VOLUME 10 No. 9 | NOVEMBER 3, 2020

Webinar on public finances

“Of course the government would like to improve our working conditions – too bad it just doesn’t have the money.” Sound familiar? We hear this whenever it’s time to negotiate our collective agreement, and this year is no exception. Given the pandemic and the economic crisis, it’s easy for Québec to say that public finances are in a state that precludes any kind of “generosity.” But our analysis shows there are options allowing us to demand better working conditions, without having to apologize.

You can learn more, and develop even better arguments than the ones you're already using, thanks to a webinar open to all APTS members (in French). Register for one of these sessions:

November 19, 11 a.m. to noon
November 24, 7 to 8 p.m.
November 25, 12 to 1 p.m.

Contact Denyse Ponton (dponton@aptsq.com) for more information.

250 news positions in youth mental health?

The APTS welcomes the government’s commitment to provide a recurring $25 million mental health budget for young people up to age 25 in order to fund the equivalent of 250 full-time positions, either by increasing hours worked by existing staff or by hiring new employees. However, the APTS points out in a press release that ad hoc investments will not be sufficient to address severe staff shortages. There is only ONE way of attracting the employees the health and social services system desperately needs in order to carry out its mission, and that is to improve conditions of practice for professionals and technicians.

One topic, rivers of ink

Transportation indemnities for employees who are called back for overtime work that has been planned in advance are the subject of an ongoing debate among grievance arbitrators. While the collective agreement provides for a transportation allowance equal to one hour at straight time when an employee is called back for overtime after leaving the institution, case law has been divided (17 to 14) in thirty-some decisions handed down as a result of grievances over this issue. Recently, the APTS added a favourable decision to the series, tipping the scales towards an interpretation saying that the purpose of the indemnity is to compensate the employee for additional travel, whether or not the overtime was scheduled in advance.

Leave without pay for more than 28 days

Are you taking leave without pay? Make sure you make the right choice in terms of insurance coverage. If you choose to give up the insurance coverage provided by Complementary Plan I (disability insurance and life insurance), in case of disability, you will not receive any long-term disability benefits – although you will still be eligible for the short-term disability benefits provided by the employer for 104 weeks. You should also know that in case of death, no benefit will be paid under your insurance contract with the SSQ.

For more information, see page xvii of the booklet on Your Group Insurance Plan. Don’t hesitate to ask questions!

The APTS position on pandemic crisis management in CHSLDs

At the General Council on September 23 and 24, APTS delegates adopted eight socio-political recommendations related to the tragic impact of the pandemic on seniors. These recommendations have been presented in an advisory opinion (in French) to the Ombudsperson as part of her investigation of how the COVID-19 crisis was managed in Québec. You’ll find a summary of the recommendations in a Bleu APTS article.

Changes to the QPIP

Good news: Bill 51, designed to enhance the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) and make it more flexible, has been adopted. A number of measures focus on the needs of children:

  • adopted children now have the same amount of time with their parents as biological children;
  • a single adoptive parent, or a single mother, can benefit from the five weeks’ benefits assigned to the father;
  • the father’s role is recognized and encouraged by an incentive that extends the duration of benefits when parents share weeks of parental leave.

Full information on changes to the Act respecting parental insurance, and dates on which these changes come into effect, is available on the QPIP website (in French).

World March of Women: the whole story!

The Intersyndicale des femmes, of which the APTS is a member, is proud to present the outcome of its research on the genesis and evolution of the World March of Women in a document called Une histoire brève de la Marche mondiale des femmes.

From the Bread and Roses march to the 5th International Action (carried out this year despite the pandemic), follow the history of the World March of Women, the demands it has made, and the gains we have won through women’s tireless work and mobilization around the March. Enjoy and share!

2020 pay equity audit: gathering information

Under the Pay Equity Act, employers are required to carry out an audit every five years to ensure that pay equity is maintained. The Treasury Board was supposed to post the findings of this audit in December 2020, but it has obtained a six-month extension to June 30, 2021.

Regardless of their deadline, our goal is to assess whether the government has truly taken into consideration the changes that have taken place in people’s jobs. For this reason, we are asking you to tell us about any change affecting your job between January 1, 2016, and December 22, 2020.

To do so, please respond to our online survey before December 18. You will need about 15 minutes to fill out the questionnaire.

2010 pay equity audit: the CNESST letter

As it continues to investigate complaints related to the 2010 pay equity audit, the CNESST (Québec’s Labour Standards, Pay Equity, and Occupational Health and Safety Commission) is asking those who filed a complaint to send in their claims in relation to the complaint. If you have received this letter, you can send back the text of your complaint, or any relevant document or additional information, whether or not you have anything to add. However, the CNESST should, in theory, have all the documents you had already provided.

In 2018, we tabled a well-substantiated set of arguments for job classes involving complaints that had not yet been resolved. We are continuing to make our case to the CNESST and will go on cooperating throughout the investigation. The CNESST will hand down a single decision for all union and individual complaints.

The government brings the process to standstill

When we challenged various articles of the Pay Equity Act and were validated by the Superior Court, the Legault government decided to use every available legal tool to avoid debate.

Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on multiple legal proceedings that prevent substantive exchanges on the issue, the government should put its energy into moving the process forward as quickly as possible. We’ll be providing more information in a forthcoming issue of our newsletter on pay equity and salary relativity.

Your rights in relation to COVID-19

Do you have questions about the measures your employer must take if you are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system or a chronic illness Go to the special COVID-19 section on our website to find out about measures that can protect you throughout the second wave.

Bill 59 leaves the APTS in doubt

Forty years overdue, Bill 59 – An Act to modernize the occupational health and safety regime – has finally been tabled. This ambitious and voluminous bill will bring major changes to the Act respecting occupational health and safety and the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases. While it involves progress in terms of access to prevention measures, it also includes what are undoubtedly setbacks in terms of compensation for victims. An in-depth analysis of each article will be carried out over the coming weeks so that the APTS can submit a complete advisory opinion to Minister Boulet.

OHS and clients with severe behaviour disorders

Employees working with clients with severe behaviour disorders can now benefit from a document providing advice on how to implement occupational health and safety procedures: Guide de soutien à l’implantation d’une pratique de santé et sécurité du travail. The document includes a decision algorithm to deal with the effects of violence (which is too often trivialized) and repeated micro-aggressions.

The document was developed in cooperation with the ASSTSAS by employees of the CISSS de Lanaudière who are well aware of the reality of severe behaviour disorders. APTS members Michel Côté, Julie Tourangeau, Josiane Péloquin and Marilou Lemieux made a valuable contribution to the process, which involved both analysis and action. We think the project can provide inspiration for others and support initiatives on the part of OHS committees.