The government offers don’t meet the needs of the North for school support staff

21 December 2022

Nego 2023 – Cree et Kativik School Boards

The employer negotiating committees of the Cree and Kativik school boards (CPNCSC and CPNCSK) have just submitted their offers to the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ) and the Association des employés du Nord Québécois (AENQ-CSQ). AENQ‑CSQ President Larry Imbeault says, “the government is ignoring the needs of school support staff in Northern Quebec, serving us the same cold dish as in 2019.”

Demands of the CPNCSC and the CPNCSK

The Northern employer groups essentially want the same things as those in the South, but some of their demands do not correspond to the realities of northern environments.  They want to replace or attenuate the scarcity of labor by dealing, for example, with multiple positions or by reviewing the process granting leave, union leave or other absences, the process governing the hours and workweek as well as the overtime. They also want to review certain procedures related to the salary insurance plan during the trial period and limit staff employment changes. These are just some examples of the vision of the Northern employer groups at the dawn of the negotiation.

These employer groups say they want to promote the attraction and retention of school support staff.  We believe that several of their demands will have the opposite effect and actually exacerbate the shortage of personnel in the North.

FPSS-CSQ demands: Improve the quality of school support staff jobs

School support staff make up 40% of the people working in schools across the province.  Whether administrative, manual, technical, paratechnical or direct student services, these people contribute to education by supporting the work of teachers, professionals and administrators.  Imbeault says that “without school support staff, our schools and centers would not be able to function; the employer’s offers do not reflect our importance and the essential contribution we make to education.  We are indispensable.”

The staff shortage problem is a major issue for the members of the FPSS-CSQ. We are calling for very specific measures to improve the attraction and retention of staff. Quality jobs with full-time positions are required, along with the elimination of split shifts, the promotion of all school support staff jobs, and family-work balance.  Concrete action was needed from the government to resolve these problems and it completely ignored them instead,” says Larry Imbeault.

Meetings will begin in January

Meetings between the negotiating team representing the school boards and those of the CPNCSC and the CPNCSK will begin in January. The exact dates have yet to be determined. Imbeault concludes, “we will have the opportunity to show them the urgency of improving the working condit