Public outcry grows as Quebecers rally against Bill 15's overhaul of health care system
A significant public movement is underway in Quebec, led by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), calling for a pause and reevaluation of the proposed Bill 15, which aims to radically transform the province's health care management structure. This legislation, one of the largest ever presented in the Quebec National Assembly, is nearing its enactment deadline, raising concerns among various stakeholders.
The QCGN is actively encouraging Quebec residents to sign a petition against this bill, emphasizing the urgency as the government might attempt to fast-track its passage before the Assembly's holiday recess on December 8. The organization recently hosted a webinar discussing the implications of Bill 15, highlighting that the bill's focus on structural changes does little to address critical issues plaguing the health care system, such as emergency room crises, surgery delays, and the shortage of family doctors.
Eva Ludvig, President of QCGN, articulated the group's concerns, stating that Bill 15, under the guise of restructuring, proposes a centralization of control within a new entity, Santé Québec. This shift would dissolve local boards, stripping management roles from patients, families, volunteers, and communities – the core beneficiaries of the health system.
Adding to the controversy, six former Quebec premiers from various political parties have publicly opposed the bill, labeling it as "dangerous" and ineffective in enhancing health and social service efficiencies. Sylvia Martin-Laforge, QCGN Director General, pointed out the irony of Quebec considering a model similar to Alberta's centralized health care system, which Alberta itself is currently deconstructing due to its ineffectiveness in addressing key health care challenges.
The webinar also raised concerns about the impact of greater centralization on minority-language service access. The proposed changes would replace local committees overseeing English-language programs with a central body, potentially distancing service management from the needs of individual communities.
The petition appeals to the Quebec government to reconsider Bill 15's approach. It suggests holding additional consultations for unheard voices, amending the bill to maintain local governance in health and social services, and ensuring community proximity, including for English-language services.
The QCGN stresses the importance of public participation, reminding petition signatories to confirm their signatures via email to ensure their views are officially counted. For official acknowledgement and to further the cause, interested parties are encouraged to visit the following website to sign and confirm their support:. https://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-10545/index.html