Education workers join Montreal rally calling for new contract

Union representing Nunavik workers cites education specialist shortage, poor living conditions as issues to be addressed

Members of education workers’ unions rally in front of a Quebec education department building in downtown Montreal on Wednesday. (Photo by Cedric Gallant)

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Car horns and music blared in the parking lot of a Quebec government building in downtown Montreal Wednesday at a rally by unions from around the province representing education workers seeking a new contract.

Approximately 30 people were at the rally.

Nunavik’s education professionals union president Carolane Desmarais protests alongside other education professionals in Montreal on Wednesday. (Photo by Cedric Gallant)

Outside the Education Ministry building, Carolane Desmarais, president of the Union of Professional Education Personnel of Nunavik and West of Montreal, handed out blue flags that read, “Pros de l’éducation en négotation,” meaning education professionals in negotiations.

“It’s an added challenge,” she said in French, regarding negotiating a contract for Nunavik’s teachers. “It has been years since we have had psychologists in Nunavik [schools], and we know all too well that it’s not because of a lack of need.

“We need to find a way to reach these people and have them integrate into the communities long-term.”

The education workers’ provincewide collective agreement with the Quebec government expired last year.

In negotiations, the federation representing 19 teachers’ unions from French and English-language school boards across the province is also calling for smaller class sizes and improved teaching for special-needs children.

According to Quebec Education Ministry information, positions for 180 psychologists, 176 speech therapists and 192 psycho-educators in Quebec schools remain unfilled.

Desmarais said living conditions faced by professionals working in Nunavik present one of the hurdles.

“When people decide to make the great leap and contribute, they often come to an apartment that often does not have clean water,” she said. “If they have kids, those living conditions won’t help our professionals integrate into the communities.”

Another problem, she said, comes with teachers who are actually hired from within the region.

“A vast proportion of teachers hired in Nunavik are not certified teachers,” she said, adding those teachers must be supported by academic advisers in their teaching methods, class management, and their empathetic approach to the communities.

“We owe it to students in Nunavik to have equal chances [like] the rest of the population,” Desmarais said. “And now we are in a context where we can’t offer them equality of opportunity, and it only perpetuates feelings of injustice.

“We need to be able to give the tools for the communities to become empowered, so that they reach their full potential.”

In Nunavik, the previous tentative agreement between Kativik School Board and the union representing about 130 employees that was ratified in April 2022, expired at the end of March this year.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Go figure!! on

    Majority of Nunavut’s SSA’s do not even process grade 7 reading, math credentials!! And these SSA’s I know have been with the GN for 10 + years. Yes their paper might say they went grade 9, 11 etc but their education level in real does not match up to grade 7

    • Posted by Steps to identify – Education? on

      It is what passes for conventional wisdom — and official department of education policy — in Nunavut, where high school dropout rates hover around 65%. It is a disturbing figure underpinned by a curious bit of pedagogical logic. It goes something like this: You pass the students, no matter what their abilities, and then, just like a CHARM, slam them into a brick wall of mandatory tests that they aren’t equipped to pass, because they have never had a chance to fail.

      And … so … guess what happens next? Mr. and Mrs. Charm continues to play the card game with free gifts to students (to get credit exposure) regardless of their education level. This is right under the nose of executive director, and are quire aware of the situation! Socio-pass? and what is end result?

  2. Posted by peter on

    MNA’s vote themselves a 30 thousand one time pay increase then offer teachers, professionals and support staff 9% over 5 years, this does not cover inflation. Time for the government to wake up, just saying.

  3. Posted by Broken Education System on

    The Education taught in Nunavut is certainly a broken system right under the nose of regional offices. A lot of of students handed grade 12 grads certificate are below grade seven level; and certainly NOT Academic level. This is know as Sociopath! Hand-out free gifts to students eludes to fish and game.

    Not many Nunavut students attend academic levels i.e. post-secondary. The majority student’s handed grade 12 certificates can still barely read proper English Grammar/ write including Math. This is all pretext system. This is just another thought! Suggestions???

    • Posted by Fabricated Education System on

      What is the actual % of Nunavut students enrollment in College or University opposed to 95% of sociopath taken into consideration i.e. free handouts of Grade 12 graduates certifications!?!

      This certainly makes Education system set-up somewhat flawed? Don’t you think? Just another thought!

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