The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ is disappointed in the 2021-2022 budget presented by the finance minister. Expectations were high for support for those who have been on the front lines since the pandemic began. While there may be new investments in healthcare, the strong measures for ensuring care sustainability and additional staff are nowhere to be seen. Once again, there are no measures to attract and retain healthcare professionals in the budget. The government’s verbal recognition of healthcare professionals’ work did result in any action.
The budget clearly shows that the recovery will be masculine, while women remain neglected. Investments in the economic recovery and infrastructure will mostly benefit men, while the public sector, one that is predominantly female, has been totally dismissed by the government.
The FIQ was demanding a helping hand to rebuild the health network. It was asking for major reinvestments and support for healthcare workers. The boost for the public network expected in the budget, to provide quality care to the population, especially to vulnerable clienteles, is just not there. There is a real effort to increase mental health services, but no measures to ensure there will be enough staff in the public network.
“The government is off target. The public network is broken. We were expecting to see major healthcare investments. While there are some funds allocated, the budget makes no proposals to ensure that healthcare professionals will be able provide safe, quality care. The government lacks the courage to fight against the hiring of independent labour by funding staff attraction and retention measures. Women are penalized by yet another budget.”Nancy Bédard, President, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec-FIQ
Ageing at home: the government missed an opportunity
The amounts allocated in the budget for home care, i.e., 750 million dollars over 5 years, will not be enough to allow seniors to age at home. Currently, public services only cover 5% of home care needs, and the FIQ had estimated that it would require 2.9 billion dollars in investments. While this may sound like a lot, the pandemic has unfortunately shown us the human cost of neglecting seniors’ care and the limits of current accommodation models. The government did not seize the opportunity to review the offer for seniors’ accommodation and care, which will come back to haunt it with our fast ageing population.
Women: 50% of the population will not benefit from the Girard budget
The FIQ is outraged to see that the economic recovery totally excludes women and dismisses the disastrous economic consequences the pandemic has had on them. There are not enough efforts to support the government’s missions, such as healthcare, education and public services, which are predominantly female sectors. By supporting innovation and infrastructure, the government is supporting men. Quebec has seen 7 femicides since the year began. Yet, only 4.5 million dollars is invested per year in organizations that help women who are victims of domestic violence. The FIQ is distressed by how little is invested to fight this problem. The measures barely scrape the surface of the huge demand on these organizations.