CUPE via the Conseil provincial du soutien scolaire (CPSS) and the Conseil provincial des affaires sociales (CPAS) denounced the Quebec government’s decision to allow volunteers to perform repairs in schools, hospitals and businesses with under 10 employees.

According to the draft regulation, volunteers will be allowed to replace windows, sand and varnish floors, and install drywall and countertops in schools, hospitals, daycare centres and non-profit organizations (NPOs).

Even more disturbing is the fact that businesses with less than 10 employees will also be included.

“We think that the province is abandoning its responsibilities and passing them onto family volunteers.” In addition to harming tradespeople with the skills to perform these demanding tasks, the Government is opening the door to unreported work,” said Denis Bolduc, president of CUPE-Quebec.

He wanted to make it clear that the organization he chairs views volunteering as a valuable asset to our society; however, the transfer of responsibility from the government to citizens is another form of deregulation that could cause more problems than solutions. He gives as an example the health and safety of volunteers on a construction site.

“We know that every year, dozens of skilled workers are injured or die in workplace accidents. If qualified and equipped people are not immune to dangers, just imagine a volunteer with little experience,” said Bolduc.

CUPE-Quebec plans to be present at public consultations on the proposed regulation to ensure the Government understands the magnitude of the problems that this could create.

With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE is present in 10 sectors, including social services, communications, education, universities, energy, municipalities, government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, and the mixed sector.