Quebec nurses' union meets with health minister over work conditions, staffing concerns

Nurses in the province have been complaining about mandatory overtime requirements and staffing issues that leave them caring for too many patients at once.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette admits nurses have some 'legitimate claims'

Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette will meet with the nurses' union again in two weeks for an update. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The head of a union representing 7,500 nurses in the province says that she's feeling more optimistic after meeting with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette Tuesday evening.

"The commitments that I received from the minister today were that he's going to make things happen and that we'll see results soon," said Nancy Bédard, president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé (FIQ) following the two-hour meeting.

Nurses in the province have been complaining about mandatory overtime requirements and staffing issues that leave them caring for too many patients at once.

One nurse in the Eastern Townships recently shared her day-to-day experiences in a social media post.

She explained how she is exhausted and stressed after finishing a shift where she was the only nurse on the floor to care for more than 70 patients.

That lengthy post was shared more than 50,000 times, 

Bédard said that Barette has committed to examining the ratio of nurses to patients, suggesting that in order for the ratio to be adjusted downward, numerous full-time nurses would need to be hired.

Barrette, for his part, was more reticent.

"Nurses have legitimate claims," he acknowledged, adding that "the issue of ratios needs to be revisited and updated."​

Barrette will meet with the nurses union again in two weeks for an update on the dossier.

Based on a report from La Press Canadienne