Quebec’s general practitioners are getting a pay raise.
“It is an increase of 1.8 per cent per year, which compares to what we gave the public sector, which is 1.75 per cent per year,” Treasury Board president, Pierre Moreau said of the new arrangement.
The deal is worth $340 million but the provincial government is also forking out another $500 million, they say to pay what they owe the doctors from their last agreement. Neither agreement is being made public.
The salary increase works out to about 14.7 per cent at the end of the contract in 2023. Factoring in how the government is going to pay out the $500 million it still owes, doctors will see a bigger salary increase much sooner – 10 per cent in three years.
“It’s still a hidden deal,” said Parti Quebecois health critic, Diane Lamarre. “If you are proud of your agreement… you should be willing to give the content of your agreement.”
She said the deal does nothing for patients – there’s no guarantee it will mean more Quebecers have access to a family doctor.
A recent study found Quebec has more family doctors per capita than neighbouring Ontario, however, only 77 per cent of Quebecers have a family doctor while over 90 per cent of Ontarians have a doctor or nurse practitioner.
“The important implication of family physicians in care, in hospital, in emergency rooms, in delivery rooms – it’s a very specific situation here in Quebec, which is why we need more family physicians in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada,” Dr. Louis Godin said.
The government and the doctors’ federation have agreed to readjust salaries based on the findings of an ongoing independent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. If it finds Quebec doctors still earn less than doctors in Ontario, the government could approve another salary increase in 2019.