Health: employment agency employees threaten to leave Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Since May 1, the majority of placement agencies in Quebec must now comply with Ministerial Order 2022-030, which provides for a maximum amount that can be claimed by agencies offering, in particular, the services of nursing staff and orderlies.

The ministerial decree has already existed for more than a year, but before applying it, the government had to wait for the end of the contracts that had been signed with the placement agencies.

The maximum hourly rate is now $74.36 for nurse clinicians, $71.87 for nurses, $47.65 for nursing assistants and $41.96 for orderlies.

However, the government authorizes this amount to be increased by 20% in certain remote regions such as Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Nord-du- -Quebec.

These are rates that we were claiming approximately in 2012-2013. »

A quote from Christine Lamarre, President and CEO of Services & Organization de Soins Inc.

The fact that we are forced to adjust to the imposed rate, we have to lower the salaries of our employees. So many decide to leave regions, because the salary does not suit them, and they ask us to go to other clients: private clients, indigenous communities or mining camps to be able to keep the salary they are accustomed to. to win for ten yearssays Christine Lamarre, President and CEO of Care Services & Organization Inc.

Christine Lamarre looks at the camera and poses in front of a window.

Christine Lamarre, President and CEO of Care Services & Organization Inc.

Photo: Courtesy

Christine Lamarre assures all the same that its employees will remain in post until September.

End of extra time

The other problem reported by placement agencies is that the maximum rate is the same whether you work regular or overtime.

I have employees in Abitibi who have been there for almost three years full time, but there, I cannot leave them there. Anyway, they don’t want to stay there anymore, because I told them that I’ll have to lower their salary and that we won’t pay their transport hours when they go to see their families.says Christine Lamarre.

Jean-François Lépine, president of Groupe Santé IPA, even asked his employees to stop working overtime as long as the ministerial order is in effect.

We, as an employer, are obliged to respect the rules of the CNESST, labor standards, which means that we are obliged to pay time and a half above 40 hours a week, but since we are not paid at time and a half on our side, we are in deficit. So we can’t allow our employees to work overtimehe says.

Jean-François Lépine smiles at the camera.

Jean-François Lépine, president and owner of Groupe Santé IPA

Photo: courtesy

Jean-François Lépine estimates that the vast majority of his 20 employees in Abitibi-Témiscamingue worked more than 60 hours a week.

Lots of people in the area are here to work a little extra time. As they are away from their families, I have many people who now simply decide to leave the regionhe adds.

Expected service disruptions?

At the Interprofessional Federation of Health in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (FIQ-SISSAT), we are concerned about the impacts on the summer period.

They come to work 10 shifts and often, in these 10 shifts, they work 16 hours consecutively. We often hear it, I’m going to come, but if you make me come for 8 hours or 3-4 days, well, I won’t come. If they can no longer come for this sequence, it is certain that it will lead to precariousness in our services.says Alexandre Chabot, vice-president of the labor relations sector at the FIQ-SISSAT union.

Alexandre Chabot holds a sign during a mobilization of his union.

Alexandre Chabot, vice-president of the labor relations sector at the FIQ-SISSAT union.

Photo: Courtesy

He specifies that, currently, 5500 shifts are still not filled for this summer.

Tomorrow morning, if they decide not to come anymore, it will no longer be 5500. We will increase [ce nombre] 25-30% depending on the activity centersadds Mr. Chabot.

The union believes that the government is right to want to reduce the use of agencies, but deplores the method used to achieve this. Alexandre Chabot believes that the 20% bonus for working in the regions should instead be offered to public nurses to attract them.

The CISSS-AT refuses to comment

The Abitibi-Témiscamingue Integrated Health and Social Services Center refused our interview request.

By e-mail, we specify that we are aware that this practice is new for certain agencies, but that some have been subject to these operating rules for more than a year and have nevertheless welcomed new resources from these placement agencies.

Since the entry into force of the new call for tenders [du 1er mai], we received 10 new nurse applications within a week. For the moment, we are sure to have the necessary resources to face the summer period, with certain adjustments in the offer or organization of services.specifies the CISSS-AT by email.

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