A word from our president

Dear APTS members,

We’re starting a series of special general assemblies at which you'll be invited to vote on the global offer presented by the government on June 22.

At the APTS General Council on July 13 and 14, your union delegates decided that this offer, while it does include significant advances, does not provide enough to justify adopting it as an agreement in principle between the APTS and the Québec government. However, delegates did want to submit this offer to a democratic vote on the part of APTS members.

Many things have changed in Québec since the beginning of the current round of bargaining talks. The pandemic completely transformed the situation in terms of public finances and the activities that usually structure our lives as union members and activists. And its impact on bargaining talks, of course, has been significant.

Many of you wrote to us, and we hope you’ll find answers below to your questions about the government offer.

Our salary projection tool (in French) will tell you about the impact of the government’s proposed increases on your pay. When using this tool, keep in mind that it does not take into account any premiums that may apply to your job title and position.

Robert Comeau, APTS interim president

Employer offer

The offer presented below, covering both intersectoral and sectoral matters, must be viewed as an integral whole.  

The proposed collective agreement will cover three years, starting April 1, 2020, and ending March 31, 2023.

Intersectoral matters consist of pay, regional disparities, retirement, and parental rights. These matters are shared by all of the public sector (i.e. the education system, the health and social services system, and the civil service) and are discussed at the central bargaining table, which is separate from the bargaining table where sectoral matters specific to the APTS are discussed. Some other issues, including certain premiums and provisions related to insurance, have also been discussed at the central bargaining table because of their impact on other sectors.

Pay

General parameters

The government is offering pay increases of 2% per year for all employees. Every salary rate and salary scale in force on March 31 will increase by 2% on April 1 for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022. Given the compound effect of the increases, pay will increase by 6.1% over three years.

Additional increase

In addition to the above-mentioned general parameters that apply to all employees, an additional increase of 1% on April 1, 2022, is granted to echelons 1 to 9 for job titles included in rankings 12 to 28. All job titles represented by the APTS are included in these rankings. Salary scales for rankings 12 to 18 include 12 echelons, while rankings 19 to 28 include 18 echelons. The government presents this measure as a way of encouraging employees to enter the profession. For echelons 1 to 9, the increase means a permanent move up within the salary structure, which means that it does not solely affect employees who are at those echelons on April 1, 2022. Thirty-four per cent of APTS members are directly targeted by this increase since they are currently at one of the echelons between 1 and 9 of their salary scale.

In short, echelons 1 to 9 will receive a 3% raise on April 1, 2022, while echelons 10 to 18 will receive 2%.

Consult our Salary projection tool (in French) to measure the impact of the government’s proposed increases on your pay.

Retroactivity

Pay increases will be retroactive to April 1, 2020, which means that each employee will receive the same compensation as if the pay increase had been granted on that date. The value of premiums based on percentages (such as the evening- and night-shift premiums, the critical care premium, and the retention premiums for lawyers and psychologists) will be recalculated on the basis of the increased salary. However, the employer’s offer specifies that the 4% and 8% COVID premiums established by ministerial order will not be recalculated in this way, which means that there will be no retroactive payment for these premiums.

Employees will receive retroactive payments within ninety days after the collective agreement is signed.

Additional compensation (lump-sum payments)

The government is offering to pay two lump-sums. These will be given to all employees and will be based on the number of hours they were paid during the reference period.

The first lump-sum payment is equal to $0.33 for every hour paid between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. For an employee having worked full time (35 hours a week), this works out to approximately $600. This additional compensation will be provided as a single payment 30 days after the collective agreement is signed.

The second lump-sum payment is equal to $0.33 for every hour paid between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. For an employee working full time (35 hours a week), this works out to approximately $600. This additional compensation will be provided as a single payment included in the pay preceding January 15, 2022.

Paid hours used to calculate lump-sum payments include overtime and hours for which the employee received disability insurance, maternity, paternity or adoption benefits, parental leave allowance, or benefits paid by the CNESST, IVAC or the SAAQ, as well as benefits paid by the employer in cases of work-related accidents.

Regional disparities

Tax losses related to trips out

Under regional disparities provisions, the employer pays for trips out so that employees working in remote areas can go back home a few times a year. However, the third and fourth trips out for employees working in some places, including Fermont and the Basse-Côte-Nord (Blanc-Sablon), are viewed as taxable benefits. This means that an employee who makes a third or a fourth trip out currently incurs a significant penalty, since the payment received as reimbursement for the trip is viewed as income under tax laws, and the employee is therefore required to pay a substantial amount in taxes.

To mitigate this tax loss, the government is offering annual compensation equivalent to 50% of expenses incurred for the third and fourth trips out during the previous calendar year. For instance, an employee who makes a trip out at a cost of $2,000 must currently pay approximately $740 in taxes (based on a tax rate of 37%). Under the government offer, this person will also receive $1000 from the employer (50% of the cost of the $2,000 trip). This amount will also be taxable ($370 in taxes), so that the person will receive a net amount of $630. In the end, the person will pay only $110 in taxes ($740 - $630).

Trip out for a family member or a friend

A trip out may currently be used by a non-resident spouse to visit an employee living in an area listed in the regional disparities provisions.

This benefit will be extended so that the trip out may also be used by a non-resident friend or relative. “Relative” in this case is a category that includes, among others, a person’s child, father, mother, brother, sister, stepfather, stepmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law and daughter-in-law.

Provincial joint committee with a budget allocation

The government is proposing to establish a provincial joint committee, consisting of APTS and government representatives, to try and find solutions for institutions facing severe workforce availability problems in territories that are far from major urban centres. The committee will be asked:

  1. to document and analyze, using indicators, the problems involved in attracting and retaining employees in the territories under study,
  2. to identify territories facing acute workforce availability problems,
  3. to help look for ways of mitigating the problem of workforce availability in the territories under study,
  4. to identify and disseminate the best practices to attract and retain employees in institutions with facilities in the territories under study,
  5. to agree on projects designed to respond to workforce availability issues in institutions with facilities in the territories under study,
  6. to provide the negotiating parties with recommendations, particularly with regard to measures that would have a significant impact in attracting and retaining as many employees as are needed in the territories under study,
  7. to produce a final report no later than three months after the collective agreement expires.

The committee will have a budget of $3,912,000 to set up projects designed to respond to workforce availability issues.

Retirement

The government offer does not provide for any change to the pension plan.

An inter-union working committee consisting of the APTS, the FIQ, the SPGQ, the SFPQ, the FAE and government representatives will be set up to review the parameters of the Government and Public Employees Retirement Plan (RREGOP) and to report to the negotiating parties, either jointly or not, six months before the collective agreement expires.

Parental rights

The government offer does not provide for any change to the parental rights plan.

An inter-union working committee consisting of the APTS, the FIQ, the SPGQ, the SFPQ, the FAE and government representatives will be set up to analyze some elements of the parental rights plan and make recommendations to the negotiating parties. This committee will also analyze the provisions on parental rights in the collective agreement to make sure they comply with the current legislative framework.

Forum on employees’ overall health

The government is proposing to establish a Forum, consisting of representatives of the APTS and the government, that will focus on employees’ overall health. This group will be given four mandates.

  1. Provide negotiating parties with recommendations for local, regional or provincial projects that could:
    1. improve the well-being of employees in their work environment,
    2. reduce the number and duration of absences related to disability,
    3. help employees go back to work and keep working after a period of disability while fully respecting their condition.
  2. Study ways of providing employees with better protection against acts of violence from service users or their family.
  3. Assess training offers and set up local, regional or provincial training projects designed to improve health, safety and well-being at work.
  4. Produce a preliminary report to be submitted to negotiating parties no later than May 31, 2022, and a final report to be submitted no later than three months after the collective agreement expires.

To carry out the projects chosen by the parties, the Forum will have a budget of $3,912,000, of which $1M would be specifically assigned to residential care units in rehabilitation centres for clients with intellectual disabilities (CRDIs) and to residences with continuous assistance (RACs).

Insurance plans

Basic health insurance plan

Under the collective agreement, the employer’s contribution to the basic health insurance plan is currently $5.97 per pay for participating employees insured for themselves and their dependants, and $2.39 per pay for participating employees insured for themselves alone.

The government is offering to triple the employer’s contribution, bringing it up to $17.91 per pay for participating employees insured for themselves and their dependants, and $7.17 per pay for participating employees insured for themselves alone.

Current contribution Proposed contribution
Participating employees insured for themselves and their dependants $5.97 per pay $17.91 per pay
 

Participating employees insured for themselves alone

$2.39 per pay $7.17 per pay

 

Disability insurance plan

Under the current disability insurance plan, benefits are calculated on the basis of salary according to the salary scale, which excludes a number of premiums. The government is offering to include premiums in the calculation of benefits to the extent that the employee regularly receives these premiums, but would exclude inconvenience premiums (evening-shift, night-shift and week-end premiums). The offer also states that when employees are on disability leave, their experience and their echelon advancement, if applicable, will be recognized.

Premium for working with clients who have severe behaviour disorders

Under the employer’s offer, Letter of Agreement No. 17 regarding employees working with clients who have severe behaviour disorders will be extended to September 30, 2023. The premium will continue on the same terms, i.e., $295 for technicians and $360 for professionals, for each set of 500 hours effectively worked.

CHSLD premium

The government is offering to extend Letter of Agreement No. 18 regarding employees working with clients in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) to September 30, 2023. The scope of the premium will be extended so that professionals working in specified activity centres can benefit from it. The amount of the premium remains the same, i.e., $180 for 750 hours effectively worked.

Retention premium for psychologists

The government is offering to extend the retention premium for psychologists to September 30, 2023. The premium given to psychologists working 70 hours or more per pay period will be increased by 2.7%, amounting to 9.6% of their salary. The premium for psychologists working at least 56 hours, and fewer than 70 hours, per pay period will remain at 4.1% of salary. The other terms of the premium remain unchanged, including provisions regarding the various kinds of leave that are deemed to be hours worked for purposes of premium eligibility.

Pay equity maintenance for physiotherapy job titles

The employer is offering to settle complaints related to the 2010 pay equity audit for the physiotherapist, clinical lecturer (physiotherapy) and assistant chief physiotherapist / assistant head physiotherapist job titles. Given the nature of these complaints and the adjustments made in 2015, the government is offering financial compensation for the years 2011 to 2015 for the physiotherapist and clinical lecturer (physiotherapy) job titles, ensuring that they receive the equivalent of the ranking applicable to that period.