Graham Hughes Archives The Canadian Press The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, in Montreal, in December 2020
Speakers in youth protection deserve among the highest salary increases in the public social services network, according to Minister Lionel Carmant. And he took care to tell his colleague at the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel.
“I told her clearly, and she knows it: what we did last time, the 7% premium, it didn’t have its effect,” he candidly said in an interview with Le Devoir, on the sidelines of the Day dedicated to the well-being and protection of youth, Friday, in Quebec.
“There really needs to be a more significant difference between those who work at the CLSC , in other programs, and those who work in youth protection. Because it is a difficult job, which requires understanding a law. Which is psychologically heavier, too,” adds the Minister responsible for Social Services.
Lionel Carmant is therefore hoping for a new differentiated offer, made especially for workers in the Youth Protection Directorate (DPJ). How much does he put it at? “I am pushing for the greatest possible difference” with the overall offer made to the public sector, the elected CAQ member is content to say.
“It must be part of the group which has more than the rest of the team, he said. [Sonia LeBel] is very sensitive to this. »
In the morning, Mr. Carmant was warmly welcomed by a room full of DPJ employees after he told them: “Your work is much more complicated and demanding than what is done in the CLSC. Your remuneration must reflect this. »
Your work is much more complicated and demanding than what is done in CLSC. Your remuneration must reflect this.
— Lionel Carmant
Money and support
Better remuneration, yes, but support for employees too, underlines Steve Geoffrion. A former speaker at the DPJ, he is now an associate professor at the School of Psychoeducation at the University of Montreal.
On Friday, he took advantage of a workshop given to speakers to launch them a message. “I started my lecture by saying, 'Sure this is going to help you, but you're still going to be exposed to kids getting beaten up. You will still be exposed to children who commit suicide,” he maintains in an interview with Le Devoir. “Go ask the traumatologists at Sainte-Justine if they are well paid. »
The expert pleads for more psychological support and for services better adapted to DPJ employees.
Asked about the minister's intentions, the president of the Alliance of Professional and Technical Personnel in Health and Social Services (APTS), Robert Comeau, for his part, invites the government to reveal its game. “When the offer arrives on the table, if it goes there, we will analyze it carefully in the best interest of our members, he affirms in a written declaration. It is through effective means of attraction and retention, as well as by establishing better salary conditions, that we will be able to stem the staff shortage at the origin of the crisis currently shaking Quebec public services. »
Despite the imposing reform tabled in 2021 by Minister Carmant, the youth protection network faces significant workforce challenges throughout Quebec. “[The shortage] means that we are not able to manage the flow of young people returning. As soon as we reach 800, 900, 1000 reports retained, it is very difficult,” said Mr. Carmant on Friday.
Waiting lists down< /h2>
At the start of the year, the waiting lists for assessment reached a record number of around 5,100 names. At that time, the wait time for an evaluation was almost 50 days. But there is a glimmer of hope: last weekend, barely 3,100 people were waiting for an assessment, according to data obtained by Le Devoir. The list has never been so short since October 2021.
“We have made big changes,” indicates Lionel Carmant when asked about these statistics. “The biggest change is asking the front line [general youth services in CLSC] to contribute more. »
But be careful, says Jessica Côté-Guimond, general director of the Ex-placed DPJ collective. “Was this handled well? Well rated? Did we close certain files too early? Did we really take the time to refer the family to the community? These are still questions that I ask myself,” she told Devoir.
The encouraging numbers recorded last week will not last forever. Every fall, then every spring, the waiting lists grow longer, agrees Minister Carmant. “The two big peaks are June and December. Teachers and school staff, as they are afraid of not seeing the children for two weeks or two months, they tend to report them to ensure that someone is keeping an eye on them, he analyzes. It will rise again. That's for sure. »
The minister, who began “phase 2” of his DPJ reform last spring, remains confident. The creation of a commissioner for the well-being and rights of children, called for by Régine Laurent in the final report of the Special Commission on the rights of children and youth protection, cannot be long in coming. The minister is only waiting for the green light from the parliamentary leader, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
“The bill is ready,” Mr. Carmant said on Friday. I can't wait to drop it off. »
Agreements on youth protection among the Crees and the Inuit?
Québec is currently negotiating with the Crees and the Inuit to conclude agreements on the DYP of the same order as that which was concluded in 2018 with the Attikameks, Le Devoir learned.
“We have discussions with them. They want to partner with us. So, I am very encouraged by that,” indicated Minister Lionel Carmant on Friday, on the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
In 2018, the Attikamek nation concluded an agreement with the Quebec government to obtain a special youth protection regime. This essentially allows it to delegate the powers of the DPJ to the communities. It is still the only indigenous nation to have concluded such an agreement with the government of Quebec.