Working Conditions and Budget Cuts:
The Current Situation in Quebec Schools
Report by the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS)
Since 2003–2004, underfunding in Quebec school boards is believed to have reached $1.4B in 2016–2017, and there has been a 34% increase in the number of students with disabilities, adjustment problems or learning disabilities. A research paper published by the IRIS to mark the new school year examines the effects of this situation on the working conditions of school staff.
The survey, conducted with 8,500 education staff members (teaching, professional and support staff) in the public system in all regions of Quebec, reveals, among other things, that a significant amount of overtime is worked in all job categories. Despite the increase, only a fraction of this overtime is actually recognized, either as time or monetary value. The lack of human and material resources makes it more difficult for education staff to properly perform their duties. In fact, a significant proportion of the professional staff assert that they do not have the time to meet the needs of students, provide the necessary follow-up, take preventive action, or plan and design work.
The survey reveals that good relationships with colleagues, whether in the same job category or not, nevertheless make it possible to build a better work environment. However, tensions between colleagues have increased and workers have become more isolated as a result of the budget cuts.
The IRIS concludes that conditions are not in place to allow school staff to provide services that meet the needs of Quebec students.
To read the report (in French only):
Sophie Massé, vice-president