Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Since taking office, Christian Dubé has relied heavily on state mandarins and experienced managers of the health network.
Isabelle Porter in Quebec
January 13, 2024
It is next Wednesday that the Minister of Health will finally launch the call for applications for the position of president and chief executive officer (p.-d.g.) of the Santé Québec agency. A competition which will also aim to create a healthy rail management team since we do not expect the president to be from the industry.
Christian Dubé makes no secret of it. And he suggests that won't be a problem. “Is my president going to be from the network ? If he or she is not from the network, it must be supplemented, for example, by a head of operations who knows the network very well” , he said Thursday, in an interview with host Paul Arcand.
Over the past few weeks, Le Devoir has consulted with managers, former politicians and health care consultants to find out which names were being considered for the position of CEO. Most of them did not have clear answers on this subject, but almost all had detected that the minister wanted to appoint someone “from the private sector”, from outside the health network and the ministry. And preferably a woman.
Among the names circulating, two stand out. Manon Brouillette and Nathalie Palladitcheff. The first has led the board of directors of Hydro-Québec since June. Her reputation transcends borders, since in addition to having been at the head of Videotron, she was vice-president and CEO of the consumer division of Verizon, in the United States. The second has led Ivanhoé Cambridge since 2019 and sits on the board of directors of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
Le Devoir tried to contact them, without success. The minister's office also would not say whether or not they were encouraged to apply for the position.
The cabinet has also not confirmed that the salary of $543,000 revealed by Radio-Canada was accurate, but suggests that it is close.
Call for applications for several positions
The selection process must be officially launched on Wednesday, and the ministry plans to include other management positions in the competition to support the CEO. The minister speaks of seven or eight people.
To use the Christian Dubé metaphor, Tom Cruise was not alone in Top Gun. “I need several good managers, not just one top gun,” he said in an interview this week. You've seen the movie ? The second version with Maverick ? There's not just one good pilot. There are several good drivers working together. »
Will he solicit members of his own entourage ? The question arises since, since taking office, Mr. Dubé has relied heavily on state mandarins and experienced managers of the health network . Its reform was also largely developed by Dominique Savoie, then deputy minister of Health, who became secretary general of the government last summer. The study of the bill was also coordinated by Assistant Deputy Minister Stéphane Bergeron, a doctor, and Associate Deputy Minister Daniel Desharnais, former right-hand man of Gaétan Barrette.
Mr. Dubé also entrusted important mandates to Daniel Paré, former CEO. of the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches, called in as reinforcements in 2020 to coordinate the COVID-19 vaccination operation, then appointed associate deputy minister in 2022. However, we can doubt that the latter will join the management team since he already sits on the transition committee which was formed this week.
The other health manager on whom Mr. Dubé relies heavily is Michel Delamarre, former CEO. of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale. However, he already has his hands full with the improvement of the front-line access window and the management of the Integrated University Health and Social Services Network at Laval University.
The minister could prefer to appoint these strategic actors to the agency's board of directors, which must be formed in the spring, another decisive step in the process.
The ministry on the operating table
Meanwhile, a delicate project has opened at the Ministry of Health, which currently has 1,200 employees. Up to 40% of them could be asked to migrate to the Santé Québec agency. Who stays ? Who leaves ?
Christian Dubé suggested that those who work on infrastructure, IT and inspection files will be transferred to the agency. Overall, everyone whose work is related to network operations and not to policy direction should change employers.
A delicate operation which should not be carried out smoothly, pointed out a former network executive in an exchange with Le Devoir this week. In the context of the labor shortage that we are experiencing, a wave of departures is therefore to be expected.
To coordinate this major project, the minister formed a “transition committee”. Made up of 11 members, including Mr. Paré and Doctor Gilbert Boucher, president of the Association of Specialists in Emergency Medicine, it will have until April 2025 to restructure everything.
Already, its composition is raising eyebrows, with some groups deploring not having been invited to the table. This is the case of the Association of Managers of Health and Social Services Establishments, which represents 8,300 middle managers in the network.
Between the Agency, the ministry and the CISSS, we will have to clearly know “who does what”, warns its president, Danielle Girard. “What gets bogged down [in the network] is when the roles don’t become clear. »