MUHC presents its submission on Bill 60 at National Assembly

For the MUHC as for so many other organizations in Quebec, Bill 60 is a piece of legislation that is trying to resolve a problem that does not exist.

In its presentation today on Bill 60 – Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests – before the National Assembly’s Committee on Institutions, leaders of the MUHC maintained that the legislation will have a negative effect on health care by reducing the ability to attract and retain qualified personnel and should be withdrawn.

“Bill 60 is a source of concern to the McGill University Health Centre from our councils to our unions, from our Board of Directors to our professionals on the front lines,” said Normand Rinfret, Director General and CEO of the MUHC.  “In many ways, the draft legislation goes to the heart of our organization, bringing into question our values and our mission while putting our day to day operations and our hard-earned international reputation at risk. Our fear is that if passed Bill 60 would have serious consequences on our ability to deliver exceptional care to Quebecers, develop the next generation of health professionals and attract research to Quebec.” 

M. Rinfret headed a delegation comprised of: Peter Abraham, a member of the MUHC Board of Directors, Sophie Baillargeon, President of the Council of Nurses and Dr. Pramod S. Puligandla, President of the Central Executive Committee of the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists.

The MUHC’s position, which was unanimously endorsed by its Board of Directors, reflects the perspectives of its legislated councils and committees, notably the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists, the Users Committee, the Council of Nurses as well as the various local unions representing MUHC employees.  Furthermore, the MUHC consulted its community and received more than 250 contributions. The opposition was overwhelming: 93% of respondents opposed the Charter as presented.

“For the MUHC as for so many other organizations in Quebec,” noted Mr. Rinfret, “Bill 60 is a piece of legislation that is trying to resolve a problem that does not exist. We have had no complaint from patients concerning a lack of neutrality. We have never had a problem with employees proselytising in the workplace, nor have we had difficulties linked to requests for reasonable accommodation.”

Rinfret pointed out that the MUHC does not perceive the value of the exemption clause in this bill and that it would not plan on applying for an exemption. He concluded that the MUHC will remain steadfast in its commitment to providing an open and welcoming environment to all doctors, healthcare professionals, scientists, support staff, students, residents, volunteers and patients where they are free to wear unconcealed religious symbols as long as it does not impair patient safety.

The MUHC submission to the general consultation and public hearing on Bill 60 can be found here.

For more information contact:
MUHC Public Affairs, 514-843-1560
public [dot] affairs [at] muhc [dot] mcgill [dot] ca

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC):  One of the world’s foremost academic health centres, the MUHC offers exceptional and integrated patient-centric care, research, teaching and technology assessment. Highly committed to the continuum of care in its community and affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, The Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital of the MUHC value multidisciplinary service throughout the lifespan, innovative technologies and practices, strategic partnerships and leadership in knowledge transfer. The MUHC is currently carrying out a $2.355-billion Redevelopment Project on three sites —the Montreal General, the Glen and Lachine—designed to provide healthcare professionals with an effective environment in which to ensure patients and their families benefit from The Best Care for Life. The campuses are also anchored in best sustainable-development practices, including LEED® and BOMA BESt guidelines.