At mid-day, unionized employees at the Philippe-Pinel National Institute of Legal Psychiatry demonstrated in front of the institution to demand heightened security measures to protect staff, patients and the public. The demands expressed CUPE members centre on tighter enforcement of existing protocols and wage recognition of specialized pacification and safety caseworkers (ISPS).

They are also demanding that prevention activities and programs be developed and maintained.

“The hazards of working at the Institute are well known and still present. One of the solutions is to make major headway during the process of re-evaluating the ISPS salary scale. To improve its expertise and its practices, the Institute must retain its ISPS and stop being a feeder system for federal correctional services, which pay far better salaries,” said Marie-Eve Desormeaux, president of CUPE 2960.

“All too often, we have to file complaints with the CNESST to get the employer to meet its obligations. These days, our employer is challenging all occupational health declarations, probably in an attempt to conceal the rise in incidents. In short, employees are extremely worried about this trend, and that is why they’re demonstrating today,” added Desormeaux.

Moreover, the union indicated that 303 occupational accident declarations were issued in 2019. This number climbed to 380 in 2020, and at the current pace, it will be topped in 2021. The union also pointed out that half of the personnel have less than five years’ seniority and that the management team at the institution is made up of new faces.

CUPE 2960 represents the some 700 employees of the Philippe-Panel Institute. They work as sociotherapists, specialized pacification and safety caseworkers (ISPS) and include the unit clerk supervisor, housekeeping attendant, food service attendant and an administrative officer.