The Council of the Federation ended last Wednesday in Winnipeg and Canadian provincial leaders have gathered to discuss mutual interests and issues, including federal health transfers. While this may seem far removed from our day-to-day concerns, it’s essential we take heed. The funding provinces receive from the Federal government has a significant impact on how provincial healthcare networks are funded, including Quebec’s, and on healthcare professionals’ working conditions.
That’s why major Canadian unions are present at this event, promoting and discussing interprovincial-territorial cooperation opportunities with government officials. My job, as President of the FIQ, is also to be present at these forums, and to make sure your voice, the voice of Quebec healthcare professionals, is heard. At a luncheon conference organized by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, I had the opportunity to remind our Premier, François Legault, who was also in attendance, that we would love to discuss the solutions we have on how to improve the Quebec healthcare network. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem too interested, preferring to turn to social media to call on unions for greater “collaboration” and more malleable collective agreements.
Mr. Legault, we have already demonstrated how flexible and adaptable we are. Be it during the day, the evening, the night and even over weekends. We’ve been flexing that flexibility muscle for years now. If you want to talk about collaboration, it takes two to tango. We have repeatedly proposed proven solutions that have worked elsewhere in Canada and around the world. If you really want to change Quebec’s healthcare system for the better, it’s time you listened up.
During our discussion, I reminded you that British Columbia has become the first Canadian province to legally set safe ratios for patients and healthcare professionals, despite facing challenges similar to ours, such as labour shortages, work overload and the growing use of independent labour. It would not only help our healthcare professionals benefit from better work-life balance, but also ensure they remain in the public network. They know exactly what is going on on the ground and what needs to be done to ensure the healthcare network delivers safe, quality care in decent conditions. All we ask is that you take a moment of your time to actually listen to us, instead of playing the social media influencer online.