Pandemic management: what assessment in Quebec?


We expected this, right? Two years later, nearly every day, the pandemic is waning. Almost. Like the rest of the planet, the sanitation measures imposed by government officials especially played a yo-yo with our mental health and divided the population more than ever before. A look at the management of the Covid-19 crisis in La Belle State.

It’s hard to give a grade to the “performance” of the pandemic management, it’s so enormous. What are we actually measuring? Access to rapid tests, vaccination rate, the situation in hospitals, management of CHSLDs, ventilation in schools and more? If we ONLY focus on communication, the government gets a good grade. What you need to remember in times of crisis is that information moves fast and changes just as abruptly. Once we make a decision based on available data and communicate it, there will be time for the information to mutate (like a virus! too early?) and will no longer be valid. Hence a lot of variation in decision making. And this applies to all organisations. Imagine when you had to manage a population of over 8 million people! “There have been more difficult situations if we look at the old people’s hostels or the hospitals, but I think everyone is Mr. legal and the Public Health team have done a remarkable job of communicating the message.” Maxime Couturepublic relations consultant at Catapult.

Professor and crisis management specialist at UQAM, Yannick Hemond It is also of the opinion that the information conveyed to the population is also effective. What he regrets is not having a continuous learning process, that is, a team committed to learning from every wave. It shows us that we are used to managing “shocks”. What does shock mean? For example flood, earthquake, landslide. These are events that do not last very long in time. In the event of a shock event, the situation is stabilized, then lessons are learned to drive learning processes. However, this time we are experiencing a crisis of this magnitude for the first time in more than 2 years. And probably more, says the expert. The pandemic is not a shock and our usual processes are not geared towards learning along the way. Therefore, a team dedicated to the learning process was required for all actions. “It couldn’t have been perfect,” says the professor. It was a first for everyone.”

Should we listen to other experts? “Of course we could have had more experts around a table, but then everybody claims it’s the other way around. In a crisis like Covid-19, I think the number one decision is to survive. Yes, it will have a huge cost to people’s mental health, economic health, and schools. In the end, there will be decisions to be taken, but first of all, we had to focus on a common goal, namely protecting the physical health of the people, and I think that the decisions were taken in this sense.” states Maxime Couture. But the public relations expert believes the government is considering Quebec sports federations. “I think there was a lot of people being heard and consulted about the resumption of sporting activities.”

I’Quebec Civil Security Organization (OSCQ) It is a mechanism that was not activated during the pandemic. Yannick Hemond. As a government body responsible for civil security at the national level and for coordinating actions by each government agency and agency, government is dedicated to risk management and disaster response. When this mechanism is enabled, various specializations are consulted. According to the professor, since it has not been formally mobilized, we have not been able to follow the basic principle of the multidisciplinary approach – which we have to defend. “When we examine a crisis unit, he points out that there should be as many people as possible around the table. In the stagnation of the summer, we could learn from this and have a multi-disciplinary team, listen to what people want, and not just approach it from a political point of view. He adds: “Management has focused solely on maintaining the capacity of the health system. We listened to public health science and epidemiologists, but we forgot to listen to people in education, people in mental health, people in the economy, people in the cultural environment. Behind each of these areas is a whole science that we don’t listen to.

What about the government’s directives? Maxime Couture It is of the view that there is no lack of consistency on the part of the Government. “I think that when the government makes a decision, if it realizes it’s not going in the right direction, it would welcome it to change direction. I would be more afraid of a government that doesn’t conform to reality, she shares. Could the government have acted faster? Answer Yes. Could he have made better decisions? Yup. Did he do his best with this information when he had to make a decision? The answer is yes, absolutely.”

While decisions may seem like they were made by trial and error, the speed and complexity of the crisis means we have no choice but to make decisions. “And this decision, by definition, is flawed but necessary,” he says. Yannick Hemond. According to the expert, what was lacking in management was the lack of expectation reflected in the consistency. “Over time, the lack of anticipation and a little more thoughtful decision began to play on consistency creating a yo-yo effect.”