February 6, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Suspended nurse in Longueuil | Quebec demands “explanations”.

Suspended nurse in Longueuil |  Quebec demands "explanations".

Health and Seniors Minister Sonia Belanger’s cabinet responded that suspending a nurse for eating peanut butter toast was “not the right thing to do” amid staff shortages. Montérégie-Est’s Interprofessional Health Federation of Quebec (FIQ) condemned Saturday’s “excessive” disciplinary action.


“Everything flows and the owner expends energy [une toast au beurre d’arachide] said Brigitte Petrie, president of FIQ Montérégie-Est.

The story told Montreal Journal Friday caused an uproar. A nurse at CHSLD Chevalier-de Levis in Longueuil has been suspended without pay for three days after eating peanut butter toast meant for residents.

Photo by Josie Desmarais, The Press

CHSLD du Chevalier-de Levis, in Longueuil

In its suspension letter, the Montérégie-Est Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) described the employee’s action as a “serious violation”. [ses] Obligations of loyalty and honesty.”

“Excessive” disciplinary action could cost him a valuable nurse, the union has condemned.

In the face of labor shortages, this is not the right reaction. We asked the CISSS for clarification.

Response from the office of Health and Seniors Minister Sonia Belanger

According to Ms. Petrie, the employee, who has just two years’ seniority, is “very mixed up” and “wondering about her boss”. Losing a nurse is bigger than a piece of bread,” she said.

The employee claimed that he had no time for lunch

The incident took place on October 2. The nurse, who did not want to be identified, ate peanut butter toast made available to residents.

The employee said she had a “stomach ache” because she didn’t have time to eat lunch before coming to work. She claims she didn’t know the gesture was banned.

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A month later, on November 3, her employer met her to give her version of facts. “Surprised and angered,” the nurse never received a warning, backing the union.

1er On 5th, 9th and 11th of December, she received a letter stating that she was being suspended. If there is a repeat offense, she will be subject to more severe measures, including dismissal.

“Your errors will have significant negative consequences on the establishment’s reputation and your professional credibility,” it reads.

“It’s food that ends up in the trash after a few days. There is no ill intent behind it,” denied Brigitte Petrie.

Meanwhile, the health network is struggling to keep its head above water. “Emergency rooms are full. Everyone must work overtime. It doesn’t work at all “, she leaves.

“The days she is suspended, it will probably create mandatory overtime for other colleagues”, she denied.

The union filed a grievance challenging the disciplinary action.

CISSS declined to comment

By email, the CISSS de la Montérégie-Est declined to comment on the file “to protect the privacy of the employee”.

“We understand the impression that this could be left in the wake of the labor shortage,” campaigner Caroline Doucet replied.

“When problematic situations are reported, we need to assess them in their context and in their entirety. We will apply sanctions keeping in mind the conclusions and case law in this regard,” she added.

The union tried to join the CISSS on Friday but to no avail.

“We’re going to go all the way, but I think it’s good for the owner to come back [sur sa décision]. There are more important issues to deal with,” says Brigitte Petrie.

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With Leila Dassault, Press