By decreeing a public health emergency 106 times since March 13, 2020, the government gave itself full power and abused it by violating workers’ rights and bypassing their collective agreement. With Bill 28, the government wants to mark the end of this state of emergency and keep the exceptional powers bestowed upon it by the Public Health Act. That means recognizing that there is no longer a serious threat to the health of the population, whether real or imminent. That should normally put an end to the application of the measures in the ministerial orders that modify the working conditions of health network staff.
However, in the same bill, the government gives itself the sole right to decide which special measures to maintain until December 31, 2022, without having to justify its decisions to anyone. With Bill 28, the government will continue to unilaterally impose measures on employees’ working conditions, without them being subject to an agreement with the employees’ associations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists have been fighting for their rights and to obtain respect for their work contract. The time has come for the government to choose to recognize healthcare professionals and negotiate in good faith with their representatives.