The pandemic has weakened the most vulnerable, underlines the Ombudsperson

We suspected it, but the Ombudsperson confirms it: the pandemic has been particularly hard on the most vulnerable people in society. “Humanity and empathy must guide the actions of public services more than ever,” pleads Marie Rinfret in her annual report.

In home care, the number of baths given has dropped from two or three per week to just one in some places, with establishments having reduced the number of baths given to users who do not have skin problems.

In detention centers, quarantine procedures resulted in new detainees wearing the same clothes for 11 days, without access to showers or a change of clothes.

“The pandemic has created and accentuated vulnerabilities in countless numbers of people,” pleaded Marie Rinfret at the release of her annual report, made public Thursday. “Learning from the crisis is understood in a broader perspective. All public services must feel called upon. Humanity and empathy must guide the actions of public services more than ever. “

The report particularly scoured the health and social services network, where “recurring” problems were slow to be corrected. “Complaints concerning private residences for the elderly (RPA) have once again highlighted the problems amplified by the pandemic crisis: insufficient staff, errors in the administration of drugs, insufficient monitoring of the premises and offer of services poorly suited to customers. This type of resource is not always supervised with sufficient vigilance by the CISSS and the CIUSSS ”, one writes.

In 2020-2021, the Québec Ombudsman received 468 well-founded complaints concerning the health network. She had received 600 last year and 478 the year before.

The vast majority of these complaints concerned the quality of services (21.4%), long delays (18.4%), infringements of rights (13.7%), the environment and the living environment (13, 1%) and gaps in staff skills or behavior (11.8%).

COVID-19 has worsened losses in immigration

The protector also points the finger at the Department of Immigration, targeted by numerous complaints for having misplaced documents sent by candidates to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), a situation that she had also denounced. in its report last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has “amplified” these problems, she explains in the report. “Since most PEQ agents now work from their homes, they no longer had access to their physical files. In some cases, documents and even complete files were not scanned and therefore could not be forwarded to the officer in charge. “

Marie Rinfret, however, welcomes some successes in the government apparatus, such as the decision to suspend collection measures for social assistance during the pandemic.

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