QUEBEC CITY — There will be a strike or pressure tactics affecting several hundred community groups across Quebec from Monday to Thursday.
Some will temporarily close their doors, others will hold “visibility actions” or demonstrate in front of the offices of deputies and ministers. In addition, a demonstration is planned in Montreal on Tuesday and in Quebec in front of the National Assembly on Thursday.
There are 4,000 independent community action organizations across Quebec that want to protest in various ways against their underfunding. They are asking for an additional $450 million for all groups.
These groups include those working in suicide prevention, domestic violence, literacy, mental health, youth centres, organizations that fight against school dropouts and those that defend the rights of tenants, the unemployed and those on social assistance, for example.
However, organizations that provide essential services, for example to homeless people or women who are victims of violence, will not be affected by the union action.
These organizations, which were already under pressure by various social problems, were even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic, explained Caroline Toupin, spokesperson for the Commit to the community campaign, in an interview on Friday.
“The heart of the problem is that with COVID, the needs of the population have increased, so the population needs more support and this increases the number of visits to our organizations. In the meantime, we have no more money, and the working conditions do not allow us to retain our staff,” Toupin said.
She points out that some organizations are already having to close their doors or close certain services for lack of resources.
“A lot of people are asking the question: will we be able to endure the year to stay open?” she says.
She says she worked “in close collaboration” with the Minister of Social Solidarity Jean Boulet. “There is a government plan. We have all the tools to solve this in a sustainable way,” she said.
– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on February 18, 2022