Nurses across the province are demanding a break. After saying earlier in May that they're "exasperated with the government’s superficial gestures trying to make people believe they are listening to the healthcare professionals," members of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) are going outside in protest of what they say are intolerable working conditions. Photos posted to the Federation's social media pages show Quebec health care workers lying on the ground outside their workplaces.

The posts explain that the workers are "dead tired" (#MortesDeFatigue). 

"While the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates every day the need to improve the working conditions of health care professionals in Quebec, delegates from the [FIQ] and the Secteur privé-FIQP today unanimously rejected the government's latest tabling as unacceptable and insulting," the organization wrote in a statement on May 26.

The protests also come after a "stern warning" to the government on May 7: "health care professionals need a break!"

On Facebook, the federation further explains that Quebec's health care workers "are entitled to additional remuneration, protective equipment, safe workplaces, and respite so that they can continue to care."

They specifically demand:

  • "safe workplaces at all levels;

  • "the end of ministerial orders;

  • "vacations, as provided for in their collective agreement;" and

  • "additional remuneration to compensate for the inconvenience and risks associated with the pandemic."

The FIQ hopes that the demonstrations on Wednesday will "symbolically alert the population and the government of their very high level of fatigue that affects [workers'] mental health."

On Tuesday, the Government of Quebec proposed a solution that it says would reduce nurses' overtime hours and attract more people to the profession.

But negotiations are ongoing.

Other caregivers have also expressed frustration.

In the province's nursing homes (CHSLDs), where the health crisis has been most severe, harsh working conditions have exacerbated a staffing shortage.

Quebec is now in need of 10,000 workers in these facilities and is launching a program to pay residents to train to become CHSLD employees.

Stay tuned for more news.

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