03/07/2013 04:06 EST | Updated 05/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Veterans' hospital workers fear effects of transfer

The employees of the federally-run veterans’ hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue protested this afternoon against what they feel is a lack of consultation.

The federal government has, for years, spoken about transferring the hospital to the province.

It’s finally scheduled to happen on Sept. 30.

Ste-Anne’s Hospital’s 650 unionized employees are concerned over what the transfer means for their jobs, salaries and benefits.

The Union of Veterans Employees has asked for a committee to determine the terms and conditions under which the hospital will be transferred.

The union also wants to ensure the continuity in care for the veterans now at the hospital.

As for the plan to admit civilian patients, Kim Coles, the national executive vice president of the union said, “We know, as we go along with the aging demographics, that it’s inevitable.”

“This is a first-class facility. We want it to continue on. And we’ve always recognized the need to open the doors to civilians,” she continued.

Minister of Veteran Affairs Steven Blaney's spokesman said in a statement that the government is also concerned over continuity of care — and that's why they're transferring the hospital to Quebec.

"Our government wants to transfer the hospital to the province of Quebec as soon as possible in order to preserve the quality of care provided to veterans, as well as to maintain jobs and to allow the province to make the more than 100 beds available to Montrealers," said Blaney's spokesman.

The demonstration was planned to coincide with a meeting of the federal and provincial governments to discuss the transfer in Quebec City.