By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
In the face of upcoming Quebec government legislation set to prohibit the use of independent labour in the Townships by 2025, the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS has yet to show a reduction in its reliance on such labour. As of the mid 2023-2024 fiscal year, the hours clocked by independent workers at the CIUSSS increased to 185,000 — 100,000 hours more than the previous year at the same time.
This comes after Marc-Antoine Rouillard, Assistant Director of Human Resources, Communications, and Legal Affairs of the CIUSSS expressed confidence back in February about the organization’s trajectory in reducing its dependence on placement agencies by the stipulated 2025 deadline, especially as it aligns with the upcoming Bill 10 affecting ‘bordering territories’ like the Townships.
Sherbrooke MP Christine Labrie released a statement Monday morning regarding the use of independent labour at the CIUSSS.
“It’s discouraging to see that not only are we failing to free ourselves from agencies, but we are also moving away from this goal. I am particularly concerned about the explosion in the use of private agencies for social workers or educators. In social services, especially in youth protection, establishing a trust relationship is fundamental, and this requires stable teams. Using agencies seriously compromises the quality of social services provided to the most vulnerable individuals,” Labrie commented.
“We need as many qualified and competent people as we can get to meet the needs of the population,” Rouillard explained. It is not currently possible to fill these roles with public sector employees alone.