Work climate undermined by costly floods

News 27 March, 2018
  • Photo archive, agency qm
    On may 8, 2017, two volunteers were walking with water up to the waist on the rue Jean-Yves, L’île-Bizard, in the west of Montreal.

    Nicolas Lachance

    Tuesday, 27 march 2018, 00:00

    Tuesday, 27 march 2018, 00:00

    Look at this article

    Burnout professional, resignations and dismissals : the ministry of public Security (MSP) was not ready to face the natural disasters that have cost a record $ 158 million in compensation for the last year.

    The outbreak of the claims of Quebec to be the result of multiple landslides and floods eroded the climate of work in the Direction of the restoration of the MSP.

    From June to December 2017, not less than 19 employees have resigned in this department, and 7 others have been laid off.

    “The numbers don’t lie,” admits Olivier Cantin, spokesperson for the department of public Safety.

    It is an explosion of departures unusual. A single employee had handed in his resignation in the 30 months preceding this crisis.

    However, this department has managed other disasters like the explosion in downtown Lac-Mégantic, the flooding in the Montérégie region, and forest fires to the north of the province.

    “It was ready ? No, ” believes the chairman of the public service Union (SPGQ), Richard Perron.


    The MSP acknowledges that the floods are exceptional that struck southern Quebec in the spring of 2017 have upset the troops. Same thing for landslide records, which stared the territory of quebec.

    Last year, the government paid a record amount of $ 158 million in disaster.

    The employees have had to deal with over 6100 records, financial assistance, only with the spring flood.

    The employees have had to redouble their efforts and work during long hours.

    “The workload is significant, requires travel and the performance of overtime regularly to perform in the evening and weekends “, said Mr. Cantin.

    Thus, the work climate has deteriorated rapidly, to the point that many have decided to leave the ship. “It is a personal decision, the reasons for a resignation are not always mentioned “, however, has pointed to the MSP.

    Diagnosis claimed

    According to the union, the MSP knew that the numbers were below the needs. “There was a lack of advisors in the operations on the ground,” he argued, which could adversely affect services for citizens.

    At the height of the crisis, 112 casual employees were hired to assist the team in place to respond to urgent needs. “They have even taken the means to get by. They have engaged in disaster, ” said Mr. Perron.

    A department such as that of the recovery must be able to count on professionals who have a strong expertise, he argues.

    An application of organizational diagnosis has been claimed by the union.

    – With the collaboration of Marie-Christine Trottier

    $ 560 Million paid to the affected people of Quebec in eight years

    The costs linked to natural and human disasters has exceeded the half-billion dollars in disaster assistance for eight years.

    Only between April 2017 and march 2018, the government has provided$ 158 Million to disaster victims in quebec due to the historic floods of spring and landslides, multiple caused by the torrential rains.

    A never-before-seen, especially at the beginning of the millennium, the program paid on average$ 7 Million per year. Since 2009, the compensation reached$560 Million.

    Citizens, businesses, cities, and the MRC are eligible.

    The floods that have devastated areas of the Outaouais region, the metropolitan region of Montreal, Montérégie, Mauricie, Gaspésie and Côte-Nord, in 2017, and those of the City of Quebec, in early 2018, seem to have taken the government to court.


    Due to climate change, the flood zones were expanded.

    Places who needed to know flood every 100 years are now at risk to taste it for 20 years, point out experts that have launched the alarm signal there are already a number of years.

    The experts are unanimous : the compensation amounts will continue to increase rapidly if the money is not invested in prevention and if urban development continues in places at risk.

    Thus, to prevent other disasters, Quebec has indicated that it will invest$ 20.5 Million to map flood-prone areas for many regions of Québec.

    A fight to the finish

    This investment is “a step in the right direction,” says the director general of Ouranos Alain Bourque.

    But what to do then with these cards ? “This is the biggest challenge,” he says. It is a struggle between ensuring a territorial development that is least in regions at risk and make the changes as quickly as possible. At the same time, the climate continues to change, with extreme events that [are] more frequent[s]. Then, who will win ? This is not clear. “

    Isabelle Thomas, professor of urban planning at the University of Montreal, also argues that adaptation measures are essential ” to minimize costs and improve spatial planning as well as the safety of persons “.

    Record compensation this year in Quebec

    Amount paid by fiscal year within the framework of the assistance programs in the wake of a disaster

    • April 2017 to march 2018 : $158 Million
    • 2016-2017 : $20 Million
    • 2015-2016 : $28 Million
    • 2014 : $57 Million
    • 2013 : $88 Million
    • 2012 : $54 Million
    • 2011 : $71 Million
    • 2010 : $17.2 Million
    • 2009 : 28.5 M$

    (Data : request access to the information 2014 and 2018)