be proud of having stood up and fought for recognition of their work.
The year 2011 should, therefore, start on a happier note. Unfortunately however, not everything is settled and the Federation will be occupied with a number of files in the coming months, notably the one on the fight against privatization. Although a national target reduction of 40% in the rate of utilization of independent labour was set for the Class 1 professionals by the end of the collective agreement in 2015, within the context of the negotiations, the battle is far from over. The evolution in the rate of utilization of independent labour will be closely followed by the FIQ.
After more than seven years in power in Quebec, the Charest government’s style of governing is marked by shadowy decision making and by a heady odor of corruption. Rarely has one seen such a succession of “affairs” that show the closeness and dangerous collusion between government elected officials and the private sector.
Careful monitoring of the future of public services is required, and in particular that of the public health network. Whether by reliance on private healthcare placement agencies, by the development of intermediate resources, through PPP projects or agreements on performing surgery in private clinics, all these decisions have one and only one objective: provide business opportunities for the private sector.
The consequences are disastrous for the Quebec population. According to the Charest government, the future of the health network rests on toyotism, the future of care on its dehumanization, the future of patients on a production line timed to the second. The good of the public is no longer the basis for the decisions. Yet, in a recent survey entitled “Le Québec de mes rêves” (The Quebec of my dreams), Quebecers admitted having great hopes in matters of health, in particular for access to a family physician and waiting times in emergency departments. The government truly needs to adjust its approach.
To confront these major issues, the FIQ must pursue its action strategy in order to remain the key stakeholder it has always been. The next year will surely be an opportunity to reassert the values that motivate Quebec healthcare professionals. More than ever, they must all pursue the fight to end privatization of the public health network and to find concrete solutions to improve it and make it attractive.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!