Rouyn-Noranda, Lévis, Terrebonne, Montréal, Québec, Rimouski, Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi, Saint-Jérôme, Saint-Constant, Longueuil, Hull, Sherbrooke. Throughout Quebec, healthcare professionals from the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ took a few minutes of their precious time, on their lunch break or at the end of their shift today, to send a clear message to the government: they are dead tired.
In Montreal, several socially distanced protests, respecting a two-metre distance, were held outside hospitals and CHSLDs that receive patients with COVID-19, where healthcare professionals’ daily lives have completely changed since the beginning of the crisis and the implementation of ministerial orders.
In Quebec City, at noon, around fifty healthcare professionals from the three unions in the region blocked the intersection outside of the Hôtel Concorde, which was turned into a centre for COVID-19 patients. The healthcare professionals lay on the ground to symbolically demonstrate their extreme fatigue. They held a minute of silence before chanting, “Dead tired!”
Healthcare professionals also demonstrated outside of Minister Danielle McCann’s office in Saint-Constant and Minister Andrée Laforest’s office in Saguenay.
Healthcare professionals have been at the end of their rope for a long time already and now, they also have to deal with not getting their days off, having their schedules changed without warning, being moved from one institution to another without regard for their expertise, being put at risk of contracting the virus every day, not being able to balance their work and family lives–these conditions have a serious impact on their physical and mental health.
They deserve respect. It is absolutely essential that they have it in order to continue this battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, which is far from over. They are Quebec’s best weapon against the disease.
“There’s a hum of anger among healthcare professionals. They are angry that their rights have been put on hold and that the problems they have been denouncing for years are only getting worse,” explained FIQ President Nancy Bédard who participated in the demonstrations at the CHSLD Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, in Montreal and outside the Pierre-LeGardeur hospital in Terrebonne.
Everywhere, employers are using ministerial orders to impose an authoritarian management style despite the fact that healthcare professionals having been cooperating since the beginning of the crisis. Their actions just illustrate once again the blatant discrepancy between what the government is saying each day in its press conference and what is really happening in the field. “Mr. Legault, Ms. McCann, listen to us! Show us respect! Even though they are exhausted, healthcare professionals will continue to speak up, stand up for their rights, and do what’s necessary to get respect,” said Ms. Bédard.