Advocating for parents as Quebec schools re-open

Provincial governments are in the early stages of re-opening businesses and public institutions. 

This week, some students across parts of Quebec are allowed to return to school under new guidelines and restrictions. Our members are understandably worried about sending their children back to these facilities. Many have indicated they will not do so at this time out of concern for the safety for their family and loved ones. They are not alone in their hesitation; when asked if he would send his kids back to school if they were re-opened, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he doesn’t know if he would. 

Many members, concerned with the return to school, plan to use authorized leave (Code 699) to continue caring for their children until they are assured that it is safe to let them return to school or daycare.

According to new guidelines, rushed through by the Treasury Board, Code 699 is to be used when medical reasons prevent a child from returning to school or daycare or where school and/or daycare acces is not available. When there is no identifiable risk to the child, it then falls under the uncertain and unfair "manager’s discretion" 

This is unacceptable. 

"Management discretion" is not an appropriate determining factor when the health of Canadians is at stake. Our members should not be forced to make an anxiety-provoking choice between their jobs and their children’s wellbeing simply because their supervisors do not believe there is a health risk in their area. 

President Daviau has written to Nancy Chahwan, the government’s Chief Human Resources Officer, calling on the Treasury Board and separate employers to consult with unions to find a suitable solution that will allow Code 699 to be used by our members until a safe and reasonable path forward is established. 

Our consultation teams are focused on ensuring any denials of Code 699 that put our members or their families at risk are flagged immediately. We are also preparing recommendations on how the employer can continue to use Code 699 for childcare as situations evolve.

As the re-opening of Canada continues, we will share details of the Treasury Board’s return to work plan. Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our members and their families and loved ones. You should be able to return from work with confidence and avoid undue stress and hardship in making these decisions.

If you are a parent needing support accessing Code 699 our team can support you. Please fill out our COVID-19 help form.