January 21, 2016 5:26 pm
Updated: January 22, 2016 10:36 am

More problems plague MUHC as employees complain of bitter cold

WATCH ABOVE: More problems are affecting the MUHC super hospital. This time, employees say some working areas are frigid because too much cold air is being let in from the outside. Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports.


MONTREAL – For several weeks now, Montrealers have bundled up to battle the January winter deep freeze outside, but inside the MUHC, some employees complain there isn’t much difference.

“People who work in the cafeteria complain about that,” said Amin Benani, who works in housekeeping for the hospital.

“Many people complain to me and say it’s very cold.”

Employees said cafeteria temperatures hovered around 10 degrees last week.

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At the parking lot entrance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, temperatures inside were reportedly a frigid four degrees.

“It’s something to get used to,” said Kyle Rapaso, who works in shipping.

“We tell people to keep the doors shut as much as possible, but for it to be a new hospital, it sucks kind of.”

The SNC Lavalin Consortium running the hospital said cold air is coming into the building from the underground parking lot.

The tunnel linking the Vendôme metro station to the hospital is only partially built.

Until it’s finished, people have been walking in through the garage.

In a statement, the Consortium said:

“An ongoing flow of people is using the parking lot to access the hospital from the Vendôme metro station, thus keeping the sliding doors open for longer periods than anticipated.”

“In the last months and until a permanent tunnel is built between the Vendôme metro station and the hospital, the MUHC and McGill Healthcare Infrastructure Group (MHIG) have decided to accommodates pedestrians by allowing them to use a foot path through the parking lot to access the hospital indoors.”

The latest complaint comes on the heels of a Global News story last week detailing multiple complaints with how the MHIG is running the hospital.

“SNC Lavalin, they are used to operating commercial buildings,” said Manuel Fernandes, the vice-president of health and safety of the union representing hospital workers.

“This is a hospital. Our clientèle are extremely vulnerable. It takes a different approach. It’s affecting morale.”

Fernandes said the union would like the government to intervene, but that’s unlikely to happen.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said it won’t micromanage the MUHC, adding the building has the highest LEED certification, making its management different from other buildings.

As for the problems with the cold, the hospital has plastic wraps between doorways to cut the wind.

Employees admitted it does make it a little warmer, but they’re already looking forward to spring.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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