Union activism in a transformed work environment was the theme of the last Centrale’s congress which took place June 28-30, 2021. Streamed online on a web platform from a recording studio, the event was a success.

New orientations

The Congress being the supreme authority of the Centrale, it’s during this event that the CSQ’s major goals, priorities and action outlines are defined for the next three years. Grouped under four themes that tackle the union and social values of our organization, many important decisions were voted.

1. Women’s right to true equity

The pandemic hits the public services hard, hitting at the same time the women who occupy a large part of the jobs. Yet, their contribution is essential to get through the crisis.

Over the next triennium, the Centrale commits to continue its work in pay equity matters to make known and defend the full and fair value of the predominantly female jobs—notably those involving care and support—and to acknowledge and defend the essential nature of those jobs and of the work that these women accomplish for the whole of Québec’s society.

The CSQ will continue to exert political pressure on the government for a revision of the Pay Equity Act to give a real decision-making power to the employees during audit processes. This law must impose reasonable legal delays to settle the resulting disputes.

In the care and support working environment, our organization will work for the acknowledgement that many work stoppages should be treated as medical leave and professional occupational injury, not personal ones.

2. The public sector in the centre of socio-economic recovery

The health crisis exacerbated the catastrophic effects of the chronic underfunding of the public, parapublic and community sectors for decades. It also highlighted the fundamental importance of the tasks and functions carried out by the members of the CSQ, particularly in this crisis context.

The current economic model, which is essentially oriented towards the private sector, needs to be re-examined. The CSQ wishes the recovery to include all the professions of the public, parapublic and community sectors as well as their workers. It must be focused on a fair transition and on a major reinvestment in the public services.

3. Labour and social security laws adapted to the new realities

The job market is changing and the resulting needs for social security as well. The social laws and the labour laws, at the provincial and at the federal level, need to be updated to be coherent with the new job market realities.

The issues regarding telework and the increased digital use, like the right to disconnect and the right to privacy, are a priority. For the CSQ, it’s essential that laws be created to oversee those. It commits to raise members’ awareness to the risks of continuous connection and claims that mental health must be recognized as being as important as physical health.

4. Activism in a transformed work environment

How to exercise our activism in a working environment that changes and gets more and more complex? During the next triennium, the Centrale will explore and put in place non-traditional activism avenues to reach members so they can take action around its collective project.

It will be important to promote a better collaboration and a greater internal union cohesiveness to highlight the CSQ and its affiliates’ interests. Among the Congress decisions, it was voted to create a day of appreciation for union activism, to promote it and invite members to participate.