Mandatory travel of nurses No deal if Quebec doesn39t give

Mandatory travel of nurses: No deal if Quebec doesn't give in, says FIQ

After the teachers, Quebec now has to reach an agreement with the nurses. But her union refuses to sign if the Legault government continues to impose compulsory travel between ministries.

“For us, this motion needs to leave the negotiating table so that we can achieve something interesting for the 80,000 health workers in Quebec. If the travel requirement remains in place, there will be no agreement in principle,” said the president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), Julie Bouchard, during a press conference in Montreal on Thursday.

It made it clear that its members would fundamentally reject an agreement containing such a provision.

Since the beginning of negotiations, the Legault government has been demanding more “flexibility” both from the teachers with whom it has reached an agreement and from the nurses, although there is still no new collective agreement.

However, if the Minister of Health insists on the need to allow, for example, a nurse from Montreal to work on the South Coast, the FIQ assures that this obligation would also apply between departments of the same hospital.

Quebec maintains that these trips are voluntary, but its assurances do not convince the union.


The FIQ has already listed cases in which a nurse had to be represented in a department other than their area of ​​expertise, even if the applicable collective agreements do not require travel.

Joining Ms. Bouchard was Tracey Beaudoin, a clinical nurse specializing in perinatal care, to explain the fear she felt as she was parachuted into the birthing center of her hospital in central Quebec.

The young woman is used to working in community care but admits she didn't feel up to the task. “The hospital environment, it’s been years since I’ve touched it, I don’t remember everything,” she points out.

A baby can “decompensate” or the mother can suffer bleeding, she explains. “I don’t want anything to happen to a little baby or a mother because I wasn’t quick enough,” Tracey Beaudoin said.

However, during her shift she was alone with an assistant nurse with three months of experience.

Despite this lack of expertise, the two women were assigned a patient with complications. “We looked at each other and said, 'It's precarious.' Because if this patient had a bleed, I wouldn't know what to do,” Tracey Beaudoin said.

At the CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec, where Ms. Beaudoin works, the FIQ estimates that nearly 200 nurses have taken early retirement or resigned since the start of a pilot project testing travel between different departments, or even between CLSCs and hospitals.

The President of the FIQ emphasizes that a specialist would not be asked to comply with such requests. “We wouldn’t see a heart surgeon giving birth in the next room,” explains Julie Bouchard.

Voluntary basis

The Office of the President of the Ministry of Finance, which is leading the negotiations, emphasizes that “the government must ensure that there are enough nurses at all times and in the right places to adequately care for the population.”

“As part of these negotiations, we do not want to force nurses to travel, but rather offer a financial incentive for those who would like to go and support their colleagues. And all of this is on a voluntary basis,” says Sonia LeBel’s team.

“One thing is certain: we will not compromise on patient safety and the required training. It's original. The protection of the public is non-negotiable,” we assure.

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