Quebec nurses union doubts government’s concern after whistleblower email launch

Quebec's nurses are calling a new whistleblower system mere windowdressing for the provincial government, saying it will do more to save the Legault administration's reputation than it will to save lives. 

“What do they want?” said Federation interprofessionnelle de la sante du Quebec (FIQ) Vice-President Denyse Joseph. “They just want to make sure our health care professionals do not denounce on social media.”

The nurses union says it’s already compiled and sent more than 900 staff complaints to the government via an email account where health care staff can confidentially share details about their working conditions.

For months, stories of conditions inside long-term care facilities (CHSLDs) have made headlines and sparked outrage on social media

Pharmacist and temporary CHSLD employee Nicolas St-Onge, has been working in a St-Lambert CHSLD for a week. Since his first day on the job, he’s been fighting for better safety standards. 

“I had to convince the people here to work on the same floor everyday,” St-Onge told CTV News. “Every time I come here and I say ‘I cannot go from a cold zone to a hot zone or hot to cold.’ It’s a battle everyday.” 

When he tried to tell his superiors, he was met with resistance.

“The response I had is ‘the schedule was already made up, so we cannot change the floors,’” said St-Onge.

Health Minister Danielle McCann acknowledged on Saturday that the government hasn't always been aware of individual incidents.

“We do know generally but what we see is sometimes in the media we learn about things,” she said. 

McCann is also concerned about reports claiming some health care facilities are making staff sign non-disclosure agreements. She questions the legality and says it will be examined in the fall session. 

“We want to liberate people to feel free to talk about what’s going on,” said McCann.

St-Onge sent his email to the government this morning but questions what will actually be accomplished

“The question is what are they going to do now that they know it’s been going on for weeks,” said St-Onge.

He hopes the government focuses on the virus’s spread and not the spread of stories in the media.

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