07/15/2020 15:55 EDT | Updated 07/15/2020 15:56 EDT

Feds Bungle Student Job Ad For Work In Quebec Care Homes

COVID-19 cases have been rising in the province among young people.

Christinne Muschi / Reuters
A volunteer cleans his hands as he enters a tent in a mobile hospital set up in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross in the Jacques-Lemaire Arena to help care for patients with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from long-term centres (CHSLDs), in Montreal on April 26, 2020. 

OTTAWA — The federal government is changing a job posting for students interested in working in Quebec long-term care homes that originally stipulated they “may be required to go to multiple sites as needed.”

Canadian Red Cross partnered with the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) to use its Federal Student Work Experience Program database to recruit students for summer jobs.

“All partners in this endeavour are committed to following the advice of public health professionals in the province,” the PSC told HuffPost Canada in a statement Wednesday.

“We have been in contact with the (Canadian Red Cross) and have agreed to change the statement on the job posting regarding personnel working in multiple sites as this can be misinterpreted by the applicant.”

Watch: Quebec makes masks mandatory indoors. Story continues below video.


Outbreaks of the novel coronavirus have devastated long-term care homes in Quebec. The disease spread in care facilities partly due to economic circumstances that encouraged employees to work in multiple homes

More than half of the province’s 5,633 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in care facilities as of Wednesday.

An email obtained by HuffPost shows students registered in the program were sent the job ad on July 6. It alerted students to work in support aide and administration opportunities with the Canadian Red Cross, with a condition they might have to work in different facilities. 

“The workplace will be assigned according to your availability at the locations listed,” it read. “Please note that you may be required to go to multiple sites as needed.”

A recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases, driven by community transmission among young people, has renewed concerns about a resurgence of the disease in Quebec.

ERIC THOMAS via Getty Images
An employee of the Montreal metro offers free masks to traveller who don't have one with them at the Lionel Groulx station on July 13, 2020 as face coverings and masks become compulsory in all public transports in the Quebec province in Montreal.

Canadian Red Cross spokesperson Leianne Musselman said the charitable organization is working with the federal and Quebec government to recruit people to work in long-term care homes as “a temporary support measure.” 

The organization is seeking to hire 1,000 people to work in four-week rotations.

Musselman clarified that Canadian Red Cross workers hired to help in long-term care homes will work in one facility at a time, contrary to what the government had stipulated. 

“The Red Cross assigns a team of personnel to a site and that team does not work at any other facility during their deployment,” she said about its safety protocols.

“Upon completion of deployment, the team will undergo the required testing and quarantine period before being deployed to another facility.”

As of Wednesday, more than 108,400 people have tested positive for the disease since the onset of the pandemic in Canada. Nearly 8,800 have died related to COVID-19.

In recent weeks, provinces and territories have been relaxing physical distancing restrictions that were put in place in March in order to stimulate consumer spending after the first pandemic wave.

Christinne Muschi / Reuters
Patrons look at a menu at a restaurant on the first day after novel coronavirus restrictions were lifted to visit restaurants in Montreal on June 22, 2020.

Taking precautions to avoid another devastating wave of cases, Quebec became the first province on Tuesday to make wearing masks mandatory indoors. 

Premier Francois Legault said the announcement was timed before the province’s two-week construction holiday, starting on the second-last Sunday in July. 

Quebecers traditionally travel around the province with their families for their breaks.

He asked people to look at the big picture, explaining how it’s easier to wear a mask than to experience widespread physical-distancing measures again.  

“It’s not fun to wear a mask, but it’s essential to avoid going backwards.”