Mr. Chair, I want to thank all of our witnesses.
Mr. Lafrance, although the sponsor of the bill decided to withdraw clauses 6 and 7, it seems really relevant that our committee first determine what preventive withdrawal is, before we even support consultations. You pointed out that this program has been in existence in Quebec for 36 years, and that your organization has acquired a certain expertise in the matter.
This is my perspective: it is important that we establish that preventive withdrawal is not maternity leave, and that it is the working conditions that present a risk and not the pregnancy itself.
Your testimony reminded me, as someone who in fact benefited from preventive withdrawal, that I had a physician who dealt specifically with my pregnancy. However, the physician at the health centre who evaluated my condition and recommended preventive withdrawal did not provide care during my pregnancy.
You also provided important information about the fact that the employment insurance plan is not the proper vehicle for this program. We know that in Quebec preventive withdrawal leave is funded by employer contributions to the CNESST, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. We often tend to forget that since the beginning of the 1990s, the federal government no longer contributes to the employment insurance fund. That fund is a vehicle employers and employees have given themselves through their contributions to deal with job loss. This is also an area of provincial jurisdiction.
This leads me to my first question. We know that in Quebec there is a program known as Pour une maternité sans danger, the safe motherhood program. However, I would like you to explain, for the benefit of my colleagues especially, how the Quebec pregnant workers' preventive withdrawal program works.