April 16, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Wi-Fi is not free at McDonald’s, but not at a hospital, which is not a common thing, a committee said

Wi-Fi is not free at McDonald's, but not at a hospital, which is not a common thing, a committee said

To the chagrin of a group of citizens demanding free Wi-Fi access everywhere on the network, you still have to pay to use the Internet at many health facilities in Quebec.

“We go to McDonald’s or a car dealership and we have free access to Wi-Fi. If we cannot be everywhere in the health network establishments there is something that does not work,” said Luis Henricon, president of the consumer committee of the CISSS du Sud de Llanadier, in an interview with the QMI agency.

Since 2019, this committee has been fighting to ensure free access to the Internet for the residents of the three CHSLDs in the region and the clients of the Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital. After several rejections, the move began at the hospital, where work is underway to roll out Wi-Fi by next fall.

Louis Henrichon, president of the CISSS du sud de Lanaudière consumer committee, deplores the fact that Wi-Fi is free in McDonald’s, for example, but not in health institutions.

Photo provided by Luis Henrican

Unfortunately, this is still not the case for three CHSLDs in the region: CHSLD L’Assomption, Multivocational Center Claude-David and CHSLD de Repentigny.

“I think it’s unfair, especially since three seniors’ homes in the area are slated to open in September and their customers are already planning to have access to Wi-Fi,” lamented Ms.me Henrican, before adding: “It’s not entertainment, it’s a necessary communication tool for a segment of the population that is too often isolated.”

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from one region to another

In a letter sent to Health Minister Christian Dubé, the consumer committee pointed out that the problem goes beyond Lanaudière’s borders and that there are significant disparities from one region and one establishment to another.

“At CHUM in Montreal, customers have had access to Wi-Fi for years. In Quebec, it can be had for less. Then, in Trois-Rivières, only people on hemodialysis have access to it. It’s not about understanding anything,” Luis Henrican explains.

The committee therefore summoned Minister Dubey to implement “a ministerial policy to allow universal access to Wi-Fi to all users and residents of the health network”.

Doob responds

According to Minister Dubey’s office, nearly a billion dollars in investments were announced last year for each establishment in the health network to “undertake local modernization projects.” “Every CEO prioritizes the projects he invests in,” argued the written statement.

For its part, the Ministry of Health and Social Services said that the expansion of Wi-Fi is “part of the initiatives included in their technological modernization plans” and “several projects are underway in institutions to expand the use of Wi-Fi”. However, he could not confirm on Wednesday how many organizations are now making it impossible to browse the net for free.

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