If we take the word of Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services, one part of the problem comes from the fact that healthcare professionals are sometimes “a bit slack at certain times during the day.”
In a press conference in Saguenay, he reminded the media that he had sent a letter to CISSS and CIUSSS CEOs to remind them that it is very important to ensure that health network staff is following the best infection prevention and control practices. “I am not looking to point the finger,” he said, but we must keep in mind that “when we forget these measures, deaths occur.”
Moreover, Mr. Dubé sums up the ministry’s responsibility as follows (stated as an official promise): “[We will] support our employees with communication measures to ensure that people carefully follow [these practices].”
In broaching this matter in this way, the government is unloading some of the responsibility of infection on workers. Furthermore, some employers are also trying to hold staff members responsible, as was the case for the difficult situation at the St-Eusèbe CHSLD in Joliette. It’s clever because it moves the focus away from those who are truly responsible for infection problems. And according to Minister Dubé, the employer is only responsible for… ensuring its employees take responsibility.
In Minister Dubé’s statement, he explained that “Our employees may become a bit slack […] either on breaks or when they are together in the lunchroom. It’s important that they follow directives.” It seems Mr. Dubé is completely disregarding the employer’s responsibility to offer a framework at work where it is reasonably and humanly possible to respect these rules while continuing to offer safe, quality care.
For example, does the staff have adequate areas where they can take breaks? Are the cafeterias organized in a way that respects the health rules? Also, are employers doing everything necessary to ensure that staff from hot and cold zones aren’t mixing, that there is sufficient personal protective equipment and that ventilation and aeration systems are adequate?
Clearly, those in power still haven’t come close to truly examining their conscience as to the political responsibility of this health crisis.