08/25/2013 15:59 EDT | Updated 10/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Quebec midwives say their on-call compensation is an 'insult'

An association representing Quebec midwives says it's far from reaching an agreement with the government, despite a recent negotiation blitz.

"The salary midwives receive with their on-call time is an insult to the profession," says Claudia Faille, president of the professional association of midwives in Quebec.

The sticking point in the negotiations is on-call pay, which Faille says is lower than for other health professions.

"We have no premium for working unfavourable hours. Everybody in the health system gets premiums [for] the work they do at night, during the evening and during the weekends."

She says midwives need to work on-call to maintain their relationships with mothers — one midwife usually stays with the same woman throughout her pregnancy.

Plans for new birthing centre in Montreal

Last week, the province announced plans for a new birthing centre for midwives in Montreal.

“The midwife approach is a global one: it aims to promote the bonds between a mother and her child,” said a statement released by the Jeanne-Mance health and social services centre.

But Faille says the government needs to do more to show its support.

“A birth with a midwife costs [the government] a thousand dollars, and a birth with a doctor in a hospital with no complication or intervention costs them 3,000 dollars,” Faille says.

“The government is interested in developing the profession, but at the same time they’re not willing to recognize the continuity that [allows] midwives…to obtain such great results.”

The government was not available for comment.