Québec Ombudsman’s annual report 2022-2023 | When public services are severely impaired by staff shortages
September 21, 2023
Montréal – In response to the Québec Ombudsman’s recently tabled 2022-2023 annual report, Front commun spokespersons have asserted once again that staff shortages are at the heart of current public-sector contract talks, with the report confirming a situation that employees in public institutions have been sharply criticizing for a long time.
“We’ve said this many times: to keep the expertise of workers in our public institutions and recruit new people, we need more attractive jobs, better working conditions, and competitive pay,” said CSN first vice-president François Enault, CSQ president Éric Gingras, FTQ president Magali Picard and APTS president Robert Comeau, speaking on behalf of the Front commun. “And contract talks are the only way to achieve that. When we say that the future of our public services is something that matters to all of us, that’s exactly what is confirmed by the findings in the Ombudsman’s report. Yes, breaks in services really do happen – and solutions, honestly, are known.”
The Front commun spokespersons also mentioned a survey recently carried out by SOM on Quebecers’ perceptions of contract talks. Released by the Front commun earlier this week, survey results show that Quebecers clearly support employees working in public schools, health care, social services, and higher education. A very significant majority (87%) believe that the government should improve its employees’ working conditions in order to remain competitive in the labour market. To defend public services, the Front commun invites all Quebecers to join the demonstration taking place in the streets of Montréal this Saturday, September 23. Participants will be gathering at Jeanne-Mance Park at 1 p.m.
“If the government still needs proof, this report provides damning evidence: staff shortages are leading to reduced levels of service,” added Front commun representatives. “There’s an urgent need for massive investments in our public services. Yes, work organization is important, but we’re no longer at the point where we can do more with less. There are limits to flexibility, especially when our priorities haven’t been heard at the bargaining tables. In our public systems, there is nothing left that can be cut – period. And our demands reflect the needs and expectations of the 420,000 workers we represent. Together as one, they’re telling us that they’re ready to mobilize to get the conditions they deserve.”
For more information on current contract talks: https://www.frontcommun.org/.
The Front commun
Together, the CSN, CSQ, FTQ and APTS represent over 420,000 public-sector workers who are employed by the Québec government in schools, health and social services, and higher education