COVID-19 | Québec must recognize the value of the work carried out by lab personnel
April 14, 2021
Montréal – The APTS is calling on the government to provide immediate financial recognition for the colossal work being done during the pandemic by the 5,000 people employed in Québec laboratories. Representing these employees, APTS members gathered today at lunchtime before the CHUM (Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal).
“These women and men have carried out over eight million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began,” noted Laure Letarte-Lavoie, 4th APTS vice-president. “Unfortunately, a number of labs are dangerously disorganized because of the labour shortage, which has been getting even worse over the past year. The government needs to reverse the trend by taking steps to support personnel attraction and retention in this crucially important sector.”
For years, the government has been publicly saying that the number of jobs in labs will be reduced. This negative publicity has caused enrolments to plummet in study programs leading to employment in labs. In addition, a majority of lab employees are now exhausted or disengaged as a result of the work pace imposed on them for many months. And as variants become more threatening, workloads are becoming even heavier because of new requirements to screen positive COVID-19 samples.
In order to maintain quality services in public labs, the government must take concrete steps immediately to:
- acknowledge the key contribution of lab personnel by taking immediate measures to provide financial recognition throughout the pandemic;
- publicly commit to the creation of new positions over the next few years, contrary to what has been repeated since 2016;
- act quickly to develop a portrait of the labs’ workforce as it is today, and rapidly disclose its findings at a meeting with the APTS;
- establish a comprehensive and concrete action plan to counteract the labour shortage in labs, similar to what has been done for nurses.
“We still don’t understand why the government is stubbornly refusing to give lab workers the 8% COVID premium or the rising scale premium, which can amount to as much as $1,000,” says Letarte-Lavoie. “By playing deaf, they’re maintaining a deeply unfair situation.”
The APTS (Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux) represents a total of 60,000 members who play a key role in ensuring that health and social services institutions run smoothly. Our members provide a wide range of services for the population as a whole, including diagnostic, rehabilitation, nutrition, psychosocial intervention, clinical support, and prevention services.