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After an adoption under gag order described as "undemocratic" by many unions in early December, Bill 15 is slowly becoming a reality. In mid-January, the Quebec National Assembly issued a decree setting out the working conditions (and very good salary) of the future "president and CEO" of the Santé Québec agency. The new agency will oversee the province's entire public Health and Social Services network.
The future head of the agency will receive an annual sum of $567,000, plus "additional remuneration of 15% of his annual base salary, for each of the first two years of his mandate", a total of $652,050.
In 2023, the average salary for public sector employees (non-executives) was $43,916 per year. The CEO of Santé Québec will therefore earn nearly 15 times this amount. In addition to this compensation, they will benefit from 30 working days of paid vacation per year and will also receive monthly allowances of $1,573 for housing and $610 for travel expenses.
According to the call for candidates issued by the Ministry, no experience in the healthcare network is required to fill the position. It would simply be an asset. However, the future CEO of Santé Québec will need to have at least 15 years' management experience, "including five years or more in an executive capacity in a large organization".
The announcement prompted a reaction from the CSN's Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux, which represents 140,000 healthcare network employees. In a press release, its president, Réjean Leclerc, declared that "The Dubé reform reveals its true face! Inordinate salaries for the 'top guns' who will run our network like a business, and a wide-open door to privatization."
"The CAQ government is importing unacceptable wage practices from the private sector where CEOs pocket grotesquely high compensation compared to workers, without any guarantee of better operations. The last thing we need right now is another costly overhaul of the network's bureaucratic structures."
The Ministry is also looking to recruit 13 people to sit on the agency's Board of Directors along with the CEO and Deputy Minister. The Board will answer to the Ministry of Health, and will be responsible for implementing Santé Québec's strategic plan. Once again, it is not essential for Board members to have knowledge of the healthcare network in order to fit the job profile.
The call for applications is open to anyone with, for example, skills in "real estate management, information resource management, financial management and accounting, law, human resources management, labour relations and organizational development".
The Chairman of the Board will be responsible for evaluating the performance of Santé Québec's CEO on an annual basis. This is a delicate mandate, since the CEO will also sit on the Board of Directors, and will therefore be involved in the selection of its Chairman.
Santé Québec's CEO will be selected in the spring. Their term will be five years, and that of the Board of Directors four years.