Shortage of housing: the CISSS des îles is considering a real estate project

The CEO of the CISSS des Îles affirms that the idea is still embryonic, but that a reflection in this direction has indeed begun internally, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Sophie Doucet explains that this approach is necessary, because the lack of housing is a real obstacle to hiring workers, in a context where labor is already hard to find.

The housing problem in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine is becoming a recruitment problem for ussays Ms. Doucet. This is a situation that concerns me greatly.

We would sometimes be able to hire people, but people refuse a position because they simply cannot find accommodation with us. »

A quote from Sophie Doucet, President and CEO of the CISSS des Îles

For the moment, several ideas are on the table as to the form such a real estate project could take.

It’s still very embryonic, we’re at the idea stagesays Ms. Doucet. Could it be townhouses, a park of tiny houses, could it be a block with apartments? All possibilities are on the table.

Sophie Doucet is photographed behind her computer, at her desk.

Sophie Doucet says she is “enormously concerned” about the housing shortage in the archipelago (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

Sophie Doucet explains that the terms of financing such a project are also being studied.

Would the CISSS be the owner, would our foundation be asked to be a partner?she asks. Ideally, I would like it to be a promoter who agrees to do the project. The CISSS would rent these apartments. Our job is not to do real estate. There are a lot of things to think about.

If such a project is carried out, it will be up to the workers to pay the cost of housing and not to the Madelinot health network.

the CISSS des Îles is not authorized to offer housing to its employees, unlike certain regions such as Nord-du-Québec or the Basse-Côte-Nord, but we want to think about a way in which we could start a housing project for that at least employees have an optionexplains Sophie Doucet.

Currently, the CISSS des Îles requisitioned some fifty rooms in private homes or tourist accommodations to house its workers and independent workers. This summer, this number should increase to 90 rooms.

The facade of a hotel with a sign where it is written "Auberge Madeli - Accents Hotels".

The CISSS des Îles acquired the Madeli last winter to house its workers and create office space (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

The acquisition of the Auberge Madeli by the CISSS des Îles will make some 30 rooms accessible to healthcare workers. The organization initially planned to develop about fifteen lofts in the fall, but it finally launched the work earlier than planned to make 30 rooms available this summer due to the significant accommodation needs.

The management of the madelinot health network hopes that the work in progress in the old hotel will be completed in time for the 1er July.

A deficit in sight

Moreover, everything indicates that the CISSS des Îles will end its 2021-2022 fiscal year with a budget deficit, a situation that is not unrelated to recruitment challenges related to the lack of housing.

At the end of the 12and over the 13 budget periods, the madelinot health establishment recorded a deficit of more than $671,641.

However, this is an improvement compared to the deficit of 3.3 million dollars anticipated in February and that of 4.8 million expected when the budget was adopted in May 2021.

The Department of Health and Social Services has since confirmed new sources of funding and certain expenditures have been revised downwards, which has made it possible to get closer to a balanced budget.

Nurses carry a stretcher and a solute in the radiology department of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine hospital.

At the CISSS des Îles, the cost of independent labor has skyrocketed in recent years, because many positions are not filled (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

the CISSS des Îles adopted a $2.5 million budget recovery plan last fall. It aimed in particular to reduce the use of independent labour, which is the main cause of the deficit, but the measures did not produce the expected results.

Tuesday evening, during the meeting of the board of directors, the CEO of the CISSS was unable to provide the most recent estimates of the costs related to independent labor for the year 2021-2022, which has not yet been completed.

In February, the management of CISSS des Îles anticipated a bill of 5.97 million related to the hiring of self-employed workers in 2021-2022, an amount 56 times higher than in 2017-2018.

If the budget deficit for the year 2021-2022 is confirmed, the CISSS des Îles will have to try to absorb it in its 2022-2023 budget, which will be adopted on Thursday.

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