The government of Quebec announced it will pay close to CA$5.2 million (approx. £3 million) to religious communities in the province so that they can offer bonuses to members of their staff who work in their infirmaries.
Marguerite Blais, Quebec’s minister responsible for seniors and caregivers, announced on 8th June the financial assistance “will be provided to these communities on an emergency basis”. She added the bonuses would be retroactive to 13th March 2020.
The announcement came after Sr Celine Dupuis, co-provincial of the Sisters of Saint Anne, said six of their nuns had died of Covid-19 in Lachine, Quebec; this was five more deaths than what the official government data shows.
In Trois-Rivieres, halfway between Montreal and Quebec, seven Ursuline sisters have died of Covid-19. Other orders also have been affected.
“It’s a lot in a short time,” said Sr Cecile Dionne, superior general of the Canadian Union of the Ursulines. “It is a difficult context, which we share with all our brothers and sisters in humanity. All families experience it. For some, it is their father, their grandmother. For us, it’s our sisters.”
Marjaurie Cote-Boileau of the seniors and caregivers ministry noted the money would “not go directly to religious communities, but to their caregivers”.
Picture: The motherhouse of the sisters of Saint Anne in Lachine, Quebec, is featured in this 2019 photo. It’s been reported that six sisters of Saint Anne and six Ursulines from Trois-Rivieres have died of Covid-19 so far in 2020. (CNS photo/Francois Gloutnay, Presence).