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Carmant could give a specific title to the DPJ speakers

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant

The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, is evaluating the possibility of giving youth protection workers a job title distinct from the rest of the social workers in the Quebec network, which would allow him to offer different salaries.

“We haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s something we’re studying,” said the elected official from the Coalition Avenir Québec to the parliamentary press on Tuesday afternoon, in reaction to the grievances of youth protection workers reported this morning in the pages of Devoir.

They criticize Minister Carmant for going too far last fall by promising “significant” income increases to employees of the Directorate of Youth Protection (DPJ). These increases will be made through bonuses which are not reflected in the retirement plan and which, according to them, are too little different from the sums offered to social workers outside the DPJ. “Will it be enough to prevent the exodus or slow down the exodus ? I think that asking the question is answering it,” said one speaker, Isabelle C. Morin.

In 2021, the Laurent commission on children's rights and youth protection recommended the creation of a specific job title for DPJ workers. Approached in the minutes preceding question period in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Minister Carmant made it clear that implementing this proposal was “not that simple.”

“But clearly, there is specific training that we want to provide. It’s in the third phase,” said Mr. Carmant. The elected official is currently in the second phase of his network reform, initiated in 2021 with the tabling of bill 15 “modifying the Youth Protection Act and other legislative provisions”.

Without a specific title, youth protection workers, who have social worker training, have the same salary status as their colleagues outside the DYP. Even if they carry out, by the minister's own admission, “work which is difficult, which requires understanding a law” and “which is psychologically heavier, too”.

“As a matter of fairness, the government cannot give different salaries to employees who perform the same profession,” wrote Minister Carmant’s office to Devoir Monday.

$20,000 increase

In a press scrum on Tuesday, Mr. Carmant denied having promised too much to social workers in September when he affirmed in front of an audience of DPJ employees that it was necessary “really there is a more significant difference between those who work at the CLSC, in other programs, and those who work in youth protection.”

“I think $20,000 is significant,” he said, referring to the maximum increase in annual income that DPJ employees will be able to receive when their new collective agreement comes into effect.

The establishment of a 10% bonus for all those who work in youth centers or in evaluating reports has precisely the advantage of applying to all those involved in the protection of youth, observed Mr. Carmant. “That’s a significant gain,” he repeated.

Like the rest of their colleagues from the Common Front, the DPJ stakeholders will be able to fully see the results of the negotiations when their collective agreement comes into force – “in the coming weeks”, hopes the president of the Alliance of professional and technical personnel in health and social services, Robert Comeau.

“He did not deliver”

The Parti Québécois spokesperson for social services, Joël Arseneau, accuses Minister Carmant of “not having delivered” after his comments in the fall.

“We can imagine the disappointment, but above all the demobilization that this risks causing among those involved in the DPJ. In the current operating conditions, we can anticipate that the exodus of workers is likely to continue, which is of course dramatic for the network and the children waiting for services, support and support,” a- he said in a written statement sent to Devoir.

Liberal MP Brigitte Garceau, for her part, encouraged the minister to seriously study the addition of a DYP worker title. “There remain questions about the concrete actions he took to avoid the exodus of staff,” she said.

The solidarity MP for Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie, is also concerned that the agreements signed this winter will not have the expected effects. “Youth center workers need to have their professional autonomy respected and to be provided with the conditions to really help young people, not just monitor them. This is what it takes to keep them within the DPJ,” she argued.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116