(Montreal) Not enough bite, not enough clarity, the bill to regulate the use of private health agencies is far from satisfying the largest union of nurses in Quebec. If Minister Christian Dubé was expecting a “thank you”, he was instead treated to a sigh of disappointment.

Upon the opening of consultations on Bill 10, the Act to limit the use of the services of a personnel placement agency and of independent labor in the health and social services sector, the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) expressed its disappointment and suspicion.

The president of the union, Julie Bouchard, argued Tuesday that she expected a real binding law against the actions of private agencies and against the use of their services in the network.

What annoys the FIQ the most is the enormous space left to regulations adopted at the discretion of the minister in the bill. In the eyes of Ms. Bouchard, this approach leaves too much uncertainty and makes the law too vulnerable to the wishes of the government of the day.

In response, the Minister of Health asserts that the regulatory approach gives the government the flexibility to react more quickly during the process towards the elimination of labor placement agencies. According to Mr. Dubé, it could also more easily target priority regions, where the use of agencies should end sooner than envisaged in the initial plan.

Moreover, the Minister insisted on the fact that the regulations governing the practices of the agencies will not take anyone by surprise. He argues that the rules will largely come from the content of decrees passed during the state of emergency at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus, rules should in particular impose maximum hourly rates demanded by the agencies, favor public personnel over private personnel in terms of working hours and prevent the recruitment of public personnel from an establishment in order to reassign them to the same establishment under the cover of an agency.

However, the real details of the regulations have still not been made public by the Minister of Health.