[COVID-19] Dubé tightens his bill on the end of the state of health emergency

Health Minister Christian Dubé on Thursday proposed tightening, and renaming, his bill to end the state of health emergency to limit the powers he would keep until the end of the year.

The elected official suggested keeping five ministerial decrees, which occupy about a hundred pages, of the 103 decrees that are still in force. He would also like to change the name of his bill to specify that it is aimed at “the temporary maintenance of certain measures necessary to protect the health of the population.”

Mr. Dubé has provided a list of the measures he wishes to maintain until December 31, with the order numbers associated with them. The decrees listed refer to health and operational measures, as well as those related to human resources, vaccination and detection.

Specifically, these measures affect various issues such as the expansion of the fields of action of certain professionals so that they contribute to screening work, the reassignment of personnel in the health network or the granting of bonuses, in particular.

The government also wants to maintain the measures that are “necessary in the education sector” until June 30. Minister Dubé previously specified that these could refer to the distance education of students or the hiring of retirees.

In the opinion of the persimmon-elect, the measures adopted “allow to maintain the minimum necessary to continue with the screening and vaccination operations, to have the necessary personnel to achieve it in order to adequately protect Quebecers.”

In a parliamentary commission, he declared that 78% of the measures related to human resources were called to fall soon, “unless otherwise indicated.” He gave the example of bonuses, whose extension until May 14 was announced on Wednesday.

A poorly drafted bill, according to the opposition

The amendments presented by Minister Dubé coincided with the start of consideration of his bill. This is an unusual way of doing things, since the groups that are called upon to give their opinion on the legislative text had to produce reports before learning about the changes.

In front of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), Mr. Dubé also “apologized” for not having provided the amendments sooner.

In front of the media, he also denied having proceeded that way because his bill, who was unanimously against him at the time of his introductionIt was poorly assembled. “Oh no, on the contrary,” he assured. “I have always said that the invoices were perfectible. And we listen to the opposition. […] I think we heard what people told us and we are adapting. »

Opposition parties have criticized the minister’s methods. The Liberal Party has accused the Government of being “draft”. Québec Solidarity he stated that Minister Dubé had a “rather arrogant and unusual way of doing things”. the Quebec Party he said he had “the impression that the government, in many aspects, is improvising and not working rigorously.”

Necessary measures or “authoritarian drift”?

In a parliamentary commission, the deputy deputy minister in charge of vaccination, Daniel Paré, declared that it was in the “public interest” to extend the storage contracts for five years. In his warehouses there are no less than “75,000 pallets”, which contain vaccines that are difficult to transport, he specified.

The Barreau du Québec, for its part, questioned the duration of the extension of these contracts, arguing that it should be “better justified to ensure the understanding of citizens.” Minister Dubé assured that “any new contract” will be signed under the usual laws.

Two unions, the FIQ and the Alliance of Professionals and Technicians in Health and Social Services (APTS), respectively, described the Minister’s bill as an “authoritarian drift” and an “unacceptable precedent”. Both criticized the elected official for attacking the right of association and freedom of association.

“There is no set timetable to repeal before December 31, 2022 the orders that interfere with working conditions […] and that elude the provisions of the collective agreement”, argued the APTS in particular. The union proposed that all measures “that modify the working conditions of employees of the health and social services network” be repealed when the bill is approved.

The FIQ, for its part, saw in the bill a willingness by the Government to “maintain its right to decide only on the measures it intends to maintain until December 31, 2022 without having to justify anything to anyone.” He proposed, therefore, to eliminate the clause that is at the heart of the bill, which provides for the maintenance of certain measures once the legislative text has been adopted.

The Interprofessional Council of Quebec, which brings together the 46 professional orders of Quebec, was also present at the National Assembly. He proposed maintaining the temporary measures, in particular maintaining the special exercise authorizations that allowed students and retirees to come and lend a hand to the network during the pandemic.

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