CISSSO update

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Greg Newing
Local Journalism Initiative

OUTAOUAIS – About 40 people attended an online public information session organized by the Centre intégré de santé et services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO), December 14. The meeting was facilitated by CISSSO interim president and board secretary Yves St-Onge who presented the 2022-2023 annual report and goals for the upcoming year.

It was announced that CISSSO will be replaced by a local branch of Santé-Québec, a centralized administrative body, following the adoption of Bill 15 on December 9. Santé-Québec Outaouais will no longer have decision making powers and will focus on oversight, quality control, research and evaluation. St-Onge said a transitional committee led by Deputy Health and Social Services Minister Daniel Paré will oversee the transition from the CISSS network to Santé-Québec over the coming months.

The report included progress updates on the new university hospital (CHAU), which is awaiting government approval for a construction site. “Although it might seem like things aren’t advancing, the background work on the project is progressing smoothly pending an assessment of the future site. Teams have been working for 2 years on the hospital’s clinical development plan, which is versatile enough that the architects will be able to adapt it to whatever site is chosen,” said St-Onge. “Whether it happens today or sometime in the coming months, we have a full-time team working on this project and will be more or less ready to go ahead as soon as the site is finalized,” he added.

Updates were also shared concerning five seniors’ residences and alternative housing facilities in the region: the Parc-de-la-Montagne residence officially opened on November 16; construction began for a new residence in Maniwaki on June 28 and is projected to be finished in April 2025; and another new residence in Masson-Angers began construction on January 30 (projected to finish in February 2025). Initial steps were also taken to add 48 new senior’s residence spaces to the CHSLD Vallée-de-la-Lièvre, which will be available in October 2026, and a future expansion project will add 24 senior’s residence spaces to the CHSLD des Collines with dates to be determined.

Hiring and retaining healthcare workers continues to be a challenge in the Outaouais. St-Onge cited higher salaries and better working conditions in nearby Ontario as the major reason for people leaving the local healthcare sector.  He said a differential pay program for Outaouais to attract and retain more staff was recently proposed by the government as one of the latest steps in the ongoing negotiations with healthcare workers. The proposal also includes differential pay programs for Abitibi-Témiscamingue and the north-eastern and Côte-Nord region.

CISSSO’s full 2022-2023 annual report can be found at https://cisss-outaouais.gouv.qc.ca/mon-cisss/rapports-et-publications-administratives/rapports-annuels/.

A report on complaints and user satisfaction was also shared by complaints and service quality commissioner Marion Carrière and can be found at: https://cisss-outaouais.gouv.qc.ca/mon-cisss/rapports-et-publications-administratives/rapports-du-commissaire-aux-plaintes/