A team of Langlois Lawyers successfully represented the Association des gestionnaires des établissements de santé et de services sociaux [association of managers of healthcare and social services institutions] (“AGESSS”) in connection with a motion for declaratory judgment by the Quebec Superior Court contesting the validity of the Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting certain terms of employment applicable to officers of agencies and health and social services institutions (the “Regulation”) and seeking to have it declared null and of no effect. The Regulation, which modified the terms of employment of managers in the health and social services network, was adopted by ministerial decree on March 23, 2015, just days before the coming into force, on April 1, 2015, of the Act to Modify the Organization and Governance of the Health and Social Services Network, in particular by Abolishing the Regional Agencies (“Bill 10”), which was aimed at reorganizing the healthcare system, in particular by abolishing all management positions as of March 31, 2015.
The political and legal stakes and issues associated with this legislative and regulatory action were very considerable, but no association of managers had in the past ever challenged such initiatives. AGESSS therefore had to find a law firm to represent it that was not only well-versed in governmental affairs in Quebec, but had solid expertise in the healthcare sector as well. Langlois Lawyers and its health-law team soon emerged as the obvious choice.
Not only did the Superior Court conclude that Bill 10 did not empower the health minister to adopt the Regulation pursuant to the Act respecting Health Services and Social Services and that the Regulation contravened Bill 10, it also noted that AGESSS had not been consulted before such drastic changes were made to its members’ employment conditions. The Court went on to confirm that the application of the Regulation respecting Certain Terms of Employment Applicable to Officers of Agencies and Health and Social Services Institutions was not optional, and that the managers represented by AGESSS had the constitutionally protected right of freedom of association, which includes the right to collective bargaining. The Regulation was accordingly declared null and of no force or effect.
This was an impressive victory for the Langlois team composed of Mélanie Sauriol, Paule Veilleux and Michel Jolin.