VOLUME 10 No. 7 | OCTOBER 6, 2020

New Facebook campaign: #nego2020

As we pointed out in a press release on September 30, our collective agreement expired six months ago. Since then, there has been no change in the government’s position – nothing to really address work overload in the health and social services system, nothing to improve training or professional development. Professionals and technicians want the government to know they’re sick and tired of being ignored. We’ve launched a social media campaign that is resonating with many of you, and you can join in by putting this Facebook frame on your profile picture.

Other campaign visuals are available to be downloaded from the Visuels section of the negotiations site.

Premiums: the program is temporarily extended

There was a breakthrough on September 29 regarding premiums for psychologists and personnel working in CHSLDs or with people who have severe behavioural problems. The Treasury Board’s announcement came on the day before the premiums were due to end. A six-month extension of the program had been granted in June. Now, the premiums will be maintained as long as contract talks continue, since the Treasury Board does not want to negotiate publicly on this issue.

Updated travel insurance coverage

For people who are obliged to travel, since October 1, SSQ Insurance has been covering all emergency medical expenses – including those related to COVID-19 – in any destination country covered by a Canadian government notice to avoid non-essential travel (Level 3). Broader coverage is also provided for trip cancellation: among other things, you will now be able to cancel your trip if your destination country’s notice goes from level 1-2 to level 3 or 4 before you leave. Given the complexity of the ever-changing pandemic situation, we recommend that you get in touch with CanAssistance before you travel to make sure your coverage is up-to-date. For more details, see the SSQ’s frequently asked questions.

Dependent children aged 18 or over

According to the SSQ insurance contract, dependent children can no longer be insured as of their 18th birthday. However, if your child is between the age of 18 and 26 and is enrolled full-time in a recognized educational institution, she or he will be considered a dependent and will be covered by your group insurance. If this is the case, you can notify the SSQ through its online Customer Centre, or by calling 514-223-2500 for the Montréal region or 1-877-651-8080 for other regions.

The APTS responds to Bill 66

The Legault government is back with its economic recovery plan. While Bill 66 corrects some of the flaws in the initial version (Bill 61), it is unfortunate that investing in concrete is seen, once again, as the one and only way to ensure recovery. The APTS has expressed its concern about the possibility that environmental standards may be bypassed and about the possible health impact of these investments. We can imagine an economic recovery that would not involve environmental destruction and would promote jobs not only in the construction industry, but in a wider range of employment sectors. Read our open letter (in French) for more information.

APTS victory confirmed by the Superior Court

An arbitrator recently ruled in favour of the APTS, which had argued that radiology technologists working in an emergency room should be eligible for the critical care premium. The employer disagreed with this ruling and filed an application for judicial review, which has now been rejected. While case law provides two lines of authority on this issue, the Superior Court found that the arbitrator had not erred in giving precedence to the criterion of physical presence over administrative attachment. The ambiguity of this provision of the collective agreement led the court to emphasize a contextual interpretation, and the arbitrator’s findings were deemed reasonable and justified.

Ministerial order 2020-007 challenged by the APTS

On September 30, the APTS applied for judicial review of ministerial order 2020-007, which suspends several clauses of our collective agreements. While the APTS recognizes that the government had to declare a health emergency and that measures have to be taken in relation with public health authorities, the powers conferred on institutions by the ministerial order are nonetheless too wide.

The measures we are contesting go beyond what is needed to protect the population from COVID-19 under the Public Health Act. In our view, they arbitrarily diminish workers’ rights enshrined in our collective agreement.

We will keep you informed of developments on this issue.

Would you like to get involved in union activities?

Over the next few months, keep an eye on union bulletin boards in your workplace to learn more about positions to be filled on your local executive. In particular, we urge women to run for office. 86% of APTS members are women, and this percentage is not yet fully reflected in our decision-making bodies.

If you’d like to take up the challenge, contact your provincial representative to find out when you should submit your candidacy and to learn about key issues at the heart of union life in your institution.

Risks involved in working from home

Increased working from home is undeniably one of the most significant changes associated with the pandemic. Québec’s public health institute (INSPQ) provides an overview (in French) of conditions that make it easier or more difficult to implement remote work, and looks at the impact of remote work on workers’ physical and psychological health. If working from home is your new reality, find out about the ergonomic and psychological risks you may be facing.

World March of Women

The 5th World March of Women was due to take place in Terrebonne on October 17, 2020, under the theme Résistons pour vivre – Marchons pour transformer (“We resist to live, we march to transform”). Because of the pandemic, members of the Québec Co-ordinating Committee for the March (CQMMF) have postponed it to October 2021. However, actions and activities are suggested to keep the focus on the five demands of the 5th International Action: fighting women’s poverty, fighting violence against women, establishing inclusive measures for migrant, immigrant and racialized women and defending their rights, establishing climate justice, and defending the rights of Indigenous women. To find out about events near you, follow APTS Facebook pages or talk to your local team.