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Quebec offers another short training course to recruit beneficiary attendants

Photo: Adil Boukind Archives Le Devoir This is not the first time that the government has used a shortened program and a scholarship to recruit. In the photo, the University Institute of Geriatrics of Montreal, a specialized health care center for the elderly, received, in July 2020, the first cohort of new beneficiary attendants.

Katrine Desautels – The Canadian Press

February 13, 2024

  • Quebec

The Legault government is once again trying to attract aspiring beneficiary attendants with a program that offers shortened training in addition to a $12,000 scholarship.

Quebec hopes to recruit 1,000 new beneficiary attendants with the objective of training more staff working in home support. The government aims to ensure that the new cohorts can be at work by fall 2024. It also assures future attendants that they will have a job as soon as they obtain their certificate.

The new training, offered throughout Quebec in professional training centers, will be 705 hours, spread over approximately five months, compared to the regular program which contains 870 hours.

Regarding the $12,000 grant, the envelope will be divided into three: two payments of $4,000 will be awarded during the training and must be reimbursed in the event of withdrawal or failure, and students who have obtained their certificate of Professional studies will have access to another amount of $4,000. The scholarship is conditional on a six-month commitment to work in the health network.

Obligation to remain in the network

This element is essential to ensure succession, according to the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, and he sees it as an inconsistency with the accelerated training program for the construction field announced this year by the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet.

“In the case [of the program for beneficiary attendants], we still require that people go and work in the network for a certain time, which was not done when we launched a program for construction. There is still an inconsistency that I find difficult to explain,” declared Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

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“It’s public money that goes into paying for these training courses, we would expect that to come with guarantees of working in the appropriate field. »

Mr. Nadeau-Dubois still welcomed the initiative of the Legault government to counter the labor shortage. “When it comes to population aging, we have a whole societal challenge. At Québec solidaire, we are not going to criticize the solutions that work and allow us to meet these challenges just because they come from the CAQ. This program is a good idea, it’s a good program. »

On the side of the Liberal Party of Quebec, the interim leader, Marc Tanguay, said that he would wait for the results of the program before judging it. “Yes, it's another step in the right direction, but is it investing money efficiently and what are the results ? This is a government that we are not accustomed to having — in all files — tangible results. Worse than that, well we will judge the tree by its fruits. »

In a press scrum at the National Assembly, the Minister responsible for Seniors and Minister Delegate for Health, Sonia Bélanger, recognized that there is an “urgency to act” in health care. home in Quebec.

“[They] have been weakened for several years and we are taking action at different levels,” she said. I think that the training program to provide concrete help to people who are losing their autonomy or people who are physically disabled and are waiting to have services or more hours of home support service, it is important. »

Addressing the lack of training

Beneficiary attendants who work in home care have the title of health and social services auxiliary (ASSS), who must go to the residence of people losing their autonomy. Their work tasks consist of ensuring the well-being and hygiene of the patient, installing certain devices and providing care for which they have been trained.

The Federation of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN), the largest union organization in health and social services, is concerned about the new shortened program.

Guillaume Clavette, representative of the category of paratechnical personnel, auxiliary services and trades at the FSSS-CSN, argued in a press release that current staff would have to help their new colleagues with no experience. “We are putting the burden of training new people on the shoulders of staff who are in short supply,” he said.

“By removing 165 hours of training, new employees will be less prepared to experience the particularities of home care: violent patients, isolated work, unsanitary apartments, mental health, etc.,” explained Mr. Clavette. Once again, instead of valuing and making jobs attractive, we devalue them. »

The Quebec Union of Service Employees (SQEES), affiliated with the FTQ, hopes that this announcement will mark a turning point in the public provision of home services.

In a press release, the president of the union, Sylvie Nelson, maintains that as the ban on using employment agencies approaches, Quebec must hire more to strengthen home care teams , who too often depend on the latter to provide services.

“With the aging of the population, the desire to age in place and the necessary shift towards home care and the end of the call to placement agencies, it will take more than a cohort of 1000 ASSS to meet the needs. It is necessary to put in place strong attraction and retention measures,” argued Ms. Nelson.

The challenges of population aging

The accelerated program announced Tuesday follows another short training course, launched last May, which trained 3,000 beneficiary attendants to work in residential and long-term care centers (CHSLD) and in the homes of the elderly.

The Legault government had already used this recruitment tactic in 2020, while the health crisis was in full swing. A grant of up to $9,210 was then aimed at attracting 10,000 new faces. Of this lot, more than 7,500 beneficiary attendants are still on the job, according to the Ministry of Health.

“In the current context of population aging, it is our responsibility to focus on options outside of our health network’s own infrastructure,” argued the Minister of Health , Christian Dubé, in a press release.

The Commissioner of Health and Well-being, Joanne Castonguay, indicated in a report at the beginning of the year that by 2040, the need for services, both at home and in CHSLDs, will require the equivalent of 571.9 million hours of service.

Spending on care and services is expected to almost double, increasing by $8.9 billion to $16.5 billion. The aging of the population is expected to increase the need for home care in the coming years.

In a previous report, Ms. Castonguay highlighted that spending on home care and community services per capita in 2021-2022 in Quebec was among the lowest in Canada, with those in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick.

The Canadian Press health content receives funding through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116