This text is part of the special section Unionism
“Where are we going in Quebec with accommodation and care for vulnerable people? » asks Luc Vachon, president of the Centrale des syndicatsdemocratiques (CSD), many of whose members work with this public, particularly in intermediate resources and family-type resources.
However, already in 2020, Luc Vachon sounded the alarm by asking the Legault government to hold general meetings on the accommodation of vulnerable people. A proposal which was not followed up. “The Minister of Seniors at the time, Marguerite Blais, told us that it was useless given that her government had the Seniors’ Homes project,” he says. Today, we see that Seniors’ Homes, whose costs are very high, will not be able to meet the growing needs of an aging population like that of Quebec on their own. »
Seniors, whether independent, semi-autonomous, and in certain cases suffering from cognitive problems, can find accommodation, as well as certain care and services, in private seniors’ residences (RPA). The latter are private companies which, if they want to use the RPA name, must first obtain a certificate of conformity from the government. In addition, the rents requested in RPAs are not within the reach of all budgets.
“There are two main problems with RPAs currently in Quebec,” believes Luc Vachon. First, poor working conditions, particularly wages which top out at $18 per hour, lead to significant staff turnover, which obviously harms the quality of care and services. Then, five major RPA groups control around 40% of the market and operate according to the logic of real estate portfolio managers. Additionally, this parasitizes smaller RPAs. Currently, more and more small RPAs, for example an RPA located in a village and with around twenty residents, are no longer profitable and must close their doors. Residents must then uproot themselves to go where the large RPAs of the major groups are located. »
To counter this last problem, Luc Vachon makes a suggestion. “The government could establish a minimum level of care and services to which all vulnerable people housed in Quebec would be entitled and assume the costs, thus allowing small RPAs to survive. »
Intermediate resources as well as family-type resources offer accommodation, care and services to vulnerable people, including seniors losing their autonomy, adults with disabilities or mental health problems and children, particularly those who end up in a host family.
“RI-RTFs are a typically Quebecois accommodation model that has even made its mark in France,” emphasizes Luc Vachon. RI-RTFs have the advantage of offering a local and, in the case of RTFs, a downright family environment, which is preferable in my opinion to an institutional environment. Furthermore, it costs the government nothing in infrastructure since it is those who manage the RI-RTFs who provide the accommodation, often their own home. »
He is sorry that the current government is not promoting it. “On the contrary, the CIUSSS and CISSS let them die through attrition,” he laments. Rather, it should be valued. The RI-RTF are little known and few people know that today those who work there are unionized and have good working conditions. For example, an RTF can today be profitable by housing only one or two residents. »
Home care also appears to be another solution since by offering home care and services to vulnerable people, we also resolve the issue of accommodation.
“We must invest now and massively in home care if we want to adequately meet future needs,” says Luc Vachon. We must take a serious step forward with regard to the accommodation of vulnerable people. The choice of the type of accommodation, care and services offered is not up to the government, regardless of its color, but to all of Quebec society. Hence, in my opinion, the obligation to think collectively about what we want to offer. »
This content was produced by the Special Publications team at Duty, relating to marketing. The writing of the Duty did not take part.