(Quebec) Prime Minister François Legault believes that the increase in complaints and reports of ill-treatment is not a sign of a deterioration in care and services for the elderly.
Posted on January 18th
That increase of 50% in one year and 200% since 2018-2019, as La Presse revealed, he says, is more a testament to the impact of the Elderly Abuse Act and All Other Adult Vulnerabilities. Adopted in 2017, it was improved in 2020 and then in 2022.
It is now “easier to file a complaint,” he explained on Wednesday at a press conference on the sidelines of the weekly Council of Ministers meeting. The fact that complaints and reports are increasing, “I don’t think that indicates a deterioration in care.”
The Minister for Health and Senior Citizens, Sonia Bélanger, also makes “no connection [entre] Services and Abuse Situations” on the rise. This increase is “not at all” a sign that the quality of services is deteriorating, she said. She added that abuse has many faces. The perpetrators are not always employees, they could be relatives, she said.
“I expected an increase in denunciations, that’s what we want with the law,” she added.
“It’s not good news that the number of complaints has increased by 50%, but it gives me peace of mind as a minister, knowing that now we denounce fast and act fast. […] To me it’s a sign of transparency, it’s a sign of clarity, it’s a sign that abuse means zero tolerance. »
Sonia Bélanger appealed to the population to report any abuse she observed. She reminded that health network workers have legal obligations. Abuse victims should not hesitate to report it, she added.
During a statutory meeting with the CEOs of the CISSSs and CIUSSSs, the Minister reminded them of their “duty” to properly train their staff on the law and to support their local officers on complaints and quality of service. She also wants to “increase the resources” available to officers who are responsible in particular for handling complaints and reports of abuse. “It is normal that with an increase in complaints, the commissioners are more overburdened. We will work to ensure that the resources are in place,” she said.
Québec solidaire and the Quebec Liberal Party find it unacceptable that the fines provided for in a law passed nine months ago are still not being imposed for cases of abuse. Minister Sonia Bélanger’s office replied that work was continuing with a view to imposing sanctions.
The law provides for fines for abuse: from $5,000 to $125,000 in the case of an individual, from $10,000 to $250,000 for an entity or legal entity. Fines range from $2,500 to $25,000 for employees who fail to report abuse they observe or suspect.
I’m not surprised at the increase. It has long been mentioned that these forms of ageism and abuse occur, but eventually not enough cases are reported. I am disturbed and yet very concerned about this amazing increase.
Pierre Lynch, spokesman for the Coalition for the Dignity of Seniors
There is a collective consciousness and COVID has exacerbated that. [Pendant la crise], we found that seniors had poor care in certain resources. With COVID, people have understood that enough is enough and that we need good treatment.
Sylvie Tremblay, Executive Director of the Provincial Regrouping of User Committees