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Ste. Anne?s Hospital : letter from President Gary Corbett to Ministers Blaney

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Canadian_Vet:
The Honourable Steven Blaney
Minister of Veterans Affairs, Government of Canada
House of Commons
East Block
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dr. Yves Bolduc
Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of Quebec
Catherine-De-Longpr? Building
1075 chemin Sainte Foy, 15th Floor
Qu?bec, Qu?bec
G1S 2M1

Subject: Transfer of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Hospital

Ministers,

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) represents nearly 60,000 professionals throughout the Canadian public service. More than 250 of our members provide quality care to the veterans who are patients at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Hospital (SAH). I am writing to make you aware of my grave concerns, shared by SAH employees, about the status of the SAH transfer. In our opinion, the interests of our veterans and of SAH employees are being completely neglected in the negotiations between your two governments? representatives.

As you know, two years ago, the federal government announced its intention to transfer SAH to the province of Quebec. Unfortunately, since then, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has only released a trickle of information on the transfer of the professionals we represent. Starting with our first meetings with VAC representatives, we have expressed our concerns about respecting employment conditions of the employees affected by the transfer, and have asked several times what the VAC position was in this regard. Those inquiries have proven fruitless, and everything has been at a standstill for several months. On March 14, 2012, we met with VAC negotiator Richard Neuville to find out how discussions between the federal and Quebec governments were going, but his words hardly reassured us.

We still have not received clear responses to our questions. Furthermore, we have been asked, through Mr. Neuville, to show blind faith in the employer's words and accept wholeheartedly that the interests of patients and employees are being fully taken into consideration. It was especially troubling to hear Mr. Neuville assert that the transfer will indeed take place whether the conditions of that transfer satisfy us or not.

Mr. Neuville also reiterated VAC?s desire to preserve the quality of patient care, adding that the Minist?re de la Sant? et des Services sociaux du Qu?bec (MSSS) is interested in both acquiring SAH and maintaining the top-quality professional labour force currently working there.

In the context of the lack of nurses and other healthcare professionals in Quebec, the possibility of recruiting some 250 seasoned and dedicated employees in the context of the transfer is certainly very exciting for the provincial government.

That said, if an agreement is imminent, to use the words of the VAC negotiator, we must advise you that we will not accept a transfer at any cost of the members we represent. You are certainly aware that their salaries are higher than those of their provincial counterparts. A provincial job does not constitute a ?reasonable job offer? according to the Work Force Adjustment Directive that PIPSC and the Treasury Board of Canada have negotiated, and any agreement not complying with that requirement could encourage our members to consider other solutions. You must certainly agree that transferring an ?empty shell? to the provincial government would not serve veterans? interests in any way.

This state of affairs must change. For the good of our veterans, it is high time that the Governments of Quebec and Canada treat SAH bargaining agents and employees as full partners in the discussions on the transfer of this prestigious institution. Therefore, I am asking you today to intervene in this matter as soon as possible and to ensure that the talks move forward.

Thank you in advance for all your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Gary Corbett
President and Chief Executive Officer

C.C. to :

Sean Casey, Critic, Veterans Affairs, Liberal Party of Canada

Peter Stoffer, Critic, Veterans Affairs, New Democratic Party of Canada

Louis Plamondon, Critic, Veterans Affairs, Bloc Qu?becois

Danielle Doyer, Official Opposition Critic, Social Services, Parti qu?b?cois

Agn?s Maltais, Official Opposition Critic, Health, Parti qu?b?cois

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