Private health placement agencies won a round against the Legault government on Tuesday. The High Court has ordered a stay on the invitation of tenders aimed at recruiting nurses and orderlies till March 21.
Sixteen agencies are acting as plaintiffs in the case. In particular, they were against this obligation of the same rate for a type of work, whether it concerned the salaries of employees working in Sept-Eils, Montreal or Drummondville.
The government wants to prevent agencies from charging more than $100 an hour for a typical rate nurse. Agencies say they believe the tender call will create confusion and drive up the costs of using independent health workers.
In court, the agencies sought status quo, saying bids would otherwise be opened before a verdict on the tender launched in January. This call for tenders also provides that a nurse who leaves the public network cannot work for one year in an institution in the same region or in a neighboring region.
Judge Michael Lacroix agreed with the agencies, saying “the balance of inconvenience clearly tilts in favor of the status quo.”
In his context, Justice Lacroix also noted that health agencies are “historic partners of the Quebec health and social service network.”
“A step in the right direction”
Patrice Lapointe, President of the Association of Private Healthcare Staffing Companies of Quebec and President and CEO of the Progressive Services Agency, said: “For us, this is a step in the right direction. On several occasions, we have tried to inform the government of many problems related to this tender call, especially the single price policy. »
“The court also recognized that the issues raised were serious enough to suspend the call for tenders. »
In February, Minister Christian Dubey tabled a bill aimed at “liberating private agencies” from the health network.
Bill 10 provides that health and social service organizations may no longer use the services of employment agencies or independent workers except in cases provided for by government regulation.
Quebec wants to eliminate the use of private agencies by 2026.
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