Bill 15 | The APTS tells the government to change course
May 09, 2023
Québec City – As part of special consultations on Bill 15 – the proposed law to make the health and social service system more efficient – the APTS, which is the largest union representing professional and technical staff in health and social services, will be telling the government it needs to renounce the bill in its current form. APTS members gathered this morning before the National Assembly to alert MNAs entering the building to the dangers inherent in the bill.
Like the government, the APTS wants to see major changes that will fix the problems of the health and social service system. But the measures included in Bill 15, unfortunately, will have a negative impact on the quality of care and services, burden taxpayers with higher costs, and degrade the work environment for employees.
“Logically, we need a 180-degree turn away from the directions proposed by Bill 15,” said APTS president Robert Comeau. “This bill, which takes direct inspiration from Alberta, offers misguided solutions based on flawed premises. Opening up to the private sector and hypercentralization under the Santé Québec agency are two examples. To get out of our current quagmire, we need solutions based on true decentralization, a real movement towards greater democracy and a completely public and universal model.”
A Trojan horse for the private sector
Bill 15 gives pride of place to the private sector, and several sections of the bill reveal the government’s belief that this is the only way to make care and services more accessible in the short term. But any increase in the role of the private sector tends to have dramatic consequences. In England, for instance, outsourcing health care to the private sector is associated with a significant increase in treatable mortality rates.
“As a general rule, the private sector provides lower-quality services at greater cost,” said APTS 2nd vice-president Émilie Charbonneau. “It should never be anything but the last resort, whatever the circumstances. But cost reduction policies have been suffocating our public system for years, and this has increased our dependence on the private sector.”
Centralization set to reach a new high
Bill 15 provides for the creation of an extremely centralized organizational structure. Very few real powers are left to levels other than senior managers of the Santé Québec agency, and essential tools for local management – including the negotiation of local matters within institutions – are being removed.
“In his inaugural speech, the premier advocated a decentralized health and social service system,” said Robert Comeau. “Six months later, his health minister is proposing a massive concentration of powers that threatens our system’s chief tool for local management. The Barrette reform already introduced too much centralization – we should be learning from its errors.”
The APTS brief on Bill 15 will be presented before the National Assembly’s committee on health and social services at 6:35 p.m. today.
The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents more than 65,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social services institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for all Quebecers, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.