For immediate release
A broad coalition of organizations alarmed by the Health Plan and Bill 15
Stop the machine!
Montreal, April 13, 2023 – The Ligue des droits et libertés, the Coalition Solidarité Santé and the Coalition Riposte au Plan Santé, which include more than 35 organizations, are alerting the public to the setbacks to the right to health and to the democratic participation in health policy found in the government’s Health Plan.
The Health Plan and Bill 15 open the door to an acceleration of the privatization of social services and health care. Examples include the announcement of private mini-hospitals, the creation of Santé Québec and the lightning growth of private tele-medicine. The government is deploying this privatization with a scandalous casualness despite the seriousness of what it represents, such as the siphoning of resources from the public system to the private sector and the jeopardizing of free health care in the medium term. Collective well-being must remain the guiding principle in health-care policy. Entrusting certain health care and social services to the private sector heightens the risk that financial interests will take precedence over those of the population and will jeopardize the financing of many essential health services. The realization of rights does not go well with the pursuit of profit.
Democratic participation in health and social services system, which has been weakened in recent years, will also suffer additional setbacks. Democracy is more than just exercising the right to vote every four years. It includes, among other things, the right to information, structures that encourage the participation of the various stakeholders, as well as real accountability mechanisms for decision-makers. Instead, the Health Plan and the Bill 15 result in a quasi-elimination of citizen power in the health and social services network, which is essential in order to take into account the needs, realities and expertise of the public. These setbacks affect racialized populations and marginalized groups to an even greater extent.
It should be remembered that this Health Plan has not been the subject of any public consultation, even though the government has been implementing various aspects for several months now, well before the tabling of Bill 15 on March 29. This new reform proposes major changes, some of which will have serious impacts on the right to health, by undermining the universality and equity of care. The Quebec government must also consult and listen to community health and social services organizations, which fear that this reform will seriously undermine their autonomy.
We invite elected officials, the media and the general public to pay attention to and to distribute the series of vignettes which are being launched today by the Coalition Riposte au Plan santé, which highlight some of the central issues in health and social services and which invite us to stay critical of the avenues that are being proposed in the new policies.
The public has the right to be adequately informed, consulted and heard in a timely manner, rather than being presented with a fait accompli resulting in an upheaval of the foundations of our public health system. The Health Plan is unfolding at breakneck speed and with an appalling lack of democratic participation. And it does not lead to improvements in the right to health. Let’s stop the machine!
« Democratic participation must not be limited to satisfaction surveys! We demand the right to be informed, consulted and listened to in order to fully exercise our democratic power to decide. » – Nathalie Déziel, director of the Regroupement des Aidantes et aidants naturels de Montréal (RAANM) and spokesperson for the Coalition Solidarité Santé.
« We have not yet recovered from the profound disorganization of the network caused by the Barrette reform, and already Christian Dubé is proposing a new centralizing system in an accounting style that does not meet the current needs of caregivers and patients. It is no longer the quality of the clinical relationship between the provider and the patient that will be fundamental, but rather the quantity of contacts per day, and this is serious. Health care is not a commercial product to be purchased at the most economically viable price, but a human right for every person to access all necessary medical care free of charge. » – Arnold Aberman, doctor, member of the Caring for Social justice Collective and spokesperson for the Coalition Riposte au Plan santé.
« Not only is the government trying to impose huge changes that do not move in the direction of an improved right to health but that open the door to privatization; but furthermore, it is trying to do so without a public debate appropriate for the scope of this plan. Once again, the government is trying to sidestep the democratic debate that we have a right to expect, and that we now demand. » – Laurence Guénette, spokesperson for the Ligue des droits et libertés.
Vignettes from the Coalition Riposte au Plan santé
On line : https://liguedesdroits.ca/stoppons-la-machine-coalition-riposte-plan-sante/
The right to health is the right of every person to the highest attainable standard of physical, psychological and social health, not merely to urgent or primary health care. Social services and democratic participation in public health are critical to the realization of the right to health.
Ligue des droits et libertés: Le droit à la santé nous échappe !: a framework for analysis based on the right to health in relation to five critical issues: technology, remuneration, democracy, privatization and the role of the courts, 2022 (only in French).
On line : https://liguedesdroits.ca/wp-content/fichiers/2022/10/seminaire_droit_sante_nous_echappe_20221025_vf.pdf
Manifesto of the Coalition Solidarité Santé for a public, free and universal health system.
On line : https://cssante.com/manifeste/
The Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS)’s socioeconomic note on the privatization and growth of the virtual care industry in Quebec, 2023.
On line : https://iris-recherche.qc.ca/publications/soins-virtuels/
The Coalition Solidarité Santé is a Quebec group created in 1991, composed of unions, community organizations and citizens’ committees. It also includes feminist, seniors, disabled and caregiver groups. At the basis of all the interventions of the Coalition Solidarité Santé is the defense of the major principles that have been the cornerstones of our health network since its creation, namely its public character, free access, universality, and comprehensiveness.
The Coalition Riposte au plan Santé is an adhoc group of social justice associations, research groups and advocacy organizations mobilized in the face of the health plan announced by Minister Christian Dubé in the winter of 2022.
Since 1963, the Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) has influenced government policies and legislation and has contributed to the creation of institutions dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights. It regularly makes public demands and denounces violations of human rights at the local, national and international levels. Its activities of analysis, sensitization and promotion of human rights are essential components of the push towards a just and inclusive society for all. As a non-profit, independent and non-partisan organization, LDL defends and promotes the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of the rights recognized in the International Bill of Human Rights.
For information & interview requests
Elisabeth Dupuis, Responsable des communications (LDL)
Cellular : 514-715-7727