The Conseil provincial des affaires sociales (CPAS-CUPE), which represents more than 30,000 workers in the health and social services sector in Quebec, is launching a vast campaign to raise awareness of the “United” front to save a system that “is dying.”
For a three-week period from March 13 to April 2, 30-second ads will run on television, radio and various digital platforms. The message is that “the day-to-day situation of men and women working in the public system is unsustainable” and that “at this rate, it won’t last much longer.” It calls for a broad-based call for unity, “Today, union representatives, who are also workers in the system, are calling on Quebec to support them to bring about a historic overhaul.”
This message will be aired on seven Cogeco radio stations and three Bell Media stations, during 16 Radio-Canada television shows and on the digital platforms of Quebecor, La Presse and Radio-Canada, in addition to the social media.
This campaign also includes a series of seven videos each three minutes in length, in which union presidents provide an authentic and sincere account of the current state of the system.
For example, there is one video in which Linda St-Denis, a personal support worker at the CHSLD Heather, says that she looks after “the elderly. You know them – the people who were once babies, children, adolescents and parents – who have now reached the end of the line. The very least we can do is take care of them. But if we workers fall ill, how can you expect us to care for those people?”
“At the present time, there is a shortfall of 54,000 workers in the health and social services system. This is equal to twice the capacity of the Bell Centre,” said Maxime Ste-Marie, president of the CPAS, during an interview. “This is pretty much the last chance for the government. We’ve got to give them a jolt to improve the working conditions of these men and women who take care of Quebeckers. Yes, this is about the working conditions of people in the system, but it’s also about public services. I believe that we, as members of the public, must mobilize.”
Samuel Sicard, who is an administrative process specialist at the CIUSSS of South-Central Montreal and was invited to address the government about the current state of the health and social services system. During his remarks, he was visibly moved and took a deep breath before saying, “Listen to the workers. We’re there days, evenings, and nights. We know what the solutions are. Take care of us and take care of the system.”