Daughter of 90-year-old left without answers, says CLSC-referred house cleaner refuses to wear mask

·3 min read

A Montreal-area woman says an employee at a CLSC-referred cleaning company has consistently refused to wear a mask while cleaning her 90-year-old mother's home.

Gaby Morency says she's spent the past few months trying to speak with both the cleaning service, Coup de pouce des Moissons, and the CLSC Châteauguay about the policy concerning mask-wearing. But she's having a tough time getting answers.

The company has a service agreement with Quebec's health insurance board to provide partially reimbursable house cleaning.

"My biggest concern, of course, is for my mother, because I feel that it's like a time bomb. You just need one person to have been exposed," Morency said in an interview with CBC.

"This cleaning person sees multiple, multiple people in a day, multiple homes in a week or in a two-week period."

Morency says it was difficult to get answers from Coup de pouce des Moissons but when she finally got through to someone to complain, she was told wearing a mask was not mandatory.

"I was told the cleaners have many houses to clean and they are required to clean a place in two hours," she said. "She said the staff have to move quickly and wearing a mask would make them less efficient."

The company declined to give CBC an interview, instead sending an e-mail statement in which the president of the board said the wearing of masks by employees is indeed mandatory.

"We are conscious our clients are at risk, being elderly, and we require our employees to wear masks at all times," wrote Michèle Ladouceur.

"We have reiterated our policy on obligatory masks to all employees."

Ladouceur writes the company has received no complaint about masks not being worn.

Morency says her mother's cleaner consistently arrives at the house wearing a mask but removes it before entering the house.

Morency's mother has been using the cleaning service through her CLSC for years but it was suspended during the first wave of the pandemic.

When she restarted the service in August, she felt comfortable because she could sit outside while the cleaner was working. Now though, the cold has set in.

"What got me going was [Premier François] Legault's news conference a couple of weeks ago where he said, you know, everybody needs to cut back their contact by 25 per cent," her daughter said.

"The numbers are starting to go up again and we're going to extend the shutdown for another month but here is something that is obviously wrong and it's dangerous."

The regional health authority in charge of CLSC Châteauguay — the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSSS) de la Montérégie-Ouest — says while the company has a service agreement with the RAMQ, the cleaners must follow the directives issued by the local health authority. That includes an obligation to wear a mask while performing a service.

"The CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest also provides them with personal protective equipment as we do for all community organizations in our territory," communcations agent Jade St-Jean wrote in an e-mail response.

"Additional verifications will be carried out."