VOLUME 9 No. 12 | JUNE 20, 2019

Launch of Operation “Tutu seeks foster MNA”

On June 12 at the General Council in Montréal, the APTS launched a public awareness campaign to remind the 125 members of the National Assembly of the urgency of the situation in youth centres and the necessity of investing in children’s social services. As part of the campaign, representatives of youth centre workers will visit their MNAs to give them a stuffed animal that represents the vulnerable children who are placed in Youth Protection every year, to remind the MNAs of their responsibilities towards them. The same day, the National Assembly unanimously passed a new motion that mirrors point by point the message put forward by the APTS since the tragic death of the little girl in Granby.

Finally, a bill on dental care

The APTS welcomes Bill 29, tabled on June 5 by Minister McCann, which endorses greater autonomy for dental hygienists, finally! If these legislative amendments are adopted, they'll make preventive care significantly more accessible, and this will benefit vulnerable groups like children, seniors and people with reduced mobility. The APTS has always asserted the relevance of greater autonomy for dental hygienists. As trained specialists in prevention, dental hygienists are thoroughly capable of assessing, determining and carrying out a preventive treatment plan.

Because the new law still permits discrimination…

The APTS will soon be filing a legal challenge contesting the constitutionality of the legislation adopted on April 10, 2019 in the aim of improving the pay equity audit process. That legislation was the Québec government’s response to the federal Supreme Court’s decision striking down sections of the Pay Equity Act. Unfortunately, the new law is still discriminatory as it only stipulates retroactive payment for future pay equity audits when changes in the work occur that warrant corrective pay adjustments. As well, paying retroactive salary in the form of a lump-sum amount rather than as a pay adjustment is prejudicial, in our estimate.

The APTS calls for experience to be recognized

We’re still working to have employees’ experience recognized following their integration on the new salary structure. A grievance was filed for each institution represented by the APTS, calling for articles 18 and 35 of the national provisions to be applied and enforced. The APTS claim is for reclassification on the salary scales in accordance with prior experience and if applicable, in accordance with post-graduate training on April 3, 2018 for employees covered by Letter of Agreement No. 33, and on April 3, 2019 for those covered by Letter of Agreement No. 28.

The approach taken by the APTS on this matter is to make our arguments to the Treasury Board. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.

2010 pay equity audit: an unexpected turnaround

In the last newsletter on pay equity and salary relativity, Équité et relativités salariales, we informed you that complaints over the 2010 pay equity audit were being investigated by the CNESST (Labour Standards, Pay Equity and Occupational Health and Safety Commission), and that the APTS had tried to reopen talks with the Treasury Board to arrive at a satisfactory agreement.

And lo and behold, the situation has changed! The CNESST has informed us that it is suspending the investigation and will be inviting us to a meeting in the coming weeks to discuss mediation. We’ll let you know what happens.

Arbitration on the evaluation of the job title of biomedical engineering technical co-ordinator

The arbitrator in the case involving the evaluation of the job title of biomedical engineering technical co-ordinator won’t be able to hand down his decision until the fall, rather than at the end of May as announced. We decry this situation that’s beyond our control, and hope that the ruling will confirm the union position. It’s important to point out that this arbitration stems from the application of Article 36 of the APTS national provisions, which stipulates that if no agreement is reached by the provincial committee on jobs, an arbitrator has to decide the issue, when job titles are created in the health and social services system.

A universal public pharmacare plan on the horizon in Canada?

The APTS lauds the conclusions of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare in its report tabled on June 11. For the Advisory Council, national pharmacare should be uniformly accessible to all, as soon as possible. Along with various other organizations like the Union des consommateurs and Coalition solidarité santé, the APTS has been advocating this type of plan for many years now, which is preferable by far to Québec’s hybrid public-private plan.

The report specifies that the current insurance plan for prescription drugs isn’t viable in the long term and leaves far too many people without coverage, especially among vulnerable populations that often have to choose between buying groceries and paying for medication.

To ensure that every vote counts

The APTS supports the campaign of the Mouvement Démocratie Nouvelle (MDN) to reform our electoral system. Adopting a mixed member proportional system would notably make it possible to maintain parity for women in the National Assembly. Moreover, a poll conducted by Léger Marketing for the MDN revealed that 70% of Quebecers want the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to honour its promise to reform the current electoral system. We invite you to support the campaign by signing the petition on the MDN website and reading the presentation by the president of Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie.

Arbitrator sides with the APTS

Once again, our expertise in labour relations at the APTS led an arbitrator to rule in favour of an employee. The employer had suspended the employee without pay pending an investigation, and at the end of the investigation, suspended him for 30 days. The arbitrator overruled the suspension pending the investigation, as the notice didn’t contain the reasons and essential facts in the case and the Supreme Court had ruled that this type of suspension must be with pay except in special circumstances. In regard to the 30-day suspension as a disciplinary measure to penalize the employee for his conduct and comments, the arbitrator reduced the suspension to six days. He found that some of the criticisms levelled at the employee were not substantiated by the evidence, and those that were proven didn’t warrant such a severe penalty.

Silent march for social services

The organization Regroupement Récifs is organizing a march in Montréal to denounce the true reasons for the decline in social services: i.e., a lack of funding, a lack of recognition of social work, and a quantitative approach to social work that affects the quality of services. A number of APTS elected officers from the greater metropolitan area will be there. The march will  take place on June 22 from 1 to 2:30 at Parc Olivier-Robert. Note that participation is voluntary and no travel expenses will be reimbursed for this event.

Taking action for the planet

The APTS is obliged to decline the invitation to take part in the Earth Strike on September 27, 2019. As APTS members are governed by essential services legislation, our union can’t legally involve its members in a strike vote. But knowing that most of our members are conscious of the urgent need for action to reverse climate change and many want to show their solidarity with this event, the APTS is instructing members to act in solidarity with the movement by taking part in local, regional or provincial actions, in lieu of strike action.

The APTS had quite the General Council meeting!

Major announcements, news about your group insurance, pay equity, the launch of a mobilization operation… For a recap of what happened at the General Council on June 12 and 13 and the issues it covered – that concern you! – your newsletter, L’APTS en conseil general, is available on the APTS website under Publications.