A report denouncing a climate of “fear” at work hidden by a CIUSSS

Spread the love

A report denouncing a climate “of fear” at work hidden by a CIUSSS

The Jewish General Hospital of Montreal is one of the health establishments that make up the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Ile-de- Montreal.

A study commissioned by the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, which was supposed to be shared with employees, was buried for five years. She denounced the suffering of the staff in the face of the organization of work.

The study evokes a pervasive yet profound malaise, a permanent state of fear and fear of reprisal when employees make a suggestion, offer an opinion or ask for a break.

It also recounts a work climate that is difficult to endure, constantly changing, an organization in silos where communication is ineffective or non-existent.

These words, taken from a report commissioned in 2017, did not please the management of the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal.

Despite a commitment by the human resources department to share the results of the study with the employees who participated, the institution had never made public the report before the court ordered him to do so last April. The news site 24 hours has also discussed this issue in recent days.

The results of the study had been presented orally to representatives of the Alliance of Professional and Technical Personnel of Health and Social Services (APTS), confirms the union. Without allowing to take notes, specifies on the other hand Teresa Muccari, national representative of the Alliance.

It took employees a long wait with the Commission d'accès à l'information, followed by an appeal by the CIUSSS before the courts and a court order, for the document can finally be made public.

Faced with the findings depicted in the study, the APTS deplores in a press release published in October that the administration has chosen to the report to the sideline and not to follow up on the process. She considers that the findings revealed required rapid action to remedy the situation.

During the hearing before the Commission d'accès à l'information, the CIUSSS maintained that, if the study had been shelved at the time, it was because it was not of good quality and that it was unfinished.

The CIUSSS says it was disappointed with the consultant's work. According to him, these contained value judgments. The work was rejected, the minutes read.

The Access to Information Commission considers that the document is indeed complete.

In a telephone interview, Mark Wilkins, who carried out the study, says he remembers it well, but not at all the questioning of his work. He copied text messages received from contacts at the CIUSSS on this subject on behalf of Radio-Canada.

One ​​of the texts highlights that a manager really liked the insight of his recommendations. Another thanked him and felt that the manager on file had a good feeling about the presentation of the results.

This presentation, he also remembers it very well. You could see on the faces that they were visibly very disappointed to see what the employees thought of the establishment and what they experienced at work, he says.

The CIUSSS refused our interview requests. By e-mail, the communications department nevertheless replied that the study was prepared five years ago, shortly after the creation of the CIUSSS.

“At that time, we had doubts about the quality of the study and its statistical significance. »

— CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal

As a result, leaders say they preferred more comprehensive assessments, such as those of Accreditation Canada, which do not address the same issues.

In these studies, it is more a question of safety and quality of care, than of employee well-being.

The CIUSSS maintains that it has taken several initiatives since to improve the climate work, such as the Zero Stigma training program, to educate staff and managers on signs of distress.

In addition, the institution indicates that it has facilitated work-life balance with flexible hours, in particular.

In addition, the CIUSSS has installed soundproof booths in certain establishments in recent months with a heated and massaging seat for employees.

A few days after Radio-Canada made contact with the responsible for the study, the CIUSSS has changed version.

He now maintains that it was never his intention to question or disparage Mr. Wilkins' work, but that the sample was simply too small .

A sample that the CIUSSS had itself asked to restrict, according to Mr. Wilkins, for budgetary reasons.

He himself acknowledges in the study that it is a qualitative report, based on six groups of 11 to 16 people met for 90 minutes, and that it cannot be considered as a quantitative study of all CIUSSS establishments.

The APTS strongly denounces the reaction of CIUSSS management to the findings of the report.

For the union, it shifts the responsibility to the employees and, moreover, it validates the multiple denunciations, grievances and calls for help which have been addressed to the administration in recent years and which have too often been ignored or put aside.

“We believe that the omerta that is constantly raging throughout Quebec is hiding the public's actual network status. »

— Jonathan Harmon, APTS union advisor

For Jonathan Harmon, a change of culture is necessary at the CIUSSS.

He says, with supporting evidence, that this is not an isolated case. For several years, requests for access to information have been almost systematically ignored or refused by the CIUSSS administration, forcing the proliferation of challenges and legal proceedings.

By email, the CIUSSS maintains that these refusals are justified.

Previous Article
Next Article