VOLUME 10 No. 6 | SEPTEMBER 22, 2020

Carrying the system on our shoulders

On Tuesday, September 15, the APTS-FIQ alliance carried out a symbolic action in front of the National Assembly. The goal was to express impatience with the government, which does not appear to realize how urgent the situation is. APTS and FIQ presidents are describing as unacceptable the government’s offer of a 5% increase over three years, at a time when their members, more than ever, are carrying the full weight of the health and social services system on their shoulders. The symbolic action can be seen in a video clip that includes drone footage.

Towards a better parental insurance plan

On September 17, the APTS appeared before the parliamentary committee studying Bill 51, a bill to modify the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP). We took this opportunity to say that we support any change that will improve family-work balance – a balance that is absolutely necessary to ensure our children’s well-being and development. For this reason, the APTS proposes increasing paternity leave to ten weeks with the basic benefit plan, and six weeks with the special plan. To encourage co-parenting and the involvement of the other parent, there should be no reduction in weeks of shareable parental leave.

In its advisory opinion, the APTS argues that enhancing the QPIP will play an important part in improving employee attraction and retention, especially in the health and social services system where labour shortages are widespread.

Stars of the healthcare system

Revue Santé, an online magazine published by the Caisse Desjardins du Réseau de la santé, presents projects that were singled out when the healthcare system’s Prix Stars were awarded last June. Congratulations to the APTS teams that were among the winners in two categories: projects that focus on the human aspect of care, and innovative projects.

Removal of discriminatory forms

An arbitrator ruled in favour of the APTS in ordering an employer to immediately stop requiring employees to declare COVID-19 symptoms on a collective form posted at the entrance of a department. While management has the right to collect this information in order to fulfill its obligations in terms of pandemic prevention and occupational health and safety, it is also required to protect employees’ right to privacy. In this case, the data collection method made every employee’s information available to coworkers.

Victory against privatization in BC

Good news for the public health and social services system in British Columbia! The BC Supreme Court (equivalent to Québec’s Superior Court) has ruled against a physician who was demanding the right to provide care as part of a private system parallel to the public healthcare system. The lawsuit was a significant attack against the public healthcare system in BC. Fortunately, the judgement acknowledges the importance of a strong public healthcare system. As we battle the pandemic, it is crucially important to focus on social justice and the common good.

Doubling down against social inequality

A number of organizations are pointing out that recovery can’t mean just going back to normal – we have to lay the foundations of a greener and more just society. We refuse to keep bearing the brunt of budget cuts and underinvestment in our public services. What we need to do is to strengthen the social safety net.

The APTS is a member of Coalition Main rouge, an organization bringing together one hundred labour, feminist, community, student, and grass-roots organizations. The Coalition has published a letter (in French) proposing various taxation alternatives that we can call for immediately in order to take a step in this direction.