Hudson coast nurses petition health minister to intervene over working conditions

‘Let Us Care’ campaign demands Christian Dubé take ownership of improving conditions, shaking up Inuulitsivik leadership

Nunavik Hudson Bay nurses have launched a petition asking that the provincial health minister intervene in their long-standing calls to improve working conditions. (File photo by Cyril Gabreau)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The union representing nurses at Inuulitsivik Health Centre has launched a petition asking the provincial health minister to intervene in their long-standing calls to improve working conditions at clinics on Nunavik’s Hudson Bay coast.

The petition accuses Inuulitsivik management of “administratively abusive” treatment of employees and creating a toxic work environment.

It calls on Health Minister Christian Dubé to intervene by facilitating a negotiation process between the workers and their employer; to order Inuulitsivik to meet the nurses’ demands for improved hours and working conditions; and to remove the health centre’s assistant executive director from their position.

“If I was Inuit on the Hudson coast, I would be anxious wondering if I’m really receiving the better care I deserve,” said Cyril Gabreau, president of the Northern Union of Hudson Bay Nurses, in an email.

“Inuulitsivik management has no mandate to negotiate better conditions. As their union rep, I’m really scared of the upcoming weeks.”

Gabreau was not available for an interview after emailing the petition to Nunatsiaq News early Wednesday morning.

The petition has received more than 100 signatures and dozens of comments from nurses from inside and outside the region.

Juliette Rolland, a senior adviser in Inuulitsivik’s executive management, said she only became aware of the petition after being contacted by Nunatsiaq News.

She said she would provide an update at the end of the day following a meeting with management, however that hadn’t been received as of late afternoon Wednesday.

Antoine de la Durantaye, Dubé’s press secretary, did not respond to a phone call, email and text message requesting comment on the petition.

Dubé announced Wednesday his government is tabling a bill to address Quebec’s dependence on private medical company contracts.

Speaking to reporters in Quebec City, he addressed how province-wide working conditions create challenges in recruiting and retaining health-care workers.

“I’m after having a good retention program, and that is part of the solution,” Dubé said.

“Those are the conditions that will make people want to stay, or to come back to the system.”

Dubé did not speak about Nunavik-specific issues in that press conference.

Nurses from the Hudson Coast communities have been calling for improved working conditions for close to a year, citing staffing shortages and employee burnout.

Last month, nurses walked off the job in protest for a few hours before being ordered back to work by a labour tribunal.


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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned beneficiary member on

    First, eliminate discrimination and the doctors to stop checking people with only stethoscopes and touching their patients , this won’t find the illness. The communities are not equipped for to find illness at the nursing stations. They are just making hours and travelling for minor checkups and they don’t find out the illness.

  2. Posted by Concerned doctor on

    Your point that access to diagnostic resources is inadequate is spot on. Surprised so many thumbs down. The interests of Nunavimmiut are not at the forefront of the Quebec nation.

    • Posted by A Question on

      Why would they be? Not meaning to be a smart-ass, but there are so many issues of importance to many more people in areas of the province with much more clout.

      Why would anyone ever realistically expect Nunavik’s needs to be at the forefront?

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