If we believe the government, YES!
In his press briefing on May 27, 2020, the premier, François Legault reminded everyone that the precarious situation in the CHSLDs was mainly because of a chronic lack of beneficiary attendants. He then announced his intention to recruit and train 10,000 new beneficiary attendants over the next few months.
Moreover, the government is proposing, in its most recent offer for the renewal of the collective agreements, salary increases of 18% for beneficiary attendants, to make their positions more attractive. In fact, Mr. Legault alleges that if his government has made a mistake since they came to power, it was not having increased beneficiary attendants’ salaries at the same time as they increased the CHSLD budgets.
However, is that really the case? Is the government really attacking the heart of the CHSLD workforce shortage with the new measures?
When we look at it more closely, the precarious situation of the CHSLDs cannot be relegated to a lack of beneficiary attendants or a simple question of salary.
The CHSLDs are mini-hospitals. For this reason, they not only need beneficiary attendants, they also have a great need for nurses and licensed practical nurses to give the treatments and care. Even before the pandemic, mush of this care could not be given because of a lack of staff. Too often, the healthcare professionals are faced with heart-wrenching choices, as they have to prioritize certain care over other care.
If the care teams are deserting the CHSLDs, it is not only because of salaries but also because of the excessive workload and unbearable and unattractive working conditions. It is very difficult for a healthcare professional to perform her work knowing that she will not have the time to give safe, quality care.
If the government wants to attack the heart of the problem in CHSLDs, they have to first look at safe ratios. That is what we have to start with. That is what is going to give the members on the care teams back their confidence and will fill positions.