Pre-budget consultations | Innovative APTS proposal to improve the health and social services system
February 03, 2022
Longueuil – The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) is suggesting that health and social services should be protected against budget cuts. By creating a budgetary shield, the government would stabilize funding for the health and social services system and put an end to disruptions caused by going back and forth between budget cuts and reinvestment. This innovative recommendation is at the heart of the APTS brief presented yesterday as part of pre-budget consultations held by finance minister Éric Girard.
“The government is already willing to sacrifice some degree of flexibility in order to comply with laws on achieving a balanced budget and reducing Québec’s debt,” says APTS 2nd vice-president Émilie Charbonneau. “Why not do the same thing to protect the funding of health and social services? We would have been in a much better position to handle the pandemic if there had been funding to ensure a sufficient number of hospital beds and meet the needs of public health authorities, CHSLDs, and youth protection, among others.”
Under the APTS proposal, funding for the health and social services system would minimally be based on the amounts needed to maintain service levels and meet Quebecers’ changing needs, as calculated by an independent body. However, a return of investment in health and social services will not be enough, in itself, to erase the negative impact of large swings over the past decade.
Billions are lacking to ensure Quebecers’ well-being
Despite recent reinvestments in health and social services, Quebecers can still see that the system is underfunded. According to APTS calculations, a $2.5 billion funding shortfall started to develop in 2008, in the aftermath of efforts to reduce the deficit arising from the economic crisis. This funding shortfall contributes to longer waiting lists and forces institutions to rely on overtime as a way of dealing with work overload. The APTS is asking the government for a commitment to correcting the shortfall.
The APTS brief also urges the government to optimize the allocation of budgetary resources. By suspending payments to the Generations Fund and reducing doctors’ excessive compensation, the finance minister could increase the government’s ability to pay for services to Quebecers by $4.7 billion without having to increase their tax contributions.
“Increased funding for the health and social services system is a way for the government to give top priority to Quebecers’ needs,” argues Émilie Charbonneau. “Despite the pandemic, the government has the tools and flexibility it needs to apply our recommendations. What’s needed is the political will to do so. And what’s at stake is the accessibility and quality of our health care and social services.”
Read the APTS brief (in French)
The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents a total of 60,000 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 the population as a whole, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.