QPAT President’s Report to the Provincial Council 2018

QPAT President’s Report to the Provincial Council 2018

This year’s report is longer than usual because it covers the involvement of the entire QPAT team in all the issues addressed by the organization. This year’s work relates partly to the action plan adopted by QPAT for 2017-2018, and partly to our direct and indirect involvement in the pedagogical and political matters of interest to our members during the year.

Once again this year, we offered the best possible everyday support to local unions in the field of labour relations. We thank our executive assistants Nancy Champagne and Olivier Dolbec, our lawyer and counsel Daniel Notardonato and our executive director Alan Lombard for their excellent work in this respect.

Additionally, we focused in particular on two main issues during the year. The first of these was the question of working climate and conflict management in the workplace. We decided to approach this subject in a different and innovative way by involving all the partners: school board director generals, human resources managers, school principals and, of course, your local union representatives. The year was given over to discussion, and a joint training session is now being organized for October. This is a complex task, and I would like to mention the wonderful work done by the committee and subcommittee, which brought us to a consensus on the content and organization of the event’s first session. The main goal of the event is to raise the stakeholders’ awareness, and to identify more effective local approaches to the management of workplace conflicts, which can be both complex and sensitive. Our ultimate intention, shared by all concerned, is to keep up the momentum and address other issues of common interest that affect our members, and help resolve the problems they face.

The other issue we decided to address is the very timely question of violence against teachers in the classroom. We drew up and administered a survey of members, primarily to obtain a realistic and credible profile of the situation. The survey results are currently being analyzed and will be available to you in the coming weeks. An additional aim is to produce a series of recommendations for real solutions, as well as for protocols and policies to ensure that violence is taken seriously by employers, and to make sure measures are introduced to improve the working environment of teachers. Special mention goes to the excellent work done by our executive assistant, Nancy Champagne, and the rigorous contribution of our stagiaire, Michaël Badeau, with assistance from his professor, Jean-Noël Grenier, and Sherri Brown, researcher with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).

A series of technical training sessions was organized during the year, to strengthen the skills of our local unions. They focused on budget parameters, retirement and insurance, parental rights, workplace health and safety and the adoption of evaluation standards and procedures. It is our intention to continue to offer more training sessions, so that our local union staff members can upgrade their skills and provide the best possible service to their members. Our thanks go to the entire team of executive assistants for helping to make these sessions a success.

The subjects of pedagogy and professional life will become increasingly important in the coming years. Not only are they core elements of what teachers do on a daily basis, but they are also a central focus of our expertise.

This year, we addressed the topic of professional development and ongoing training for teachers by preparing a survey that was administered during the winter. Once again, the results are currently being analyzed and will be revealed in the coming weeks. Among other things, they will be used to support our arguments in connection with another current issue, namely the possibility of creating a professional order. They will also form the basis for dialogue with the school boards when addressing teachers’ training needs. We have established a system using a randomized sampling method that will allow us to consult members more frequently on different issues and obtain valid, representative results while limiting the time commitment by members. The involvement of our executive director, Alan Lombard, and the excellent work done by our executive assistant Jean-Paul Fossey, deserve special recognition.

We also made a significant contribution to the Policy on Educational Success, unveiled last June by the Minister of Education. We took part in numerous consultations, and prepared and submitted opinions and briefs on a variety of subjects and policy orientations, promoting your point of view at every opportunity, on subjects including the proposal to create an Institute of Excellence in Education, a new vision for vocational training in the 21stcentury, a new funding method for students with handicaps, social maladjustments or learning difficulties, and the future of the English education sector in Québec. We also approached the Government and other bodies, including the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation, sometimes working with our partners from the FSE/CSQ, in connection with a number of issues of concern to you, including the rushed introduction of the sex education program, diversity and inclusion in schools, outdated school buildings and the availability of teaching material in English for teachers in vocational training and adult general education. In every case, we made sure your concerns were presented vigorously.

As for the annual QPAT Convention, unique to our organization, we made some important changes this year to both the location and the workshop selection process. Improvements are ongoing, and your comments and recommendations will be taken into consideration so that, in the coming years, we can offer an event that not only meets but also exceeds your expectations.

With respect to insurance, we completed the bidding process begun in the previous year, and were able to improve the agreement with Industrial Alliance, limit premium increases for members and ensure that our insurance plan can continue in future years. I would like to mention the contribution made by the Membership Plans Committee and executive assistant Paul Barnes, as well as the direct involvement of executive director Alan Lombard. It is also important to mention that we continue to have available the Starling Mindsonline help service, which complements the employee assistance programs offered by school boards.

With respect to communications, we developed and improved our website and made sure it was updated regularly, so that it would serve as a useful and dynamic tool for the teachers we represent. I would like to mention the excellent work done by our executive assistant Julie Montpetit, who revised the website and made sure it was updated on a daily basis. Julie is also responsible for presenting QPAT’s actions on social media, and is currently working on the production of an online magazine that will report on the organization’s achievements and actions throughout the school year. It will be launched in June and sent out to all our members. In the run-up to the election and the next round of negotiations, we will be making better use of social media and will be asking you, as QPAT members, to help us achieve our aims.

Our efforts to contact our future colleagues continued, with presentations made to fourth year students in teaching programs at Québec’s three English universities: Bishop’s, McGill and Concordia. We will pursue our efforts to forge contacts with the universities, with a view to working on joint programs with them and generating more dialogue with active teachers.

Lastly, I would like to mention our close and valuable collaboration with our partners from the FSE/CSQ on several issues of shared interest in the fields of labour relations and pedagogy, including sex education, new funding method for students with handicaps, social maladjustments or learning difficulties, budget rules and salary equity. Working together in this way benefits all our members. It will soon be time to start preparing for the next round of negotiations, and we will be doing this together. As was the case last time, our collaboration will be a key element in the results we are able to achieve for our members.

Our work with our partners at CTF and our dialogue with colleagues from other Canadian federations continue to enrich our views, consolidate our actions and help us to defend our public education system. This year, our members benefited from this collaborative effort on the question of violence in the workplace and the more specific issue of Senate Public Bill S-206, which among other things would call into question the protection teachers currently have under article 43 of the Criminal Code.