--- Health professionals reach tentative agreement with Québec government on improved working conditions for health care workers
Delegates from the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) and the FIQ private sector voted in favour of adopting a tentative agreement reached with the Quebec government on December 8. The agreement will improve key problem areas in the sector, including work overload, health care worker-to-patient ratios, and making full time positions more attractive.
“This is an agreement that will significantly improve the working conditions of Québec nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists,” said Nancy Bédard, President of the FIQ, in a statement issued by the union. “Not only will our members’ quality of professional and personal life improve, but Québec patients will also have greatly improved quality in their care.”
Recent problems in the sector stem from a recent provincial order issued in November, which forced part-time health care workers to work full-time hours, as a result of higher hospitalization rates during the pandemic’s second wave. The Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) introduced this policy in the Outaouais region on November 4.
“Obviously, this tentative agreement on the sectoral matters will not resolve all the health care professionals’ problems, but we are convinced that the effects will be beneficial and sustainable over time for our members, as well as for the patients in Québec,” said Bédard.
The FIQ union represents 76,000 Québec nurses, licensed practical nurses, respiratory therapists and clinical perfusionists. Negotiations between the union and the provincial government have been ongoing over the last year.
Major gains from the agreement include adding 1,000 full-time positions in the province, a letter of understanding that would encourage the reduction of overtime hours and independent labour, a weekend premium for full-time health care professionals that will go from 4 per cent to 8 per cent, adding 500 full-time positions with priority in medicine-surgery, a 40-hour work week for nurse practitioners and automatic reclassification of an employee with a Bachelor of Nursing degree to a nurse clinician job title.