Addiction Prevention in High Schools – The FPSS-CSQ says we need to show confidence in those working in our schools

20 September 2019

Éric Pronovost, President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ), welcomes the announcement of $7.5 million for addiction interventions in our schools, but he questions the approach being adopted.

Éric Pronovost agrees that “it’s better to take preventive action before problems arise.” So, he is hoping these preventive efforts will be entrusted to Social Work Technicians or Special Education Technicians, depending on local needs and resources.

The FPSS-CSQ President does not, however, understand why the coordination of this project is being handed to an outside association, rather than people already in the ministry. He thinks “it’s a bit strange to use an external body instead of the people already familiar with the milieu.”
Éric Pronovost also deplores the fact that the mandated association wants to partner with community organizations, when valuable resources able to meet the needs already exist on the ground. “There are definitely staff shortages in certain sectors, but with new opportunities it would certainly be possible to attract new staff by offering more attractive positions,” he says.
Éric Pronovost does acknowledge, however, that “we need to act quickly to ensure that young people not find themselves in positions of dependency, because this significantly hinders their development.”

A Ratio of 1 per 1,000
On the other hand, the union leader believes that the ratio of one addiction intervener per 1,000 students is a good start. But he would like “these ratios to be improved to adequately meet the demand, because there are other problems that often arise during these interventions.”
“We should not limit interventions with young people due to budgetary constraints. Flexibility will also be required for institutions with fewer than 1,000 students who will end up with resource people with fewer hours to intervene. We should not impose even more insecurity on people who already have precarious jobs.”
In conclusion, the FPSS-CSQ President thinks there is still too much unknown and too much improvisation surrounding the announcement that has just been made. “Once again, school support staff were not consulted. It’s regrettable. The Minister of Education should understand that it is in his best interests to show confidence in support staff working in our school boards, something that would help him meet the needs of the schools.”