The current pandemic has proven the limits of short-term accounting management. The already difficult working conditions have worsened, and you are likely experiencing, like everywhere else, the shortage of labour which is more significant and more severe than ever. The reality is that women are at the front of public services and have, for far too long, paid the price of austerity, cuts, and underinvestment.

We saw how disastrous the situation was when the government resorted to the Canadian Army and outrageously well-paid medical specialists to make up for the lack of personnel in CHSLDs. This was to compensate for the attendants' poor working conditions, denounced for many years. Due to a lack of staff in our schools, the CAQ government announced it would pay up to $412 per day for retired teachers to fill the shortage, demonstrating how desperate working conditions have become.

How did this happen? For years, we have been required to do more with less, regardless of the government of the day. The working environments and conditions of education, health, and higher education staff have been trampled on by decrees and special laws from budget to budget. For 20 years, governments have preferred to cut potential revenues by lowering taxes rather than investing in public services.

The austerity of recent years has hurt, and Québec has reached a crossroads: invest now in public sector working conditions or let the situation fall apart.