Self-employed | Dubé wants to get rid of desks within three years

(Quebec) Criticized for the lack of targets and timetables in his Health Plan, Christian Dubé now sets himself the goal of phasing out the public network of employment agencies within three years. To achieve this, it plans to set objectives by region, as certain institutions cannot live without it.

Posted at 5:00 am

Fanny Levesque

Fanny Levesque
The press

“I want to free myself from the agencies in the coming years, but I want to respect the fact that it is a bigger problem in the regions,” said the Minister of Health and Social Services in an interview with The press

When asked about the timeline, Mr. Dubé that it will be ready in less than three years. “There are places where it will be faster than that,” he cuts.

I think we have to look at this by region. It will be much easier to do that in Montreal than in Abitibi or on the north coast.

Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services

Christian Dubé, who presented his recovery plan for the health network at the end of March, recalls that his Deputy Minister of Health, Dominique Savoie, is working on a detailed plan for the decentralization and reorganization of the work. “I think we will set very specific goals for each region,” said the minister.

The case of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord

The press visited the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, where the use of agencies has literally exploded in recent years. A trend that started long before the pandemic. The establishment foresees a budget deficit of 65 million for next year, of which “65 to 70%” can be attributed to the self-employed working population.

Entire departments of Sept-Îles Hospital would not be able to function without recourse to agencies.

The CISSS de la Côte-Nord multiplies its interventions with the MSSS to identify solutions specific to the regions. Abitibi-Témiscamingue is also particularly affected by the lack of labor. Most of these efforts are carried out in coordination with other branches in remote areas.

Notably, they raised their hands last fall, when Minister Christian Dubé asked all CEOs to submit to him on the 1er December a plan to get rid of the agencies. “We said it was not possible for us,” explains the president and CEO of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, Manon Asselin.

One avenue being explored on the North Shore is the creation of a public employment agency, which, like a private agency, would rely on a pool of workers capable of helping the regions.

An option for which Christain Dubé says he is “open”.

“These are things that we, together with Savoy,” says the minister. “I’m open to that because one of the problems is that the independent workforce in Sept-Îles is not local, but from Montreal. So as long as people move there […], why shouldn’t they be government employees? †


Dominique Savoie, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Services

Less than 2% of the temporary workers working at CISSS de la Côte-Nord come from the region. If we suddenly abolish the use of agencies, “I have 98% of this workforce that goes back to the big centers,” illustrates Manon Asselin, who admits that the consequences would be “disastrous” for the services.

“Everything is on the table”, says the minister

According to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, the public network would “benefit” from offering more flexibility to health professionals if it introduced conditions similar to those of the agencies. For example, the possibility to choose your schedules, or to “do blitzes” in different sectors, sums up the director of financial resources, Jean-Philippe Comtois.

The establishment also suggested to the MSSS to allow network workers to commute, which is called fly in, fly outin fairly isolated areas of the area, such as on the Lower North Shore.

“Everything is on the table at the moment,” the minister responds to these proposals. “But you have to understand our grand vision [de notre Plan santé]and that is going to be a favorite employer so that will guide me [mes décisions] Adds Christian Dubé, who hopes to get workers back into the public eye.

Mr. Dubé says he wants to change the network’s work environment by focusing on work-life balance and implementing local schedule management. A pilot project must also be launched in each location. He also wants to supplement the network of local scheme managers.

Reactions from the opposition

The end of the claimed TSO


Monsef Derraji, Liberal MP for Nelligan

According to the Liberal Party of Quebec, the solution to reduce the use of agencies will inevitably include the abolition of “mandatory overtime” (TSO) and the improvement of working conditions that underlie the flight of nurses from the network to the private sector. “What worries me a lot is the mandatory overtime. If the government doesn’t come to the table with the FIQ [syndicat infirmier] to find solutions for attractiveness, for working conditions so that we can manage the planning locally, we will have this problem for years. […] The government is hitting a wall with the labor shortage,” MP Monsef Derraji said. We also need to empower the regions and end the wall-to-wall situation by enabling them to identify and deploy the solutions that suit them. A proposal in line with the Charter of the Regions presented in April by Liberal leader Dominique Anglade.

For a “special status”


Émilise Lessard-Therrien, MNA Solidarity for Rouyn-Noranda–Témiscamingue

The MNA for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue, Émilise Lessard-Therrien, is well aware of the harmful effects of using private agencies, when the situation is particularly difficult at the CISSS de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. “It’s a plague,” the elected representative launches. His political formation has also presented a plan to wind down the agencies over the course of three years. A goal that also holds up in remote areas, she believes. “It’s realistic from the moment we give ourselves the conditions to get there. […] We claim a special status for these regions,” she illustrates. This status could empower the CISSS to obtain financial support to implement staff retention and recruitment measures, which would be “adapted to regional needs”.

A deadline to set


Joël Arseneau, parliamentary leader of the Parti Québécois

The Parti Québécois proposes to abolish the recourse to agencies by first setting a deadline. “To achieve this goal of reducing this expenditure from one billion to zero [coût du recours aux agences pour l’ensemble du réseau en 2020-2021], resources must be mobilized, but why not set the goal of forcing the state and the CISSS to achieve it? asks the Speaker of Parliament of the Parti Québécois, Joël Arseneau. His education also criticizes Minister Christian Dubé for not establishing a clear timetable for achieving his goals. “I don’t think we will succeed if we don’t tell temps that we want to reintegrate them into the network and that they will no longer have the opportunity to work in the network from a certain date,” he adds. The Parti Québécois will also reveal “in what space-time” it expects to achieve this in a few weeks, as well as its proposals to improve working conditions in the sector.

Leave a Comment