Health and Welfare Commissioner: a much-awaited reinstatement
Finance Minister Carlos Leitão removed the section on abolishing the Health and Welfare Commissioner (CSBE), as well as the one on the new responsibilities of INESSS which had been called on to take on some of the commissioner’s functions, on May 16, 2018, in the framework of the detailed study of Bill 150.
This bill concerning implementation of the Couillard government’s 2016 and 2017 budgets was slow to be discussed and the finance minister chose to remove about 100 sections, including those involving the abolition of the CSBE, to allow it to be adopted before the end of the parliamentary session.
Later in the evening, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette, confirmed on Twitter that the government’s current budget situation made it possible to reinstate the Commissioner.
Décision initiale prise dans le cadre de la révision de programme. J’ai fait des représentations auprès du gouvernement. La situation budgétaire actuelle permet de le ramener. D’où cette décision réfléchie #polqchttps://t.co/E1J240LnpD— Dr Gaétan Barrette (@drgbarrette) 16 mai 2018
Négociation gagnante du PQ a permis d’annuler l’abolition du CSBE qui était imposée par @drgbarrette et PLQ dans PL150.— Diane Lamarre (@DianeLamarreQc) 16 mai 2018
Dès l’élection du PQ, retour du CSBE, de son mandat et de son budget. #polqc#assnat
The QMA issued a press release (in French only) that two years had been lost during which no objective performance assessment of the health care system had been possible. The QMA is also asking that the next Commissioner report to the National Assembly of Québec, and not the ministry, so that it is no longer dependent on a political and budget decision, as has been the case over the past two years.
“The announcement of Bill 20 and Bill 130 had repercussions, as did the suspension of a number of their sections and the latest agreements with the medical federations. But these repercussions could not be analysed with the required objectivity that a neutral agency would have been able to provide,” lamented QMA president Dr. Hugo Viens.
The return of the Commissioner, often described as the watchdog of the health and social services system, is excellent news for a multitude of organizations that had severely criticized its disappearance. As the QMA has always pointed out, Québec society needs a credible, independent accountability and responsibility mechanism for health care.