Lending a helping hand in the health sector

17 April 2020

On March 22, school support staff were summoned to work in the health sector with Ministerial Order 2020-008, but we were given few details about how this would be carried out.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES) has just told us how this will work.


Even though Order 2020-019, issued on April 10, gives them the power to redeploy personnel, the MEES is promoting volunteering.  This is the position we have taken from the start.  We are also receiving emails from school support staff who want to help out in the Health and Social Services Sector.

The MÉES is asking volunteers “to notify your establishment’s administration, which will handle the rest of the process.”  They believe that “many of you will have the generosity to contribute to this collective effort”.

Health sector premiums

Remember that volunteers will benefit from the health sector premiums, namely 8% for health professionals, 4% for other health staff, and $4 per hour for orderlies working in the private sector. Meals and childcare costs will be reimbursed. Details can be found in Orders 2020-007, 2020-015 and 2020-017.

Hospitals and CHSLDs

Hospitals and CHSLDs need volunteers.  They need them to help nurses and orderlies.  Whether it is to help feed patients, provide them with basic care, help them communicate with their families, clean, disinfect, or any other task, training will be provided.  You will not be able to replace nursing staff, because their training is much more extensive, but you will be able to assist them and lighten the workload for everyone.

Employment link

At all times, the school board will remain your employer. With regard to the accumulation of vacation days, sick-leave days, seniority, experience and active or continuous service for the purpose of acquiring tenure, only the hours stipulated in your contract with the school board will be counted.  For overtime, your remuneration will be “according to the rate provided for by the salary scale of the job held by the employee of the education sector”.

The Health and Social Services Sector will inform your school board of the hours you have worked.  An application guide tells them how to do this.

Work schedules

Work schedules will be determined based on the needs of the Health and Social Services Sector, but you can indicate your restrictions, if there are any. An   MÉES document asks health sector administrators “to ensure adequate and respectful integration”.

Lending a hand

In a letter to school sector employees, Deputy Education Minister Éric Blackburn says, “this request is exceptional, but we are living in a situation that requires the solidarity of all the people of Quebec.  Our community has always been able to count on generosity and caring to help us through difficult times.”

We salute the work of school support staff who will help us get through this crisis.