Compensation for biomedical engineering technical coordinators and executive assistants | Government stubbornly committed to acting in bad faith
June 29, 2023
Montréal – After the Québec Superior Court ruled against the Québec government last March in a case relating to the evaluation of the biomedical engineering technical coordinator job title, the government has stubbornly chosen to hold its course. Just as it did in the case of university teaching assistants and executive assistants, it is using underhanded ploys to try and avoid paying its own employees the amounts they have been owed since 2008. Unions representing health and social service workers are fiercely critical of the government’s shady maneuvers.
“It’s pretty extraordinary to see how far the employer is willing to go to avoid paying sums that have been owed for almost fifteen years,” said representatives of the APTS, the FP-CSN, the FSSS-CSN, the FSQ-CSQ, the FIQ, CUPE Québec and the SQEES-FTQ.
In addition to not complying with the 90-day time limit for paying amounts owed to employees, the health and social services ministry (MSSS) has told institutions in the health and social services system that amounts owed should be calculated on the basis of a salary scale unilaterally established by the MSSS; this scale is disadvantageous for employees, even though they have achieved a higher salary ranking. The government brazenly asserts that according to this new salary scale, most biomedical engineering technical coordinators and executive assistants were overpaid in the past.
The government used a similar tactic in 2020, tampering with salary scales following the evaluation of the university teaching assistant job title. This ploy shows a deep contempt for the women and men who keep the health and social services system going 24/7, and raises concerns about the evaluations that will be carried out for other job titles in the system.
Biomedical engineering technical coordinators had been waiting for their job title to be fully acknowledged ever since it was created in 2008. In February 2022, a specialized arbitrator ruled in favour of the evaluation carried out by the unions. The MSSS challenged that ruling before the Superior Court. The court found against the MSSS in February 2023, giving the Ministry 90 days to pay retroactive amounts. A similar treatment had previously been meted out to university teaching assistants and executive assistants, who waited years for full recognition after their job titles were created in 2011.
“Whatever it means to be ‘an employer of choice,’ surely the definition doesn’t include getting to choose whether or not you pay what you owe,” said the union representatives. “The government has to stop hiding behind the administrative smoke and mirrors it relies on to avoid paying our members the money they’re owed. This is unacceptable, and given the current labour shortage, treating employees so badly just goes to show that our system’s managers are completely disconnected from job market realities.”
Unions representing these job titles will continue to take recourse as needed to ensure that their members’ rights are respected and that they receive fair compensation for the work they do.
APTS, FP-CSN, FSSS-CSN, FSQ-CSQ, FIQ, CUPE Québec, SQEES-FTQ