The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ is extremely disappointed in the government’s callousness for its healthcare professionals, because it has still not announced its intention to let them take their vacation. In contrast, yesterday a healthcare institution cancelled its caregiving personnel’s vacation and we fear others will follow. There is no way the FIQ accepts this prospect for its members.
Healthcare professionals have tried to adapt to the government’s directives since the beginning of the health emergency when the latter suspended the provisions governing labour rights. In doing so, they empowered the CISSS and CIUSSS administrations. Healthcare professionals, both FIQ and FIQP | Secteur privé members, were then subjected to changes in their schedules, forced reassignments and cancelled leaves.
On the brink of the end of lockdown and resuming activities in all Québec healthcare institutions, this arrangement cannot go on any longer. “The FIQ has made a clear demand to the government on a number of forums so its members obtain time off so they are able to weather the storm that is this pandemic. The FIQ is also worried about the perspective that the government may upset the healthcare professionals’ working conditions once again and possibly deny their right to vacation with a new ministerial order or directive. It’s obvious that such a measure would be a blatant admission of the government’s lack of recognition of its alleged “guardian angels””, stated Nancy Bédard, President of the FIQ.
The government must realize that a new attack on healthcare professionals’ rights would happen at a pivotal moment and this decision could be one too many, the one that demoralizes the healthcare professionals for good. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be a pretext for deregulating labour rights. If only collective efforts and solidarity can overcome this situation, the government will not succeed by burning out its own workers.
Our members have to be able to continue to be on the front lines to give safe care to the population of Québec: the government is about to miss the boat in giving them the necessary dose of courage for continuing the battle against COVID-19. “The healthcare professionals need to be respected and the government must act in this respect, at the risk of several resigning, reorienting their career or leaving on sick leave. It’s enough, the government cannot ignore their professional integrity forever, their rights must be restored”, insisted Nancy Bédard.
The FIQ is looking forward to the government’s announcement of monthly premiums and will evaluate the effects of these measures on its members.