After a seemingly long drawn out saga, the Quebec Ombudsperson has agreed with the FIQ-Syndicat des Professionnelles en soins de l’Outaouais: the processing time for a complaint regarding access to personal protective equipment at the CHSLD Lionel-Émond in Gatineau was too long. The Ombudsperson recommends changes to how the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) operates.
In concluding the investigation, the Ombudsperson is recommending that the CNESST change its service statement (which indicates a 15-day wait-time) and state that due to exceptional circumstances, it may take longer. When the CNESST cannot meet the timeline, the Ombudsperson recommends that it send a notice, which will make up for the lack of transparency it has demonstrated in this case.
How events unfolded
- May 28: the union filed its complaint with the CNESST regarding the CHSLD Lionel-Émond, and emphasized that it was urgent;
- June 3: the union provided evidence to the inspector to support its complaint and reminded the CNESST that the situation was urgent;
- June 15: the union provided the CNESST with additional information;
- June 16: the CNESST’s inspector began her interventions;
- July 3: the union sent a formal notice to obtain the CNESST’s report by July 5 at the latest;
- July 6: the union received the CNESST’s report;
- July 7: the union filed a complaint with the Ombudsperson about the CNESST;
- July 23: the Ombudsperson issued its finding that the complaint was founded.
Appropriate legal action is already being taken to challenge the CNESST’s report from July 6 and the case was referred to the Administrative Labour Tribunal this week. We will keep following this case, which will also likely encounter its own share of delays! The CHSLD Lionel-Émond (long known as the Foyer du Bonheur), was the residential centre that was hit the hardest by COVID-19 in Outaouais: 17 residents and two staff members died.