Professional recognition: it’s time for a concrete gesture

Professional recognition: it’s time for a concrete gesture

At the time of this writing, 7,450 people had signed a petition launched on April 6 to demand that the government reimburse dues paid to professional orders. The signatories were reiterating arguments put forward by APTS president Andrée Poirier. Writing to Minister Christian Dubé on February 22, Poirier had asserted that in the context of a public health crisis, “it is inconceivable that we should force our members to pay out of their own pocket for the right to provide services for Quebecers.”

Poirier urged the minister to take concrete action to recognize the contribution of professional and technical employees. These are people who have been working themselves to the bone making sure diagnostic tests are performed, carrying out lab analyses, protecting Quebecers’ physical and mental health, and providing patients with rehabilitation services after a hospital stay. They’ve shown they could adapt their practice to keep on providing high-quality services while complying with public health directives and containing the spread of COVID-19.

Reimbursing the dues paid by people for whom membership in a professional order is a job requirement would improve retention in a context where labour shortages exist and are sometimes acute, and competition is rife. Private-sector employers are looking for professionals with expert knowledge and are often willing to reimburse professional dues.

It should also be noted that demands relating to professional dues did not receive the attention they deserved in previous public-sector contract talks.

Given this situation, the indignation felt by some groups of health and social services professionals is hardly surprising. However, the APTS could not in early 2021 support the initiative calling on people to boycott the payment of professional dues, if only because this action would expose APTS members to reprisals and other unpleasant consequences. The union’s position is that the payment of dues is unavoidable and that there should be an explicit demand for reimbursement.

Over half of the 60,000 employees represented by the APTS are members of a professional order, generally because their practice in the health and social services system requires it.

APTS members belong to 18 different professional orders. Almost all of these orders have members who signed the petition sent to Minister Dubé, as shown in the table below.

*In descending order by number of signatories

The APTS has written to professional orders to explain its demand, reiterate its support for their mission to protect the public, and emphasize that it understands their need to fund their activities.

The campaign to get people to sign the petition ended on May 14.

BY Chantal ManthaWITH Audrée Debellefeuille Dunberry, Marilyne Gagné, Véronique Papillon, Merlin Trottier-Picard | JUNE 4, 2021