VOLUME 10 No. 2 | JANUARY 30, 2020

No to the government's proposals!

In simultaneous meetings held last week at the Centre des congrès in Québec City, union delegates from the APTS and the FIQ voted unanimously to reject the government’s proposals at the intersectoral bargaining table for public-sector contract talks to renew the collective agreements of the 131,000 members they represent. The 850 union delegates for the APTS-FIQ alliance concluded their respective meetings with a joint demonstration on Parliament Hill. The presidents of the two unions symbolically fed the government’s contract proposals through a shredder in front of the National Assembly.

The APTS General Council also rejected the government’s proposals in response to our sectoral demands. For details, visit the negoapts.com web page.

What we expect from the new budget

On January 24, the APTS submitted a brief for the pre-budget consultations held by the finance minister. The brief clearly demonstrates that the government has enough latitude in its budget to fund public services better, notably by improving working conditions for employees and investing in social services. To find out more about our eight recommendations, see our compelling brief.

Reforming our electoral system

In the context of the parliamentary committee on Bill 39, An Act to establish a new electoral system, the Coalition pour la réforme électorale maintenant! has invited the government and the various political parties to work together to significantly improve the bill that was tabled. The APTS is one of the 45 organizations comprising the coalition to reform the electoral system. The coalition’s press release is available on our website.

Pension reduction for early retirement

On July 1, 2020, the rate for calculating the reduction of retirees’ immediate pension will rise from 4% to 6% per year of early retirement. This change will only apply to those who take early retirement before meeting any of the three criteria for an unreduced RREGOP pension. Since July 1, 2019, in order to meet the eligibility criteria for an unreduced pension, you must be 61 years old or have 35 years of service for eligibility purposes, or you must be 60 years old and have at least 30 years of such service. This change won’t affect you if you meet one of the three criteria when applying for retirement.

Those who had a phased retirement agreement in place before September 7, 2016 benefit from a transitional provision and are not affected by these changes. For more details, please consult the Retraite Québec website.

Feminists with all our might

That’s the theme this year for International Women’s Rights Day, featuring the launch of the World March of Women that will culminate in a major rally in Terrebonne on October 17. We invite you to broadcast your feminist commitment to equality and justice for all women by sharing the March 8th visuals on your social media networks. These visuals are available on our website.

Ordered to pay disability insurance

An employer was rebuked by an arbitrator for refusing to pay disability insurance benefits to an employee who had presented a doctor’s note requiring her to stop work due to a diagnosed adjustment disorder. Not only did the employer prevent the employee from receiving benefits, he also ordered her to report to work. The collective agreement is nonetheless clear: in presenting supporting documents, the employee is entitled to benefits even if the employer disagrees. Only a medical arbitrator can decide between medical opinions and rule on whether an employee has a disability. If no disability is determined, the employee has to reimburse the amounts received as benefits.

Access to prevention and safety measures for all workers

Just as the labour minister was announcing plans to modernize Québec’s system of occupational health and safety, a study by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) highlighted the need for all workers to be covered by certain prevention and safety provisions in the Act respecting occupational health and safety (e.g., provisions involving the creation of health and safety committees, the appointment of safety representatives and the implementation of prevention programs and health programs in the workplace), as only those in so-called “priority groups” have been covered until now. Three out of four workers in Québec don’t have access. And given the composition of the non-priority groups (Groups IV, V and VI in the Act), women make up 85% of the excluded workforce.

The study also shows that Groups IV, V, and VI are proportionally just as affected as Groups I, II and III by work-related musculoskeletal disorders due to non-traumatic factors – if not more.

Suicide prevention week

The Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS) will hold its annual suicide prevention campaign from February 2 to 8, 2020, under the theme Talking about suicide saves lives. The AQPS provides the public with comprehensive tools to raise awareness about the importance of speaking out and seeking help to prevent suicide.