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have a negative effect on health care by reducing the ability to attract and retain qualified personnel and should be withdrawn.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.

To read McGill’s brief in its entirety, click here.

Click here to download the SMHC brief.

To read the full JGH brief, click here.

Click here to view a thought-provoking video independently produced by Ari Grunzeweig of Imagination Creations on the Charter of Quebec Values that was recorded around the Jewish General Hospital.

Click here to read the join McGill Academic Health Network response to the proposed Charter of Values.

Click here to read the position statement of the McGill Nursing Undergraduate Society.

Click here to read the statement from the McGill Medical Students Society.

Click here to read an article in the Montreal Gazette about McGill residents’ opposition to the proposed Charter of Values

March 20, 2014