NOVEMBER 6, 2020 | No. 10

A tougher stance

We’ve taken a tougher stance with the government in recent days, in talks to renew our collective agreements. Our protest in front of the Treasury Board Secretariat’s office in Québec City, calling for real offers – Reprenez vos pinottes, on exige de vraies offres! – and the various demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary since we tabled our union demands and calling on the government to quit playacting all sent a clear message to the Legault government and the head of the Treasury Board, Sonia Lebel: APTS members are fed up with being ridiculed in these contract talks.

We are not launching this new phase lightly. You are crucial in fighting the pandemic, and we know that all your time and energy is focused on providing care and services for Quebeckers.

A few words from your president, Andrée Poirier

We would have preferred to hold fruitful discussions with the Treasury Board Secretariat and tackle key issues like work overload, working conditions, and measures to attract and retain personnel in public health and social services, which are central to our demands.

Instead of giving you the consideration you deserve, the government is disregarding our legitimate demands on salary and working conditions.

On Monday, the Legault government got its deputy minister for health and social services, Lionel Carmant, to announce new funds to help weather the mental health crisis. In the same breath, the deputy minister again announced that the government would turn to the private sector to bridge gaps in public health and social services.

It’s galling to see history repeat itself, in each successive crisis and each successive round of public-sector bargaining. It’s galling to see the Treasury Board still give our demands short shrift more than a year after we tabled them.

It’s even more galling that after all our efforts to define priorities in our demands, the government and its press secretary, Sonia Lebel, keep harping about how we still haven’t done enough.

The government’s refusal to consider a reasonable number of demands, when it’s clearly able to develop multiple programs and draw on hundreds of millions of dollars in this crisis, is insulting to those who’ve been running themselves ragged for years to keep the public system going.

An opening?

Late in the day on Tuesday, the FIQ announced that it was making major headway in talks on the issue of nurse-to-patient ratios in long-term care facilities (CHSLDs), and that the government was offering full-time positions to form stable teams.

Does this signal a change in the government's attitude in our current negotiations? Will the APTS receive similar proposals for our members’ working conditions? We’re very reluctant to speculate about the government's intentions. As soon as we have specific proposals from the employer, we’ll consult with our decision-making bodies and get back to you promptly.

False information about youth centres

What appears to be a cleverly orchestrated propaganda campaign is being propagated among our members. The word is that money has been set aside to improve the pay conditions of youth protection workers, but that the APTS would refuse that offer.


The government hasn’t tabled any proposal to give premiums or raises to our members working in youth protection. There have been discussions about the current situation in youth centres, and it appears that the government is concerned about the situation, largely because of the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and Youth Protection, headed by Régine Laurent. But there has been no mention of a pay raise.

The employer side never got back to us on our demands:

  • that Appendix 8 on special conditions for closed custody, intensive supervision and evaluation of incident reports be modified as follows:
    • by eliminating the weekly premium and replacing it with a premium of 5% of the employee’s salary,
    • by extending the premium and the right to floating days off to all employees working in living units in youth centres, residences with continuous assistance (RACs), and rehabilitation centres for clients with intellectual disabilities (CRDIs).

Lists to ensure essential services

In the past few weeks, we submitted our lists to ensure essential services to the TAT administrative labour tribunal. The lists contain the percentage of members required per activity centre and per institution to ensure care and services for the population in the event of a work stoppage. This step is mandatory in order to exercise our right to strike, if we find it necessary to do so.