Health and Welfare Commissioner : Couillard Government’s Powers over Regulatory Agencies (Press Release)
Tuesday 22 March 2016
The Quebec Medical Association (QMA) is strongly opposed to the repeal of the Act respecting the Health and Welfare Commissioner. The Association equally condemns the government for silencing criticism by eliminating an independent agent in the healthcare network. Once again, the government is granting itself the final say over healthcare watchdogs. The QMA states that given the breadth of the current reforms to the healthcare network, it is now more important than ever to uphold the Commissioner’s mandate. Quebec needs an independent, credible method of accountability.
Since its creation in 2005, the office of the Health and Welfare Commissioner has voiced a neutral opinion on major issues in the healthcare industry, such as front-line care, chronic care, financing, payment of doctors and the basket of services. By eliminating the office, the Couillard government is sending a very clear message—that it won’t tolerate criticism.
Dr. Yun Jen, president of the QMA, says that “our healthcare system has changed drastically since Acts 10 and 20 were introduced. And the Ministry of Health is still revamping institutions and the way they do things. This constant shifting means that we should not only keep the office of the Commissioner, but reinforce it. Neutrality is not possible if the Commissioner’s powers are transferred to the Minister himself. How can he criticize his own decisions?” [quote translated from French]