VOLUME 12 No. 6 | MARCH 21, 2022

So the public health crisis is over. Really?

The tabling of Bill 28 caused a general outcry – which is hardly surprising. The government says the health emergency has ended, and yet it still reserves the right to decree the working conditions of health and social services employees. In this regard, it can do as it pleases until December 31.

Responding to indignation expressed by the APTS and other labour organizations, health and social services minister Christian Dubé promised last Thursday to tighten up his bill. We’ll be paying close attention.

Your membership is important to us

Most of the APTS’s 65,000 members have already filled out their membership form, and we’d like to thank them for that. If you haven’t yet done so, just click on the image opposite – it won’t take you more than a minute. Thanks in advance for your usual cooperation!

APTS decision-making bodies
The APTS in General Council

Your delegates gathered in Sherbrooke on March 15, 16, and 17 to talk about many issues, including the next round of provincial contract talks, work/family balance, sustainable development, the current political situation, and what it’s like to practice in the intellectual disabilities / autism spectrum disorder (DI-TSA) sector.

Faced with a government that’s getting ready to abolish attraction and retention premiums in health care even as workers continue to leave the system in droves, your delegates also demonstrated in front of the office of CAQ MNA Geneviève Hébert to demand genuine recognition of the work done by all health and social services employees.

More details to come in our newsletter, The APTS in General Council – a link will be available in the next Fil@pts.


Pay Equity Act: the shoe is definitely pinching

The Pay Equity Act is a key tool to fight pay inequity, “but at this point, it really needs an update, especially in terms of the way it’s applied,” says APTS president Robert Comeau. In an interview with Le Devoir, Comeau deplores that the government has spent so much time attempting to interpret aspects of the law in its own favour, instead of accepting an interpretation that would benefit the women who’ve been unjustly treated. On the issue of retroactivity, for instance, unions had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to ensure the principle was recognized. Employees are also understandably bitter at having to wait so long for a pay adjustment to come into force once it’s been established that they’re entitled to it.

If you’d like to know more, the article in Le Devoir is well worth reading – and this is also a great time for you to sign the petition (in French) telling Sonia LeBel to pay what’s owed to physiotherapy-related job titles as a result of the 2010 pay equity audit.

New rates for SSQ group insurance

New rates for our group insurance will come into force on April 1, 2022. Only health and dental insurance are affected – premiums for other insurance plans, such as life, disability, and accidental dismemberment, will not change.

Full details and specific dollar amounts for the new premiums are provided in our summary.

SSQ employees on strike

SSQ Insurance is currently negotiating with its unions, and although discussions are taking place with the help of a conciliator, a limited number of sporadic strike days have been voted. The organization is maintaining its activities, but some services might be affected. We urge you to show solidarity and empathy in your exchanges with employees and to make use of the SSQ Customer Centre, in particular when you want to file a claim.

Increasing your weekly work hours: it's up to you

Under our new Letter of Agreement No. 12, the employer has until March 31, 2022, to offer employees holding one of the following job titles the option of upgrading their position to a 37.5-hour work week:

  • human relations officer (1553)
  • lawyer (1114)
  • educator (2691)
  • psychoeducator (1652)
  • psychologist (1546)
  • special education technician (2686)
  • social worker (1550)

While your employer is obliged to offer you the possibility of upgrading your position, you remain free to say yes or no.

If you’re an employee holding a part-time position, you too can choose to increase your work hours on the basis of a 37.5-hour work week. Your hours will increase proportionally to the hours associated with your position.

For more information, contact your local team.

A budgetary shield for health and social services: yes, we need it - and yes, it's possible

When the pandemic struck, our health and social services system was still reeling from the after-effects of years of austerity. Now, as we move out of the pandemic, the impact of chronic underfunding is felt even more cruelly. The second issue of APTS Alert looks at the figures to help us understand the problem, and a simple, realistic solution is suggested: creating a budgetary shield for health and social services.

The APTS has already suggested this option to finance minister Eric Girard during pre-budget consultations. Will he take it up? We’ll find out on Tuesday when the 2022-2023 budget is unveiled.

Our 2nd vice-president, Émilie Charbonneau, and APTS research officer Philippe Hurteau will be sharing their immediate reactions to the budget on Facebook. Why not join the conversation? Don’t wait – click now to confirm you’ll be there!

2022: time for tax justice?

Same budget, other solutions. The Coalition Main Rouge, of which the APTS is a member, demonstrated on March 14 in front of the finance minister’s office to demand greater tax justice in the 2022-2023 budget.

According to labour, community and feminist organizations belonging to the Coalition, the minister should send a strong signal by increasing the taxes paid by the ultra-rich in order to deal with the chronic underfunding of our public services. We can afford to do things differently!

For more information, read the Coalition’s press release (in French) and find out about “10 billion dollars’ worth of solutions”.

Labs and medical imaging: ongoing meetings

Over the past weeks, the APTS met with members of health and social services minister Christian Dubé’s cabinet to discuss the situation in labs, medical imaging, nuclear medicine, medical electrophysiology and radiation oncology. Josée Fréchette, 1st APTS vice-president, and Sandra Etienne, 4th vice-president, explained our members’ concerns to the government and suggested various ways of counteracting the labour shortage and reducing work overload in these crucially important sectors. The goal remains to eliminate waiting lists and to maintain laboratory and diagnostic radiology services and treatment. Both parties have agreed to keep on meeting to ensure that Quebecers have access to the care and services they deserve.