Quebec's health-care workers are mobilizing against the provincial government’s plan to cut as much as $600 million in health-related spending by 2018.
Representatives of an alliance of health and social services professionals and technicians known as APTS mounted a protest outside the CLSC Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal on Thursday afternoon and said more protests are planned for the coming weeks.
The alliance says austerity measures are already affecting front-line services to those in need across Montreal and says the province's health-care system cannot sustain further cuts.
In a press release, the group says it chose the CLSC Côte-des-Neiges because it’s part of the CSSS de la Montagne, which the alliance says is reeling from cuts of $1.2 million to its 2014-2015 budget.
The group says those reductions will primarily affect the delivery of health and social services to new immigrants and those with limited financial means in the neighbourhood.
Quebec’s Health Minister, Gaétan Barrette, said Wednesday that the province could cut as much as $600 million in “bureaucratic” expenditures from its health-care budget.
Barrette said $225 million in reductions is already written into the province’s 2014-2015 budget.
The reductions will see 1,300 director-level jobs slashed over the next three years as well as administrative staff cuts at the Ministry of Health, regional health agencies and hospitals in a bid to reduce expenses by 10 per cent.
While the cuts will come mainly at the director level, Barrette warned that front-line staff might also feel the pinch through reduced overtime hours and only one replacement hired for every two retirements.