Laval health workers fired over alleged mistreatment and harassment of patients

Nine employees of a Laval rehabilitation centre were fired Wednesday for the alleged mistreatment of patients with intellectual disabilities and autism.

They worked at the Louis-Vachon rehabilitation centre located on St-Martin Boulevard West.

It is alleged the employees exhibited violent behaviour and harassed both patients and colleagues in the workplace.

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The CISSS de Laval, the regional health authority which manages the facility, says on its website the centre’s mandate is to provide rehabilitation and social participation services to people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. It also provides a transitional living environment for clients with serious behavioural issues.

While the centre mainly caters to adults, some patients treated at the facility are minors.

A police investigation was launched in January after a whistleblower came forward about the allegations. The regional health authority’s human resources department also conducted its own internal investigation.

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Anyone having used the centre’s services and or who came into contact with the fired personnel are being considered as potential victims.

Following the dismissals, the CISSS de Laval says it has implemented an action plan to overhaul clinical practices and the personalized intervention plans for each patient.

Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann applauded management’s decision to fire the workers. She called it a clear message that mistreatment and harassment are extremely serious and unacceptable behaviours.

— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier