Shortage of psychologists in the public sector | Unions ask for meeting with five ministers to break the stalemate
November 24, 2022
Montréal, – Facing a critical situation arising from the shortage of psychologists in the public health, social services, education and college sectors, a coalition of eight labour organizations today called on Treasury Board president Sonia LeBel, health minister Christian Dubé, education minister Bernard Drainville, higher education minister Pascale Déry, and Lionel Carmant, minister responsible for social services, to meet with them as soon as possible. The first major obstacle to be addressed in order to deal with the shortage is the government’s refusal to resolve pay equity audit complaints filed under the Pay Equity Act after the audit carried out by the Treasury Board in 2015.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to ensure that the public sector can provide Quebecers with psychological services,” said spokespersons of the APTS, FP-CSN, FPPC-CSQ, FPPE-CSQ, FSSS-CSN, CPAS–CUPE Québec, SPPLRN–CUPE Québec and SPGQ. “But right now, the pay and working conditions of public-sector psychologists make it impossible to either attract these professionals to the public sector or retain them, despite their crucially important role. Children and people in distress face unacceptably long waiting lists – and in some cases, this means that lives are in jeopardy. Pay adjustments are absolutely necessary if we want to end the shortage of psychologists in the public sector.”
The unions were appalled by the response they received from the Treasury Board Secretariat on November 16 confirming the latter’s refusal to set up a forum to resolve pay equity audit complaints from 2015.
“We need to abolish pay discrimination immediately, and then develop solutions to improve the working conditions of psychologists so that we can restore a state of balance favouring the needs of the public sector,” said the union spokespersons. “The government isn’t even willing to start resolving complaints that have been dragging on for close to seven years. That’s outrageous! A do-nothing approach is no longer appropriate. Urgent action is needed to attract and retain personnel – that’s what will make it possible for us to provide all Quebecers with access to mental health services.”
Source: APTS, FP-CSN, FPPC-CSQ, FPPE-CSQ, FSSS-CSN, CPAS–CUPE Québec, SPPLRN–CUPE Québec and SPGQ