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Chronologies of Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

Chronology of the Notre-Dame Hospital

Internes’ Strike [1934]


For a full understanding of this issue, consult the collection of documents provided elsewhere at the site.

February 14, 1934 The Medical Council of Notre-Dame Hospital considers applications for the positions of internes (senior and junior) at the hospital for the coming year. All applications received from French Canadian candidates were accepted. As there was need for one more interne, Dr. Sam Rabinovitch was hired as senior interne. Dr. Rabinovitch had already spent one year at the hospital as a junior/student interne. Dr. Rabinovitch had graduated first of his class at the Université de Montréal.
Between February and June, 1934Notre-dame hospital receives three resignations from French Canadian internes-doctors who have been offered better salaries at other hospitals.
June 1 (?), 1934 A petition signed by the doctor and student internes of Notre-Dame Hospital is received by the Medical Board. The petition demands that the contract between the hospital and Dr. Sam Rabinovitch be broken. After "considerable deliberation" the Board decided to respect the signed contract. This resolution was sent to the Bureau of Administration. After further deliberations, the Bureau unanimously decided to abide by the contract. Sometime afterward, the Medical council sent a representative to meet with the internes and to convey the consequences from the hospital’s point of view.
June 14-15, 1934 (midnight)All the French Canadian internes of Notre-Dame Hospital go on strike to support their petition.
June 15, 1934 (11h.30) Meeting of the Medical Council to consider the issue. They decide to have the internes brought before them to urge them to reflect on the issue. The internes were to meet in two separate groups: the junior, under the authority of the Université de Montréal, and the senior, under the authority of the hospital. The internes refused to meet in two separate groups. The Medical Council refused to meet them as one group because they were not all under its authority. The authorities requested that the internes resign and issued a call for application to the new vacant positions.

Rumours circulate that the strike may spread to the internes of other hospitals.

June 16, 1934 (12h.00)The strike has now spread to four other hospitals: Hôpital Miséricorde, Sainte-Justine, Hôtel-Dieu and St. Jean-de-Dieu. An estimated 75 internes (senior and junior) are on strike. The internes of Sacred Heart Hospital, Ste. Jeanne D’Arc and Verdun hospitals refused to walk-out although they signed a petition of support of their colleagues at Notre-Dame. Doctors from the hospitals and practionners from around Montreal provide extra hours of work to ease the situation.
June 16, 1934The strikers, as a body, met with the authorities of Notre-Dame Hospital to demand the firing of Dr. Rabinovitch.
June 16-17, 1934New internes are hired and applications are received by the hospitals. Rumours circulate that some 200 nurses might walk-out in support of the strikers. Patients are reported to be leaving Notre-Dame hospital at a rate three times higher than is normal during a regular week-end.
June 18, 1934Dr. Sam Rabinovitch wrote his letter of resignation.
June 19, 1934The authorities of Notre-Dame Hospital meet for nearly four hours between 4h.00 and 8h.00 pm. They issued a three point statement.
June 19, 1934L’Illustration reports that last year there nearly was a strike at Notre-Dame Hospital by the internes over their low salaries.
June 19, 1934The internes from the five striking hospitals returned to work at 7h.30 p.m.
June 19, 1934Le Canada reports that it is under the influence and persistent urging of Dr. A. Rabinovitch that Sam Rabinovitch agreed to resign his position. On the other hand, representatives of the Jewish population of Montreal would have urged him not to resign.


© 1999 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College