May 16, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Health Emergency End: Quebec keeps five decrees

Health Emergency End: Quebec keeps five decrees

Minister Christian Dube on Thursday clarified the extraordinary powers that Quebec intends to retain for the transition period after the lifting of the health emergency.

Also read: 6th Wave of COVID-19: BA.2 variant “severely damaged” in regions, but remains in Quebec course

With this amendment, the Legault government will respond to the major criticisms expressed about Bill 28, which provides for the maintenance until the end of the year of specific actions permitted by the Public Health Act.

Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections.

Quebec has therefore categorized these actions into five orders targeted by the bill. They are particularly concerned about wearing masks, working conditions (bonuses and others) on the health network, telemedicine, vaccination and screening, as well as education (which ends June 30).

Most of the decrees were short, but with 75 pages on working conditions, they caught the attention of parliamentarians. Mr Dubey said this was because there was a need to clarify the many bonuses that would be in effect until at least May 14th.

Another amendment introduced on Thursday changes the title of the bill, which clarifies the “temporary” nature of the measures in force.

Manage the suite

The first speaker to testify, Associate Deputy Minister Daniel Pare, confirmed that the claimed powers would be used specifically to conduct the next mass vaccination campaign.

For example, it is always possible to appeal to retirees registered on the Je Contribute platform, who will not be penalized for their pension fund payment through Quebec. In the same way, the bill makes it possible to call certain trades that do not usually have the right to be vaccinated, such as a veterinarian.

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Second, by December 31, the government will work to “make permanent” certain measures, such as the use of specific professional orders, in view of future vaccination campaigns.

Daniel Pare explained that specific contracts need to be extended for a maximum of five years to store “75,000 pallets of all kinds of materials” obtained during the epidemic, including vaccines and personal protective equipment.

Negotiating contracts again means moving all of that equipment, which is “heavy” work and a risk to vaccinations.

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Angry unions

The next day, two unions representing health workers condemned the imposition of their working conditions until the end of the year.

The Alliance of Professional and Technical Personnel in Health and Social Services described the bill as “favorable” and “anti-union” because it “violates the rights of employees in the network”. According to its representatives, Quebec will use it to evade collective agreements.

The same article goes for the Federation Interprofessional de la Sante du Quebec, which represents a large number of nurses. Its leaders believe the bill is a “power move” that denies workers’ rights and imposes an extension of management by decree.