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Learn more about the ongoing negotiations

INFO-NEGO October 29, 2021

Agreement on the texts of the collective agreement

The representatives of the FSE-CSQ and QPAT at the sectorial negotiating table finalized with the employers, on Wednesday, October 27, an agreement on the texts modifying the collective agreement resulting from the agreement in principle concluded on May 27.

The goal, after a final revision, is to sign the new collective agreement the week of November 15. In the event that the new collective agreement comes into force during the week of November 15, the payment of the first lump sum relating to the period from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 would take place around mid-December (in the 30 days after signing). In all cases, the second lump sum, relating to the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, will be paid with the pay immediately preceding January 15, 2022.

Retroactive salary increases (increase in salaries for the first and last steps, substitute, hourly and by-the-lesson rates retroactively to April 1, 2020) would be payable around mid-January (within 60 days of the signature), so perhaps at the same time as the second lump sum. The new rates of pay should also start to be paid at the same time.

More details will be available shortly, particularly regarding the concrete measures coming into force on the date of signing of the collective agreement.

INFO-NEGO September 22, 2021

From sectorial settlement proposal to signature of the collective agreement

Many of you have asked what is currently going on regarding the signature of the collective agreement. Below is a brief overview of the process so far.

First, it is important to remember that the teachers’ collective agreement is divided into two components: a sectorial component (working conditions specific to teachers) and an intersectorial component (working conditions applicable to all public service employees), including salary increases, retirement, parental rights and regional disparities. These two components are negotiated separately by two different negotiating teams.

The sectorial agreement

Last spring, the sectorial settlement proposed by the government for the renewal of the collective agreement was accepted by 88% of members at general assemblies of unions affiliated with the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT). The sectorial proposal was approved by the FSE-CSQ Conseil fédéral at a meeting on May 17.

The intersectorial agreement

A proposed settlement for the intersectorial agreement was accepted in principle at the end of the last school year and was presented to the delegations of CSQ affiliate unions on June 30, at the Conseil général des négociations (CGN). The CSQ affiliate unions concerned have been holding general assemblies since the new school year began, so that their members can vote on the proposal. The results must be sent to the CSQ no later than September 30.

The CGN will receive the results in the following days, and if there is a majority in favour of the proposal, it will confirm that an agreement has been reached for the renewal of the collective agreements.

What happens next

While the negotiation establishes the principles underlying the changes to be made to the new collective agreement, the clauses of that agreement must still be written. The FSE-CSQ/QPAT negotiating team has been working with the employer party since May 17 to draft the texts for the sectorial agreement in principle. This is a rigorous task that demands a great deal of time and care, to ensure that the elements accepted by the parties are truly reflected in the collective agreement text. Nevertheless, it is expected to be completed in the near future.

These types of delays before a new agreement can be signed are entirely normal. The 2015- 2020 collective agreement was not signed until six months after the agreement in principle was

reached, and in the case of the 2010-2015 agreement, it was almost a year. If the 2020-2023 agreement is signed in the near future, as is hoped, then it will have taken between four and five months to complete the drafting phase, including the summer break.

Application of some provisions prior to signature

An unusual administrative agreement was entered into by QPAT and the government, to apply certain provisions of the new agreement from the beginning of the new school year even though the agreement itself has not yet been signed. The provisions in question mostly concern the addition of teaching resources or student services that are needed immediately.

Payment of retroactive salary increases and lump sum amounts

Full details of the new salary scales (full-time and part-time), and the new rates applicable to casual supply teachers and teachers paid by the hour or by the lesson, have already been, or will shortly be presented to you at a general assembly in September. The new salaries and rates will be applied after the collective agreement has been signed.

A portion of the salary increase is retroactive to the 141st day of the 2019-2020 school year (around April 1, 2020). The time at which the retroactive increase will be paid has not yet been formally decided. As an example, the retroactive amounts obtained under the 2015-2020 collective agreement were to be paid within 60 days of signature.

As for the two lump sum amounts, the government’s proposal provides that the first will be paid within 30 days after signature of the collective agreement, and the second will be added to the pay cheque preceding January 15, 2022. In both cases, the amount is $602.68 for a full-time equivalent. Again, full details have been or will be provided at the general assembly.

Things are therefore proceeding normally.

INFO-NEGO April 29 2021

In the collective agreement renewal negotiations, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT finally obtained a sectorial settlement proposal from the Treasury Board. After a meeting of the Conseil federal (the political body of the FSE), the FSE-CSQ and QPAT have decided to “lift the veil” imposed by the employer party and submit the proposed settlement to the teachers, via general assemblies. In the circumstances, this cannot be described as an agreement in principle, because in spite of some interesting gains, we do not feel we have achieved all the goals you set at the beginning of the negotiations. Since it is your daily lives that are at stake, it is up to you, and you alone, to decide whether or not you are satisfied with the outcome.

Below is a brief history of the negotiations, along with the main elements of the settlement proposal. A more complete presentation will of course be made at your local general assemblies.

Main steps in the negotiation process 

  • The union filed its demands on October 18, 2019, the employer filed its response on December 17, 2019, and the “traditional” negotiation began in January 2020;
  • On March 13, 2020, the whole of Québec was placed “on pause” because of the pandemic. At the time, the Government asked us to continue the negotiations despite the health crisis affecting the province;
  • At the end of June 2020, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT requested mediation with a view to obtaining a strike mandate;
  • The negotiations dragged on throughout the fall, with an even more insulting offer by the employer in October. In December and January, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT, like the other CSQ unions, consulted their members to obtain strike mandates;
  • The day after the strike mandates were announced, on February 2, 2021, the CSQ and the FSE-CSQ were invited by the Treasury Board president to sit at a new “restricted” table for an intensified “exploratory” negotiation, which was to be kept “under wraps”;
  • On April 1, 2021, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT announced the first strike day. The negotiations intensified as a result;
  • On April 14, 2021, an historical first-ever short-duration “innovative” strike was carried out by the FSE-CSQ and QPAT;
  • After the FSE-CSQ and QPAT received a settlement proposal considered insufficient by the Conseil federal, the discussions resumed at the negotiating table and led to the submission of a new, improved proposal on April 21, 2021;
  • On April 23, 2021, the FSE-CSQ Conseil fédéral and QPAT decided to submit the sectorial settlement proposal to the members’ general assemblies, for a decision.
  • On May 17, all the FSE-CSQ and QPAT unions will report on their general assemblies to the Conseil fédéral.

Main elements of the proposed sectorial settlement

The FSE-CSQ and QPAT have constantly demanded significant improvements in their four main priority areas, namely class composition and services for students with special needs, a significantly lighter workload, remuneration for all teachers, and precarity and professional insertion. The information given below is by no means exhaustive, and more details will be provided for each priority area at the general assemblies. 

Specific remuneration for teachers

  • On the 141st day of the 2019-2020 school year: increase of the first six salary steps and a 1.5% increase of the last step (retroactive);
  • On the 141st day of the 2021-2022 school year: increase of 3.46% for the last step (combined increase of 5% for the last step); 
  • On March 31, 2023, merging of steps 3 and 4, i.e. removal of one step from the salary scale. Step advancements will take place on this date instead of on July 1.

*Attention: Note that the salary increases to be given to all public service employees will be added to these amounts. The general increases are still being negotiated in the public sector, including by the CSQ, which represents us and is continuing with mobilization. For the time being, they are proposing a minimum increase over three years of 1.75%, 1.75% and 1.5%, plus a possible increase of up to 1% based on inflation and economic growth, and two lump sum amounts. At the end of the negotiations, teachers in Québec will have a single salary scale. 

Class composition and services for students with special needs

  • One student less per group for kindergarten (4 and 5 year-old) classes in disadvantaged communities;
  • Addition of 225 special classes throughout the network (75 per year for each of the next three years);
  • For the FSE-CSQ and QPAT, creation of roughly 300 new regular groups in elementary schools, in communities not classified as disadvantaged, to reduce the pressure caused by the high number of students with individualized education plans;
  • For multigrade classes, a guaranteed amount of $675 per year to use from the beginning of the school year, in particular for releases (equivalent of two to three days per homeroom teacher).

Workload

  • At preschool level, a half-hour reduction of learning and preparation activities, but no change to the length of the workload;
  • In elementary schools, most supervision time entrusted to other job categories, among other things by replacing this time with pedagogical remediation;
  • Guarantee of full autonomy for teachers to decide on the use of at least 10% of professional development days;
  • Additional release of one day per year in Grade 6 and half a day in Grade 4, to correct ministerial examinations; this is in addition to the releases already provided for in the budgetary rules;
  • For adult education, addition of the equivalent of two professional development days (increase to 32 hours and consideration of pedagogical follow-up when preparing the workload).

Note that the employer has stepped back its demand to decompartmentalize the workload. The workload will be annualized in future, but work of a personal nature will still be protected. Mandatory presence at school will be reduced from 32 hours per week to an average of 30 hours per week.

Precarity and professional insertion

  • Mentorships: Instead of the “Master” teachers the employer wanted, a workload release for nearly 1,000 mentor teachers (FSE-CSQ and QPAT), with possible occasional releases from courses and lessons for the teachers being mentored, in addition to complementary workload releases;
  • In vocational training, addition of recognized time in the complementary workload to take Bachelor’s degree courses and hence encourage teachers to obtain legal qualifications;
  • In vocational training and adult education, reduction of the number of hours formerly required to trigger a part-time contract (144 hours in vocational training and 200 hours in adult education).

Miscellaneous

  • Possibility of using six sick days for personal reasons, with 24-hour prior notice, to foster work-family reconciliation;
  • Depending on the teacher’s individual situation, possibility of attaching death leave to the death itself or to the funeral that follows.

Clearly, the sectorial settlement proposal is too long to present in its entirety in this document. There is still a lot to say and to explain, and your local union will present the proposal in detail. QPAT recommends that it be adopted. It is therefore up to you to decide whether this proposal constitutes a sectorial settlement, bearing in mind that the negotiations are continuing for the intersectorial portion (salaries, retirement, parental rights and regional disparities), for which mobilization is ongoing. If you have not yet been contacted, you will receive an invitation shortly to submit your opinion at a virtual assembly, using the method decided by your union. This Info-Nego will help with the process of reflection.

INFO-NEGO April 2021

EXPLORATORY NEGOTIATIONS

WE’RE MOVING FORWARD, BUT WE’RE NOT THERE YET

In February 2021, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT began negotiating at a brand new table, with a limited number of representatives. The aim of this was to speed up the talks and facilitate exploratory discussions, which we were asked to “keep under wraps”. Since we are still at this phase of the negotiations, we must abide by the instructions we have received, meaning that we cannot tell you about the content of the discussions. We are sorry about this.

However, we can tell you that considerable progress was made at the negotiating table after we announced, in February, that we had obtained a strike mandate, and especially so since April 1, when we announced the first short-term strike for the morning of April 14. Thank you!

You can be proud not only of the mobilization, but also of its innovative nature, which has clearly helped to increase the pressure on the employer. Your impressive participation and tireless determination has pushed the process forward and brought us closer to achieving our aims, although there is still some way to go.

Since the beginning, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT have asked for significant improvements to the following four major priority areas:

Class composition and services for students with special needs
A significantly lighter workload
Remuneration
Job insecurity and professional integration

Although the discussions are centred on some interesting elements, many of which were introduced by the FSE-CSQ and QPAT, our position remains unchanged: although others may have accepted proposals based on their own goals and mandates, the employer’s proposals currently on the table do not improve the everyday lives of teachers sufficiently to form a basis for an agreement in principle that would address your needs and your legitimate expectations with respect to the priorities that have been maintained since negotiations began. In other words, there are still some complicated issues to be resolved, in particular with respect to the workload, and we intend to continue with the pressure and with the negotiations until they can be resolved.

This is the unanimous conclusion of the FSE-CSQ Conseil fédéral, which took place on April 15 to 17.

It was for this reason that a second short-term strike notice was issued on the evening of April 15. This time, the strike will be held on the afternoon of April 27. At the end of this second strike, we will have exercised the equivalent of just one half-day of the five strike days for which you voted at the assemblies.

We are convinced that by maintaining the pressure, thanks to your commitment to the cause, we will be able to improve the working conditions of teachers. It is especially important not to relax now, as the finish line draws closer. Your support and energy will help us to continue to move forward!

Negotiation at the enhanced table: A disappointing process that has not produced the anticipated results

In February 2021, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT began negotiations at a new table composed of a smaller number of representatives. Its purpose was to speed up talks and facilitate discussions, which we were asked to keep “under wraps” so as not to bring the negotiations into the public sphere. Below is a summary of what has happened since then.
 
On February 1 last, since things were more or less at an impasse at the tables set up in April 2020, the FSE-CSQ, QPAT and CSQ announced that they had obtained a legal strike mandate for the equivalent of five days, to be exercised at the appropriate time.
 

  • As if by chance (!), Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel contacted the CSQ the very next day. On February 2, a discussion took place between CSQ President Sonia Ethier, FSE-CSQ President Josée Scalabrini and Ms. LeBel.
  • The result was a new working table with new stakeholders. The table met with the new “limited” employers’ team for the first time on February 8 last.
  • The employer filed a new “exploratory” submission on February 16, which did not address most of the valid expectations of QPAT and FSE-CSQ teachers.
  • In response, we filed a new union submission on February 23, maintaining the main issues of the negotiation:
    • Class composition and services for students with special needs
    • A lighter workload
    • Remuneration
    • Employment insecurity and professional integration

We focused in particular on the lighter workload and remuneration.

  • On March 2, we expressed our dissatisfaction with the employer’s unwillingness to state a clear position on the main issues. The employer’s reaction was to postpone the next meeting indefinitely, despite their claim that they wanted to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. Negotiations did not resume until March 15, but both the FSE-CSQ and the QPAT are dissatisfied with what is currently being offered (and not offered).
  • Since the FSE-CSQ and QPAT were mandated to continue the exploratory discussions, work at the negotiating table resumed on March 19.

 
Our main observations are as follows:
 

  • The employer has been claiming since early February that it wants a quick settlement so that some measures can be applied in the 2021-2022 school year, which would be desirable.
  • This will not happen, because the Treasury Board has taken only a few very timid steps in the last month and a half, and its pace is clearly too slow to achieve their stated goal.
  • The very meagre openings to the proposals made by the FSE-CSQ and QPAT are extremely disappointing, and are still miles away from the necessary significant improvements to teachers’ working conditions and salaries.
  • We have been told that there is absolutely no possibility of ratios being reduced.
  • Worse, instead of considering an actual reduction of the workload, the employer continues to focus on its proposal to de-compartmentalize the workload. This would mean that assignable time would be increased from 27 to 32 hours per week by merging the complementary workload with work of a personal nature. Protected work of a personal nature would therefore no longer exist. It would become annualized “other professional workload”, subject to consultation by teachers. Although our negotiating team has continued to reiterate that it is inconceivable even to think of increasing the workload, the employer is adamant.
  • Clearly, there are some things that the employer has completely failed to understand.

 
What now?
 
Given this, it is obvious that the right time to exercise the strike mandate, on which you voted, is fast approaching. Explanations have been given over and over at the negotiating table. The messages have been forwarded to the Minister of Education and the Treasury Board President, and despite all their fine words in public, there are currently no satisfactory prospects for settlement at the table.
 
It is past time to put more pressure on the government, which is ignoring the appeals of the teachers we represent. We will therefore speak even louder, to be sure that they hear us and respect us. Things can no longer go on as they are. In education, things have to change – now!

 

 

Stalemate

As we have already said, the promise of quick negotiations with the employer’s representatives revealed instead that the employer was merely circling the issue with no political mandate from the Government.

A small ray of hope emerged on October 23 last, when the Government’s negotiators announced that they were submitting a new offer. Unfortunately, they simply went back to the beginning, resurrecting most of their original proposals from December 17, 2019, without any significant improvements to the May proposals that had already been rejected by the FSE-CSQ and QPAT. The employer has instead simply eliminated, a few, mostly minor elements, and a handful of positive proposals were added, although they were clearly insufficient when compared to the promises made by the party in power.

Teachers were not even invited to the so-called “blitz” announced by the Government at the beginning of November. The discussions did not speed up, and no notable progress was made. Despite its rhetoric, the Government has obviously not placed the urgent problems of teachers at the top of its priority list.

The FSE-CSQ and QPAT are working on their basic demands, as refocused in June, in order to reach a satisfactory agreement that will result in real and significant improvements to the salaries and working conditions of teachers in schools and centres.

The biggest problem in the discussions is that, so far, the Government’s representatives have shown no significant openness to the main – and valid – expectations of teachers, even though the needs are increasingly obvious. Both the FSE-CSQ and QPAT are dissatisfied with the lack of results so far. Clearly, there is no political mandate and the talks have struck a dead-end on the issues of fundamental importance for teachers, namely the heavy workload, unbalanced class composition and lack of services for students in difficulty, the high level of employment insecurity, and salaries, which are the lowest in Canada for teachers.

To read the entire document click here.

“The Government has a duty to act, and we believe it also has the means to do so. Enough is enough. Things have to change now!”
NOVEMBER 2020

Let’s turn up the volume

This fall, we were promised quick negotiations with Treasury Board representatives, but it has become clear that they are simply going around in circles, with no political mandate from the Government.

A so-called blitz

We were somewhat surprised on October 23, when the Government’s negotiators informed our representatives that they would be submitting a new employer’s offer. However, we were extremely disappointed when we realized they were simply going back to the beginning and resuscitating most of their original proposals from December 17, 2019.

As was the case last June, the so-called “blitz” announced by the Government in early November did not live up to its name, at least as far as the teachers were concerned. Not only did meetings continue at the same pace as before, but they did not produce any substantive progress. 

From a union standpoint, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT are still in the process of presenting their proposals from June 9. The employer has shown no signs of being open to them, and both the FSE-CSQ and QPAT have remained dissatisfied. Clearly, there is no political mandate for the solutions proposed by and for the teachers.

Let’s take action

This is why the FSE-CSQ and QPAT teachers will be taking action, as discussed with you at the union assemblies.

Roughly one-third of the FSE-CSQ and the QPAT local unions have said they are prepared to consider strikes in the short term, to let the employer know they have had enough. Teachers are favorable to the idea of strikes but would prefer strike action to come only after a series of escalating pressure tactics.

Therefore, FSE-CSQ and QPAT teachers will be organizing a series of disruptive actionsincluding Operation Disconnect, Operation Off Duty, Operation I’m Doing Telework on Peddays, Operation Too Many Meetings, and Operation I’m Working from Home! At the same time, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT will organize “commando” type actions to gain local visibility, along with provincial mobilization actions, so that the media and general public can understand the distress and difficulties experienced by teachers before the pandemic, which have been accentuated by the health crisis.

Discussions to come

Mobilization will be put on the agenda for discussion in November, so that the overall relevance of seeking a strike mandate before Christmas can be considered.

Given that the FSE-CSQ and QPAT have reached the mediation stage, and given the employer’s lack of goodwill, a strike mandate at this stage of the talks would be perfectly legal. Teachers will decide if this is the route they wish to take.

The pandemic has highlighted the network’s fragility and the extensive needs of the people who keep it afloat on a daily basis. Staff shortages, increasingly complex and heavy workloads and service shortfalls are taking their toll on teachers. Teachers are overwhelmed and stressed. The growing fatigue and increasingly distress among teachers give us cause to be worried about the future of our profession. Urgent action is needed to turn things around.

The Government has a duty to act, and we believe it also has the means to do so. Enough is enough. Things have to change now!

Heidi Yetman
President of QPAT

Although this very unusual start to the new school year comes with plenty of concerns of its own, the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ) and the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) nevertheless want to provide an update on the status of negotiations at the sectorial table.

In the last few months, with the pandemic, teachers have not really been focused on the negotiations, but in spite of this, the Government insisted on moving forward in an attempt to ensure social stability in the fall.

In the May 28, 2020 edition of Info-Nego, we told you that, on May 26, the Treasury Board President at the time, Christian Dubé, had published the offers submitted to Government employees on May 22. The FSECSQ and QPAT informed the Government’s negotiators that they were extremely disappointed with the proposals made.

On June 9, the FSECSQ and QPAT negotiating teams tabled a real proposal for an agreement in principle that took into account the changing economic, social and political context resulting from the pandemic, and reflected the teachers’ firm and valid wish for concrete improvements to the conditions in which they must work.

Unfortunately, over the following three weeks, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT realized that the employer party’s claim of wanting to reach an agreement before summer was nothing more than a façade, and that it never truly intended to negotiate seriously.

The employer party remained firmly entrenched behind the May 22 proposal. It also demonstrated no significant openness to the union’s proposals.

Given this, and the abyss separating the employer’s offer from the union’s demands, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT concluded that the negotiation process had ground to a halt and that it would beimpossible to reach a satisfactory agreement before the summer. It was against this backdrop that the union filed a request for mediation on June 26, while clearly indicating its wish to continue the negotiations if the employer was willing to consider the teachers’ demands and situation. 

In spite of this new invitation to the Government, asking it to at least think about the teachers’ valid demands, there have been no other negotiation meetings since June 29. On August 31, the mediator appointed to the case concluded that the parties were still too far apart to attempt an agreement. Her report will be published in the next few days.

“Teachers’ everyday lives were already difficult before the pandemic, and will be even harder this year, in particular because many vulnerable students were unable to receive follow-up from school teams during the lockdown, and because the pandemic has hastened the retirement of numerous teachers, exacerbating the staff shortage and placing additional pressure on those who remain,” said QPAT President Heidi Yetman. 

“The employer’s latest offer was insulting and had the effect of rallying the teachers’ opposition to it. With 97% voting against the offer, the rejection was categorical. The appointment of Sonia LeBel as President of the Treasury Board opens the door to a change of tone in the negotiations. As a woman, will she be more inclined than her predecessors to correct the discrimination of which teachers are victims under the Pay Equity Act?” said FSE-CSQ Vice-President Luc Gravel. 

“Regardless, I hope the teachers were able to relax during the summer. We need them to be in good shape this fall to take on the Government. Thanks to its lack of sincerity in the process so far, the negotiations are far from over,” concluded Mr. Gravel. 

As the new school year begins, the FSE-CSQ and QPAT have resumed their mobilization activities, which were interrupted by the health crisis. Among other things, our members have been invited to wear their mobilization t-shirts. Other pressure tactics and outreach activities are planned for the coming weeks and months, in schools and at the provincial level, and will change as the negotiation evolves.

In education, things have to change now!

September 2020

In the last few days, the Government has announced that it will be paying different premiums to different groups of workers in the health system. It has therefore focused its negotiating efforts with the groups concerned in the health sector.

At our level, we have had several meetings with employers’ representatives to discuss our sectorial demands. During these talks, we have learned that, for the Treasury Board, demands with monetary implications no longer fall under sectorial authority. In other words, these subjects will have to be discussed at a different table. The situation is similar for our FSE colleagues. We are currently trying to explain to the employers’ representatives that it is vital for us to be able to discuss the problems that are specific to us, and that it is not only the monetary question that should prevail. The students’ learning conditions and our own working conditions deserve attention, even during a pandemic. The situation in schools is likely to be more complex when we eventually return to the classroom.

On Friday, April 3, the Treasury Board President said that, since the premiums and safety measures for front-line workers have been settled, the Government is now prepared to negotiate the working conditions of the remaining public sector workers. We will be doing everything we can to obtain information on the Government’s intentions. Does it truly want to resolve our working conditions, or does it want to take advantage of the current situation to force a settlement? The next few days will provide the answer.

As soon as we are able to obtain relevant information, we will pass it on to you. In the meantime, we hope your personal situation is not too difficult and that you are applying the self-isolation measures.

In this time of crisis, the situation changes very quickly. The negotiation context of three weeks ago no longer exists today. On March 23, the Government decided it absolutely had to settle all the collective agreements before March 29. With the self-isolation measures currently in force, we are hardly in the best situation to respond.

Nevertheless, we have worked with our colleagues from the Cartel (CSQ and FSE) to prepare a counter-proposal that will secure and protect our members’ interests.

Our counter-proposal

1. Salaries

2.2% on April 1, 2020

2.2% on April 1, 2021

2% on March 31, 2022

• A clause to protect purchasing power if inflation risesabove 2.2% for each year;
• An adjustment mechanism for the 2021 and 2022increases, if the economy recovers quickly (with economic indicators).
 
2. At the sectorial level: a dedicated budget envelope, to be negotiated until June 30, 2020, or later, depending on the context. The envelopes are guaranteed.
 
3. Temporary measures for salaried employees working in essential services (health network, childcare and related services).

This counter-proposal was presented to Treasury Board representatives on the evening of March 25. We are currently awaiting a response from the employer. Our goal throughout this process, accelerated by the Government, will be to protect the interests of the members we represent.

Negotiations Have Begun!
February 6 2020

We tabled our sector-based demands on October 18 last, and received the employer’s response on December 17. Below are the main elements of our demands and the corresponding responses from the employer. It is important to note that the employer’s submission is in the form of broad principles that are not always precise. However, we can easily deduce the desired changes.

Our Demands
The Employer’s Response
Our demands include a reduction in the number of students per group in kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds and in the first year of elementary school.
The employer’s response was to question the relevance of a school board average and to increase the number of reasons for non-compliance with maximum student numbers per group. Review (increase) in the number of students per group in secondary cycle one.
For students with special needs, we asked for more special classes, mandatory provision of services for students, limits on the duration of an at-risk student’s status, and consideration of the number of individualized education plans when deciding on the number of students in a group.
The employer’s response was to withdraw a priori weighting for the three types of students entitled to it; to state that a teacher must have implemented pedagogical or social intervention strategies before requesting services; and to review the duties and responsibilities of teachers when establishing an individualized education plan, in particular during preparation, implementation and monitoring of the plan.
Regarding the workload, we asked for teaching time to be reduced at preschool and elementary levels. For all teachers, we asked for assigned time to be reduced and work of a personal nature to be increased, and for supervision to be eliminated other than for student reception and movements.
The employer’s response was to increase the assigned workload and the number of hours of work at school and to state that the teachers’ workweek is 40 hours. In adult education and vocational training, the workweek will be spread over seven days, daytime and evening. There is also an obligation to be available to meet specific occasional or urgent needs.

As you can see, there is an enormous gap between our view of the improvements required and the employer’s view of what would improve our working conditions – since the employer claims that its goal is to improve teachers’ working conditions in order to attract more young people to the profession.

Disappointing and insulting offers from the employer
February 2020

On December 17 last, as part of the 2020 negotiations for renewal of the collective agreements, the Government tabled what would become its sectorial demands. Far from responding to our demands, the Government’s response is an affront to teachers and represents a complete break from its discourse and promises for the education sector.

In response to the union’s proposals, the Government tabled 91 employer demands, many of which would increase the workload. A large percentage of these demands were also in the employer’s offers from the previous round of negotiations, almost as if there had been no change of Government since that time.

The following pages set out the main lines and principal elements from the employer’s demands, which we have compared to our union proposals. Full information is available on our website and from your union representatives.

Group Sizes

Union Proposals 1

Reduce group sizes in kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds, in Grade 1 and in special classes.

Employer's Demands 1

Review the relevance of the notion of school board average for all groups of each type of student.
Add grounds for exceeding maximum group numbers, in addition to the four grounds currently provided for in the Agreement.
Review the rules governing group formation in Secondary Cycle One.

FSE-CSQ and QPAT analysis

While we asked for group sizes to be reduced at these crucial levels, the employer has questioned the relevance of group averages and even wants to increase the number of oversized groups by adding to the list of grounds for exceeding maximum group numbers!

The employer went so far as to mention “… the lack of any correlation between the number of students per group and educational success …”.

Special needs students in regular classes

Union Proposals 1

Increase the number of special classes to meet the needs of ALL students for whom this option is deemed best after evaluation.
Simplify the recognition process for special needs students and reduce its duration.
Make it compulsory to obtain services for special needs students.
Limit the possible duration of at-risk status for students in regular classes from elementary grades 2 to 6 in schools that are not located in disadvantaged areas, and consider the number of individualized education plans at every level in a given school when establishing maximum student numbers.

Employer's Demands 1

Remove the a priori weighting for the three types of students concerned and replace it with a service approach based on an analysis of each student’s needs and abilities.
Clarify the fact that the teacher must have implemented pedagogical or social intervention strategies before requesting services.
Review the functions and responsibilities of teachers in the individualized education plan team, especially during preparation, implementation and monitoring of the plan.

FSE-CSQ and QPAT analysis

This will effectively increase the size of classes that include students who currently receive a priori weighting.
This suggests that teachers do not already start out by trying different strategies before requesting services. It is insulting! In addition, it creates a requirement to inform the administration of the remedial measures applied.
Instead of simplifying the process of obtaining services, the employer wants to add requirements and pile additional responsibilities on the teachers’ shoulders!
There is nothing about class composition!

Size of workload, lack of time and autonomy

Union Proposals 1

At the secondary level and in adult education and vocational training, convert one hour of additional workload into work of a personal nature.

At the elementary level, make sure that one hour of teaching per week in Art or Ethics and Religious Culture is performed by a teacher other than the dedicated homeroom teacher, and replace that hour by an hour of work of a personal nature.

At the preschool level, reduce the education and development time by one and a half hours and replace it by one hour of work of a personal nature and half an hour of other educational workload.

Reduce the educational workload of specialist teachers based on the number of groups and number of buildings.

Remove supervision from the workload of teachers other than for arrivals and movements around the school, without changing the duration of the educational workload.

Employer's Demands 1

Include in the general principles:

  • The teacher’s role in the life of the school, to develop more of a culture of collaboration;
  • The teacher’s responsibility to use appropriate methods of providing the quality education that students are entitled to expect.

Strengthen the requirement for teachers to undergo professional development throughout their career and to commit to a development plan.

Stipulate that continuous professional development must, among other things, take into account the needs of the students and optimal use of digital technology.

Provide that teachers must transfer the content of their learning (from professional development) to their professional practice.

Ensure a fairer distribution of tasks and optimal use of teachers.

Relax the rules governing the assignment of teachers throughout the year.

Provide that teachers must be available to meet specific, occasional and urgent needs.

Provide that teachers must play an active role in implementing the commitment-to-success plan and the educational project.

Provide that teachers must update their approaches based on best pedagogical practices.

Introduce a responsibility for teachers to adjust their teaching approach to the needs and abilities of the individual students entrusted to their care.

Add the requirement to use digital tools for learning and for certain pedagogical and administrative responsibilities.

Increase the number of hours of presence at school and, as a result, the weekly timetable.

Establish that the teacher’s work extends beyond the time during which he or she is present at school.
Increase the assigned workload and daily span.

In vocational training and adult education
Organize, supervise and take part in student activities.

Play an active role in the centre’s promotional activities.

Provide for the possibility of spreading the workload over a full year.

FSE-CSQ and QPAT analysis

This is a long series of elements, almost all of which focus on increasing the workload, adding responsibilities and obligations and reducing teachers’ autonomy. There are no assistance or support measures, and no reductions of the workload, which is, however, already considerable at this point.

These are coercive measures relating to professional development, suggesting that teachers currently do not take training and are resistant to training.

Despite the political discourse, many of these demands constitute direct and unjustifiable interference with professional autonomy!

The terms used (e.g. “relaxation”, “requirement to be available”, “optimal use”) lead directly or indirectly to a heavier workload.

In vocational training and adult education

These additions would make compulsory elements that are currently voluntary, and would increase the workload.

The employer is demanding that teachers should be available seven days a week throughout the year!

Teachers' Salaries

Union Proposals 1

Apply an increase of 8% to the salary scale of all teachers.

Significantly increase the compensation payable for oversized groups of students.

Provide for additional remuneration of $40 for completion of a form requested by a case worker/stakeholder outside the school board, where the request is approved by the school or centre administration.

Naturally, obtain the same salary increases as the rest of Québec’s public sector.

Employer's Demands 1

FSE-CSQ and QPAT analysis

The employer has offered absolutely nothing in its sectorial demands, even though this was the best possible opportunity to demonstrate its intention to improve teachers’ salaries.

The Government has not even upheld its election promise to eliminate the first six steps on the salary scale.

This is not how the Government will attract new candidates and keep existing teachers.

Vulnerable status and entry into the profession

Union Proposals 1

Introduce a support mechanism (mentoring), in which participation would be voluntary, by allowing for a reduction of course and lesson time for mentors and new teachers.

In vocational training, allow for time in the additional workload to take courses towards a Bachelor’s degree in vocational training.

Increase the rate for occasional supply teaching.

Remove the maximum paid time by adding a rate for supply teaching periods of more than 270 minutes.

Employer's Demands 1

Introduce a requirement into the Collective Agreement for teachers to take part in the school board’s professional insertion measures.

Provide that the situation for new teachers must be taken into account when assigning tasks.

FSE-CSQ and QPAT analysis

The employer party talks about compulsory participation, not voluntary participation.

There is no workload reduction for mentors and mentorees.

Other employer demands

Recognize the specific, additional expertise of certain teachers.

Relax the current provisions to be able to use remedial teaching resources to the full, in order to meet the needs of students and schools.

Review the provisions applicable to teachers on availability.

Provide for a pre-qualification period for the teachers’ salary insurance plan.

State that a teacher cannot terminate a period of unpaid leave or a progressive retirement contract in order to receive salary insurance benefits.

Include special provisions in the salary insurance plan for teachers who return to work and are receiving a retirement pension from a public retirement plan administered by Retraite Québec.

Cease paying the difference between the income replacement benefit paid by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) and the full salary of teachers who have suffered workplace injuries.

What the FSE-CSQ and QPAT thinks of them

Would these be the emeritus teachers mentioned by the Minister?

The employer’s intention is to call employment security into question, including the 50 km rule.

In the full submission, the employer party has included nine demands relating to salary insurance and protection in cases involving workplace injuries. All these demands tend to suggest that someone on the employer’s side thinks teachers are misusing the system!

The FSE-CSQ and QPAT have pointed out that, in their opinion, the Government has exhibited a clear lack of consideration for teachers, and instead of giving them oxygen, it has smothered them even more than last time.

The FSE-CSQ and QPAT cannot believe the Government truly sees these demands as any kind of solution to the problems experienced in schools, or as a response to the needs that teachers have expressed unequivocally over the years. The Government had promised changes to help teachers, and the disappointment is crushing for all those teachers who want true improvements to their working conditions and the problems they face. Teachers have put solutions on the table, but those solutions have not been taken up by the Government. More than ever before, we need to come together to improve our working and teaching conditions. The discussions have only just begun, and this is only the start of a long process, the outcome of which will be determined to a large extent by the involvement of everyone concerned. We will keep you informed of developments at the sectorial table on a regular basis.

1The complete demands are available from QPAT-APEQ and union representatives.

On December 17, the Comité patronal de négociation pour les commissions scolaires anglophones (CPNCA) deposited their counter-offer to our QPAT negotiation team.

It is with much disappointment that QPAT received this counter-offer. If the government wants to value the teaching profession, it is not reflected in the CPNCA proposal. As a matter of fact, this proposal is a direct attack on teacher professionalism and an increase in their responsibilities.

Here are some of the key demands:

For all teachers (Youth, Adult Education and Vocational Training):

  • Increase presence time to 35 hours with the understanding that the workweek is a total of 40 hours;
  • Increase assigned time;
  • Include obligatory professional development in the general duties of teachers;
  • Revise the general duties and responsibilities of teachers in the collective agreement (e.g., ensure the participation of teachers in the life of the school, ensure that teachers contribute to the multi-disciplinary team of the school and its mission, etc.);
  • Obligatory mentoring for all new teachers and an obligation for other teachers to become mentors;
  • Revise personnel mobility (50 km rule).

Youth Sector:

  • Revise group formation (possible removal of class size averages, revision of high school cycle one class sizes and additional reasons to justify larger class sizes);
  • Removal of a priori weighting for codes 14, 50 and 53;
  • Increase the average teaching time at the high school level;
  • Teachers need to demonstrate that they incorporate and adapt pedagogical interventions to meet the needs of each student;
  • Revision of Appendix XXIX (a minimum number of remedial teachers and resource teachers);
  • Revise teachers’ roles and increase responsibilities;
  • Obligation for elementary teachers to do remediation for all students in the school.

 

Adult Education:

  • Include the possibility of working at the weekends.

Vocational Training:

  • Include the weekend in a regular workweek (maximum 40 hours);
  • Review hiring conditions for teachers teaching international students;
  • Remove the obligatory 4-week vacation in July.

“I’m so disappointed. The government has decided, once again, to dismiss the teaching profession. Teachers have always put their students as their first priority. When we improve the lives of teachers, we improve the lives of students. This deposit does nothing to improve the working conditions of teachers, nor improve services to students. This is an austerity proposal during a time of government budgetary surplus. We are far away from valuing the teaching profession. It’s shameful.”

Heidi Yetman

President of QPAT

“Every year we slip further and further behind.”
December 13 2019

On December 12, the Legault Government offered the public sector a 7% salary increase over 5 years.

Earlier this week, Statistics Canada published the teachers’ salaries from across Canada for the 2017-2018 school year.

The publication (available here: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/81-604-x/2019001/tbl/tblc3.1-fra.htm) shows a 13% gap between teachers’ salaries in Québec and the average for Canada in 2017-2018. Even worse, compared to their colleagues in other provinces, Québec’s teachers will need at least five additional years of service to reach the top of their salary scale.

“This is insufficient. This year, inflation in Quebec has risen to over 2%. Simply to maintain our diminished purchasing power, it will require at least 2% per year. This does not include the countless other years with insignificant salary increases which were much lower than inflation. Every year we slip further and further behind. Why aren’t teachers respected in this province? Our buying power is always decreasing. Very disappointing!”

Heidi Yetman

President of QPAT

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