VOLUME 12 No. 7 | APRIL 4, 2022

Bill 28: a frontal attack on workers' rights

The APTS has no hesitation in saying that Bill 28 tabled by Minister Christian Dubé, An Act to terminate the public health emergency, is a straight-out denial of workers’ rights. In unilaterally giving himself the right to dictate the working conditions of people employed in health and social services, the minister is trampling on the Labour Code as well as the Canadian and Québec charters of rights.

“This is a frontal attack on the rights and working conditions of unionized workers. It’s that simple,” said APTS president Robert Comeau to the National Assembly Committee on Health and Social Services. “The bill allows the government to do with one hand what it’s no longer allowed to do with the other. Through a pathetic piece of trickery, the minister is in fact maintaining the public health emergency – but only for health and social services employees. That is utterly unacceptable.”

For more information, see our press release, our brief
(in French), and the video of what we said to the parliamentary committee.

Yes, COVID premiums should be maintained – but what about permanent solutions?

It took a sixth wave for the government finally to acknowledge what the APTS had been saying for weeks: given the current situation, and as long as we don’t have any long-lasting solutions, COVID premiums have to be maintained. And labour organizations are unanimous on one point: to ensure that transitional measures are fair, they have to be involved from the start. This is the only way to go if we want to restore the health and social services system as an employer of choice and to provide Quebecers with access to quality care and services.

For more information, see our press release.

Your membership matters to us!

Most of our union’s 65,000 members have filled out their membership form – thank you for doing that! If you haven’t yet done so, it won’t take you more than a minute – just click on the image opposite. And thank you for your cooperation, as always.

Health care reform: setting the right priorities

Unions representing employees in the health and social services system responded with both apprehension and a sense of urgency to Minister Christian Dubé’s “Plan to implement the changes needed in health care,” unveiled on March 29. Despite its praiseworthy objectives, labour organizations are worried that this excessively ambitious plan to reform health care will turn out to be no more than a giant public relations exercise intended to prepare for the next election. In order to ensure that Quebecers receive the care and services they deserve, the unions are asking the minister to give priority to measures that will improve conditions of practice and the organization of work.

For more information, see our press release.

A sorry 5th anniversary for OPTILAB

Labs are central to Québec’s hospital system: they provide the data on which 85% of diagnoses are based. And yet, this crucial link in the health and social services chain has been battered over the past 5 years by the implementation of the OPTILAB system, intended to centralize the management of labs, but whose chief impact has been to intensify the shortage of graduate employees and to increase work overload. As the Legault government merrily rides the decentralization wave – theoretically, at least, or in public – it’s hard to explain why the opposite remedy is served up to public labs. Unless, of course, it’s a matter of helping the private sector increase its profits at taxpayers’ expense. APTS members working in labs highlighted this inconsistency last week by demonstrating in front of the CHUM research centre.

For more information, see our press release, our report on labs (in French), and this Monday’s article in the Journal de Montréal.

Big data

Did you know that the health and social services sector is one of the biggest contributors to the development of artificial intelligence (AI)? The explanation is simple: it’s a sector that produces a lot of “big data,” the fuel used by this branch of new technologies. The third factsheet in our “AI in Focus” series will tell you all about big data, in health and other sectors, and explain why it’s viewed as a priceless 21st-century resource.

If you missed our first two factsheets on key AI concepts, you can find them here:

FACTSHEET No. 1 Meet your new coworker: artificial intelligence

FACTSHEET No. 2 What is artificial intelligence?


Advisory committee on a continuum of care and services for seniors

We filed a brief on setting up independent living insurance in 2013; we participated in the forum on best practices in CHSLDs; we appeared before the coroner investigating deaths in CHSLDs. The APTS has taken every opportunity to advocate for a continuum of care and services for seniors, with an emphasis on quality and dignity. It has consistently argued that we need strong front-line services, provided by the public system, and based on prevention and home support. As Quebecers get older and their needs increase, Minister Dubé’s health care reform plan is promising a shift towards home care. The advisory committee on a continuum of care and services for seniors, which held its first meeting on March 23, will act as a watchdog on this issue, and one of its major concerns, of course, will be to ensure that the work of APTS members in this context is given the recognition it deserves. Stay tuned for future developments.

Olive, or the slippery slope to Uberized health care

Last January, a sponsored article in La Presse told us that a “virtual health care clinic” known as Olive was being deployed in Québec. Olive is a mobile app promising users they can talk to a health care professional within a few minutes, provided they pay.

As part of its information kit on privatization, the APTS describes this umpteenth version of the platform economy model and its impact on universal health care and its accessibility.

Checking your seniority information on the list

Over the next few days, your employer is required to post a list indicating the seniority accumulated on March 31, 2022, by all employees covered by the APTS collective agreement. Under clauses 13.11 and following of our national provisions, the employer must also indicate the seniority credited to employees on the previous year’s list.

It’s very important to check the seniority you’ve accumulated during the period ending with the posting of the official list. If you find an error in the new list and want to contest it, you need to file a grievance during the posting period; we recommend that you quickly get in touch with your local executive or your union counsellor if that is the case.

Increasing your health insurance coverage?

As of April 1, 2022, if you’re covered by a basic or intermediate health insurance plan and would like to move to the intermediate or superior plan, you can do so starting with the pay period following the date you send your request to your employer. In other words, you no longer have to wait until January 1 or July 1 to make this change.

If you requested an increase in your health insurance coverage before April 1, it will come into effect on July 1. If you’d like it to be effective as of your next pay period, you can write to your employer to make this request.

WEBINAR | Making sense of the RREGOP and pension benefits

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or just about to retire, our information meeting on the RREGOP will give you the tools you need to optimize your participation in your pension plan.

Two sessions, one in English and one in French, are scheduled as follows:

April 21, from 12 to 2 p.m., in FRENCH SIGN UP 

May 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in ENGLISH  SIGN UP 

Call for photos

On days when the health and social services system highlights your job, the APTS wants to focus on the value of your work. Step into the spotlight by sending us portrait-style photos of you or your coworkers, or photos taken on the job. All job titles are welcome, but right now we’re specifically looking for photos of the following:

  • animal health technician
  • care assessment specialist
  • clinical activities specialist
  • electrodynamics technician
  • human relations officer
  • lawyer
  • medical illustrator or photographer
  • orthotics-prosthetics technician
  • planning, programming and research officer
  • remedial learning specialist
  • social research technician

If you like the idea, please send us your pictures at info@aptsq.com no later than May 20.

Thank you!