Mystery around the reserves of medical equipment

Mystère autour des réserves d’équipements médicaux

What is the level of reserves of medical equipment in Quebec if a new wave of the COVID-19 occurred ? It is Impossible to know precisely.

Despite commitments to transparency from the prime minister François Legault, the ministry of Health has refused to respond to questions from our Office to investigate this matter.

The only indications that we have provided are the following.

The department is building currently a reserve of gloves, surgical masks, and N95, and blouses of protection – writ of personal protective equipment (PPE) – equivalent to the needs for the six-month period of a pandemic.

“The reservation is completed for some PPE, while for others, the products are in order,” says the ministry of Health in an e-mail sent this week.

For the rest, we will see perhaps one day.

A mystery

It is therefore Impossible to learn, despite our questions. In practical terms, this means that, for the moment, the department does not want to reveal the quantity of items which are available in the reserves, or reveal those that lack or those that are in sufficient quantity. For example, the exact number of shirts or pairs of gloves stored in warehouses remains a mystery.

Obscure security issues might justify this silence. “For security reasons, the department does not make public the state of its supplies,” writes in the email.

It may be recalled that at the beginning of the pandemic COVID-19, the government Legault had been caught unawares : the emergency reserves of medical supplies were non-existent in Quebec. This situation had a considerable negative impact on the implementation of the first measures to control the coronavirus.

Subsequently, throughout the crisis, the prime minister, Legault has said repeatedly that he wanted to be transparent in the management of the equipment. He has made several statements in this sense.


Called to respond, the spokesperson on health for the liberal Party of Quebec, Marie Montpetit, argues that the government Legault should provide complete information on reservations.

“The shortage of protective equipment has been one of the key factors of the failure of the government in the first phase of the pandemic,” stressed the mp.

“In this context, she added, the department and the government should understand […] that they have the responsibility to reassure the population and health workers about the reserves of protective equipment. ”

The statements of François Legault

Since the beginning of the pandemic, François Legault has hinted on several occasions that transparency was a principle that guided him in his communications with Quebec. Here are three examples of his press conferences.

March 22,

  • Mr. Legault made the point about the small amount of medical equipment then in reserve in the health network.

“It is correct, he said, for the few weeks to come. Of course, in all transparency, for the following, on account of commands, and then you don’t take the chance. “

March 31,

  • Returning to the reserve equipment, which is at a critical level, Mr. Legault says that he must tell everything to Quebec.

“Today, I want to be clear, I want to tell you the truth : for some equipment, it was for three to seven days. Therefore, it is still tight. “

April 11,

  • While there are fears of a shortage of certain medicines, the prime minister evokes again the need for transparency :

“We have a problem on the side of the medication. Therefore, I like better to be transparent. There are a couple of medications where you can be for about a week. “

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