At the special consultation on Bill 61, an Act to restart Québec’s economy and to mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé–FIQ called on the government to abandon the bill, especially sections 31 and 32 which deal with the public health emergency. “The government does not need to make the public health emergency permanent! These measures should remain exceptional! If a second wave hits Quebec in the fall, the government could very easily implement the proper measures with what it has learned in the past few months. Making the public health emergency permanent would permanently exhaust and discourage healthcare professionals!” declared Nancy Bédard, FIQ President.
Comments of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ in the context of the specific consultations on Bill 61
While Bill 61 officially aims to restart the economy and mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency, as the FIQ sees it, passing this bill would intensify negative consequences for women, who make up the majority of public service employees. Already worn out before the pandemic, and then further afflicted by the abusive application of ministerial orders that are upending their working conditions, changing their schedules, vacation and work locations, healthcare professionals are poised for massive demotivation if this public health emergency is extended indefinitely.
The FIQ is disappointed by this bill’s version of an economic recovery and would have preferred to see the government prioritize reinvesting in public services, a predominantly female sector, rather than in infrastructure. The pandemic made it crystal clear that we need strong public services. What’s more, the Federation is extremely concerned about the additional powers the government is trying to obtain. It is choosing to minimize accountability, to withdraw from its obligations under duly negotiated collective agreements, in short, to evade its own laws. It is not respecting environmental or scientific criteria.
“Based on scientific findings, the government is allowing businesses to reopen and allowing people to gather and play team sports. Whole regions in Quebec have been almost entirely spared from the pandemic. However, surprisingly, it would appear that science no longer applies the moment you step into a healthcare institution. Unless “management science” takes precedence over public health when it comes to health network workers? In the last three months, it has become clear as day that issuing one ministerial order after another is not the right way to proceed. It is absolutely imperative that we put an end to this inhumane treatment of healthcare professionals, which means ceasing the abusive use of ministerial orders,” exclaimed Ms. Bédard.