At the first MRC Pontiac council of mayors meeting since the elections, a petition was introduced to request that obstetrics services return to the Pontiac Hospital. The petition was put forward by Beryl Smart of the Pontiac Women’s Institute. The petition was distributed to all 18 municipal offices and signatures will be collected for approximately five weeks, according to Pontiac Warden Jane Toller.
The petition’s wording is as follows:
Considering that the obstetrics department at the Pontiac Hospital in Shawville has been closed for almost two years;
Considering that Pontiac mothers have to travel a great distance to Gatineau QC or Pembroke Ont., to give birth to their babies, placing them in potentially dangerous situations;
Considering that the Pontiac Community Hospital is a high quality care environment appreciated by citizens;
Considering that one of the government’s stated objectives is to repatriate more health care services to Quebec;
We, the undersigned, ask the government of Quebec:
That measures be put in place to relaunch the obstetrics service in Shawville as quickly as possible and allow all Pontiac women to give birth to their newborns at their community hospital.
The closure of the obstetrics department at the Pontiac Hospital was announced entirely in French in a hastily called press-conference on February 21, 2020. At the time, CISSSO Director General Josée Filion said that the closure would be temporary and last until September of that year. The reason for the closure was due to a lack of nursing staff.
The Women’s Institute is an organization that was founded in 1897, and has advocated for numerous causes, from the pasteurization of milk to road safety. Toller concluded by thanking Smart and the Women’s Institute members in attendance.