The vacations of all employees and managers working within the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal have been canceled, we can read in an internal memo which TVANouvelles.ca obtained a copy on Friday.
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“On the eve of the holiday season, with a noted increase in outbreaks and cases of COVID-19 within the population of our territory, all means to prevent a worsening of the situation must be put in place”, perhaps we read in the document published Thursday.
Nursing and cardio-respiratory care personnel, paratechnical personnel, auxiliary services and trades, technicians and professionals in health and social services are therefore asked to cancel their vacations on a voluntary basis between December 13 until to January 30.
If the vacation could not be taken, workers would still be entitled to four or five days’ leave, depending on the job title, be it Christmas or New Years.
However, these holidays related to public holidays could also be canceled “in case of force majeure”, it is written.
Contacted by TVANouvelles.ca, the CIUSSS assures us, despite the circulating memo, that the measure is not mandatory and that its application will only be used in cases of service failure.
Instead, it was reported that employees were encouraged to voluntarily cancel their vacation or “return to work overtime during the vacation period that was scheduled.”
“In the absence of volunteers, we will apply ministerial decree 2020-007 which allows us to cancel certain vacation days from December 13, 2020 to January 30, 2021 for certain job titles in our organization, including managers and staff of care.”
The CIUSSS maintains that the personal situations of workers will be taken into account and exceptions “will be discussed in connection with humanitarian reasons or particular family constraints.”
“We are well aware that our employees have been working very hard over the past few months, in a very difficult environment, and that we have already asked them a lot. […] We must once again redouble our efforts to face the impacts of the second wave of the pandemic, ”indicates Hélène Bergeron-Gamache of the CIUSSS by email.
Reacting to information which indicated that the holidays were unilaterally canceled in this CIUSSS, Minister Dubé said he was in agreement with the measure due to the difficult situation.
“I respect this decision, because the situation on the West Island, especially at Lakeshore or in the other hospitals, is critical. It’s not what we like to do, but I think it was safe to prevent. And this is the reason why we appreciate the collaboration that we have had with the nurses over the past nine months. It is a very difficult situation at the moment ”, declared the minister during his press briefing on Friday afternoon.
In addition, the load shedding has started in the west of Montreal. Staff working in several sectors will be reassigned to “sectors” at risk.
Thus, in this CIUSSS, a 50% reduction in operating theater activities has been initiated, 50% of outpatient clinics will be closed (including those of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute) and the resources of FMGs will be offloaded by 50%.
“People belonging to unloaded activity sectors or other targeted sectors will be reassigned within the same site, as far as possible, or to other sectors at risk if they express an interest or if they is necessary to do so ”, it is written in the note.