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To prevent the mass withdrawal of dentists from the public dental care regime: the ACDQ invites Premier Couillard to end the Minister of Health's inertia


To prevent the mass withdrawal of dentists from the public dental care regime: the ACDQ invites Premier Couillard to end the Minister of Health's inertia

Canada NewsWire

MONTRÉAL, July 24, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - Particularly concerned by Minister Gaétan Barrette's misinformation and provocations during the negotiation of the public dental care regime, Dr. Serge Langlois, president of the Association des chirurgiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ), addressed Premier Philippe Couillard directly to set the record straight and ask him to respond to the multiple compromises made by dentists. He is seeking to move negotiations out of the standstill caused by the Minister of Health and Social Services before it is too late to prevent the mass withdrawal of dentists from the regime.

"You can, if you wish, still prevent this move, which will have significant consequences for the most vulnerable members of our society. All you need to do is act. Not through the brute force of repression, or through the threats and intimidation that Mr. Barrette seems to favour, but through keeping your word, respecting dentists' skills and making proposals that respond to the compromises that we have made, over and over again, at the negotiating table," stated the president of the ACDQ in a letter to the Premier.

Today, the Association published a table enumerating the fallacious statements made by the Minister of Health and Social Services and countering each point with the truth.

"To hear Minister Barrette speak, his ministry is negotiating in good faith, with diligence, making reasonable offers, and it is the dentists who won't budge," stated Dr. Serge Langlois. He also noted that the ACDQ tabled its demands more than 14 months ago, with the quality of oral and dental care for beneficiaries being the primary concern.

The MSSS waited 10 months to respond. At that point, it proposed setbacks in all areas, going back on remuneration principles established through repeated negotiations, including the recognition of operating expenses for dentists' offices, and going back on the word of the State without any justification.

"Despite multiple compromises on our end, we keep running up against a wall of inertia and intransigence. Other than an insulting financial proposal that would reduce dentists' remuneration by 12% at the end of the agreement in 2020, we have not received any counter-offers at all and the MSSS has not compromised in the least," continued Dr. Langlois.

The public dental care regime covers children under the age of 10 and people on last-resort financial assistance programs—more than 620,000 people in total.

"Given the experience we had in 2008 when you were the Minister of Health, wherein we reached an agreement based on mutual respect, I don't need to remind you that negotiations require two parties. Both parties need to make progress, and all rules need to be based on trust and respect. None of this is true of our current negotiations, so our members are regretfully preparing to file our notice of non-participation in the public dental care regime," concluded the president of the ACDQ, as he invited Premier Couillard to see sense and restore sense to this matter now that he has the facts.

About the ACDQ
The mission of the Association des chirurgiens dentistes du Québec, which was formed in 1966 under the Professional Syndicates Act, is to study, defend and develop the professional, economic and social interests of its members. It also strives to gain recognition for its members' expertise, contribute to their training, defend the value and importance of their services, negotiate all necessary agreements on their behalf, and support research, social action, and humanitarian activities.


Last week, in an attempt to divert attention from his intransigence and inertia in his negotiations with dentists, Minister Gaétan Barrette made several patently false statements. The Association des Chirurgiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ) feels obligated to correct the false claims made, particularly during the Minister's interview on 98.5 FM's Bernard Drainville show.


Misinformation from Gaétan Barrette


I can't stand seeing vulnerable people being held hostage: children, people on social assistance, seniors.

Minister Barrette's demagogy—or perhaps his ignorance—knows no bounds. Seniors are not covered by the public regime.

It is very clear that my primary concern is the citizens, the children, the seniors of Quebec.

He is so concerned that when the MSSS received dentists' demands on May 23, 2017, it took them nearly one year to respond (March 21, 2018) at all—and the response was full of setbacks.

The ACDQ is criticizing us for changing negotiators, when they were the ones requesting the change.

The ACDQ did not ask for anything other than for negotiations to not be interrupted. The MSSS replaced their negotiator because he went on vacation.

Generally speaking, it is the professional association that makes demands.

Normally, yes. In this case, however, the MSSS has made 17 demands and proposed multiple setbacks on the agreements made.

I said to Serge, because I know him well, "make your final demands, because they've changed over time."

Our dentists' demands have been known for 14 months. They have "changed" because the ACDQ has made many concessions. We find it surprising that he is criticising us for that.

It is a standard negotiation tactic: election time comes, and they (the government) will fold.

This is a diversion—the ACDQ has been ready to negotiate since May 2017, but the MSSS took 10 months to "respond."

Misinformation from Gaétan Barrette


The dentists called us to meet on Friday. They said nothing and left.

The ACDQ responded to the MSSS's invitation to return to the table. The meeting lasted two hours and a document was filed in which the ACDQ agreed to withdraw eight more demands (this unfortunately includes a demand involving remote examinations and consultations, which would have improved access to care in remote regions). It was the MSSS that remained unyielding and refused to negotiate, despite the ACDQ's advances. In fact, after stalling for nearly a year, the MSSS has not budged on anything.


Gaétan Barrette's untruths aren't only fooling Quebecers. They are also misleading Premier Couillard.

It is imperative that he remain aware of the facts. He needs to intervene to preserve dental care for children under the age of 10 and citizens receiving last-resort financial assistance. These people are too vulnerable for their fate to be left in the hands of Gaétan Barrette.


SOURCE Association des chirurgiens dentistes du Québec (ACDQ)

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