BILL 15 Health care unions lay the basis for dialogue

April 17, 2023

Image BILL 15 Health care unions lay the basis for dialogue

Montréal – Parliamentary consultations will soon begin for Bill 15, recently tabled by health minister Christian Dubé, and the unions involved in health and social services have issued a common statement of principles in which they speak with one voice to explain the key elements of their vision to improve the health and social service system. The status quo is not an option, and the unions, drawing on the experience of their members on the ground, are ready to engage in dialogue with the minister about the wide-ranging reform that is being proposed.

“We believe that this major reform must be based on a strong statement of the public character of Québec’s health system, and must respond to the significant challenges involved in decentralizing it, making it more democratic, and ensuring that public services are more accessible,” says the document endorsed by the APTS, the CSN, the CSQ, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ, the FP-CSN, the FSSS-CSN, CUPE Québec, the SPGQ and the SQEES.

Free and universal access
Key principles defended by the unions include universal access to care and services that are available free of charge to all Quebecers, as well as a system in which funding, management, and delivery of care and services are entirely public. The unions’ vision is based on a system that is explicitly and steadfastly public in character. They want to prevent any new intrusion of the private sector, and to reduce its current involvement to the lowest possible level. “There is no room for commoditized health care, nor do we have the resources to pay for private sector profits,” say the unions.

A decentralized and more democratic system
The inter-union coalition is also concerned by the loss of democratic power within health and social service institutions: “Decentralizing the health and social service system and making it more democratic, by working with actors involved in the system throughout Québec, are crucial steps that must be taken so that we can establish better priorities and adapt care and services to specific needs and realities. This will allow us to act preventively on social determinants such as income and social status, which are currently being ignored.”

The unions are also speaking with one voice to demand significantly better working conditions for people working in the public system, since this is a key factor in the crucially important process of attracting and retaining employees.

The inter-union coalition has launched a petition that includes the most important elements of these demands. It is sponsored by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, and was published yesterday on the National Assembly website.