In my closing remarks to the 175 union delegates representing your local units at the General Council zoom meeting, I spoke off the cuff about my daughter who has dyspraxia. Given all the uncertainties of COVID-19, she’s had to come back home.
Unless we succeed in quickly stopping the pandemic through our collective efforts, the government will have to consider the possibility of withdrawing certain activities so that personnel can be reassigned to key locations. This is the reality of the situation even if two ministers, Christian Dubé and Lionel Carmant, have said they want to maintain all of the services usually provided to Quebecers.
Quebecers have made countless sacrifices to limit the pandemic’s impact. They have accepted significant restrictions on their freedom, placing their faith in government and following its directives. After all the soul-searching and questioning that this exceptional situation has evoked, and all the observations and conclusions calling for sweeping changes in the way we do things, the government’s uninspired proposal to get us out of the crisis is deeply dismaying.
On March 13, every aspect of our lives changed overnight. Our professional life and family/work balance were turned upside down, with our social life put on hold. Having to contend with a radical reorganization of our work is now a daily challenge. Could we dare to hope for positive changes that will endure?
Last March, Health and Social Services Minister Danielle McCann took strict measures to curb the pandemic. However noble the government’s intentions, its actions may come at a steep cost. By modifying the collective agreements of public-sector employees in health and social service facilities, the government upped the powers of managers to offset labour shortages that had been rampant in these facilities for far too long. Managers were given carte-blanche, with practically no safeguards to prevent them from taking shortcuts when implementing such measures in the bureaucratic behemoths that are now our integrated centres (CISSS and CIUSSS).
The APTS obtained a meeting on February 11 with the deputy minister of health and social services, Lionel Carmant, to discuss the situation in youth centres and rehabilitation centres for those with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder.