An organization in the Montreal health network spent $2.6 million on hotel room costs to house employees related to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the pandemic, two years ago, the Center-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) has spent $2.6 million $ in hotel rooms for employees who came from outside the region, or who had to be placed in isolation.
Recently, a contract without call for tenders (by mutual agreement) was awarded to the Hilton Midtown, on Decarie Boulevard, in Montreal, according to the electronic tendering system. However, the amount is not known.
A total of 11 hotel rooms have been reserved for employees for six months. These must include, in particular, parking and lunch.
When asked about this, the CIUSSS replied that the rooms are rented for vaccinators or “essential staff members” of vaccination clinics.< /p>
At the start of the pandemic, the CIUSSS had also offered hotel rooms for employees whose family member was vulnerable to COVID-19 and to avoid transmission. Up to 20 rooms were rented at the time.
Even though Montreal offers a large pool of potential candidates, unlike some remote areas, the CIUSSS claims not to have been able to recruit here.
“These people travel very far and cannot go back and forth. Without this help, we would need nurses and we don't have these numbers,” wrote CIUSSS spokesperson Barry Morgan.
Yet less than 2,000 doses of vaccine per day were administered in Montreal in the past week. We are far from the peak of last January, when more than 22,000 Montrealers were vaccinated daily.
Note that the 11 rooms must be paid for even if no one is staying there, to ensure their availability. The CIUSSS did not respond to the question asking how many employees currently reside there. It adds that the number of rooms booked has fluctuated during the pandemic.
“We have made every effort not to book more rooms than necessary,” writes Mr. Morgan.
Other possible locations?
In addition, two other hotels are located in the area targeted by the Hilton contract, which did not object of a call for tenders.
On this subject, the CIUSSS says that it has done the research to obtain “the best rates” and that it had no obligation to go to a call for tenders, because the state of health emergency there did not oblige. The management of the Hilton did not call backLe Journal.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services replied that the establishments must prepare for a campaign of important vaccination next fall. However, there is no ministerial directive for the accommodation of displaced employees.
Conditions of the contract with the Hilton Midtown hotel
- Availability of 11 rooms for a minimum period of six months
- The rooms must contain a kitchenette with oven, stove, microwave and sink
- Parking included
- Lunch included
- The hotel must be located within a radius of 5 km from the Décarie square