Negotiations with teachers | “We couldn’t give them what we don’t have,” says Drainville

If teachers are dissatisfied at the end of the negotiations with Quebec, it is because some of their expectations simply could not be met, says the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, who cites the opening of new classes, which he considers it impossible because of the shortage.

What there is to know

At the end of a strike which marked the education network at the end of 2023, Bernard Drainville believes that teachers’ expectations were sometimes “very high”.

The Minister of Education believes that the new collective agreements in the education network will give a “positive boost” to the school network.

Educational days could be converted into class days by the end of the school year.

For the first time since the agreements with the teachers’ unions were signed, the minister returned to their content with The Press.

Bernard Drainville said he “noted the close votes” of certain unions.

“The teachers are shocked because I believe there were very high expectations which, in some cases, could not be met. We couldn’t give them what we don’t have. I couldn’t give them teachers, because I don’t have any. I could not create new classes because of the shortage,” explained Minister Drainville.

At the Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), it was felt that it had not had “the understanding that teachers deserve”, while the Federation of Education Unions (FSE) reported a “great deal disappointment in the fact that (the government) did not hear the teachers’ cry from the heart.”

According to the new agreements signed between Quebec and teachers, if too many students in the same class are in difficulty, new classes will be opened, if there are teachers and premises available.

“It’s going to be very difficult for me to create new classes as the conventions provide, based on a certain number of criteria, as long as I don’t have any, new teachers and new staff who will wanting to lend a hand in schools,” said in this regard Bernard Drainville, who participated on Monday in the launch of the School Perseverance Days.

On the other hand, he believes that provisions of the new collective agreement will “contribute to calming the school climate where it is tense, where dissatisfaction has been expressed”.

It’s not going to happen in a jiffy, it’s going to take some time, but I think that we are capable of finding positive momentum following the last few more difficult months that we have experienced, and I think that the convention will help us.

Bernard Drainville, Minister of Education

The minister also believes that this new employment contract will provide “arguments” to convince future students to enroll in faculties of education for a career in teaching.

The general director of the Montreal school service center (CSSDM), Isabelle Gélinas, assures that in schools, “we do not see” the effects of the most recent negotiation, which left many people bitter.

“The teachers came back with the desire to support the students. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who are dissatisfied, I think there are, but in real life, people are mobilized to help students until the end of the year. », adds Mme Gelinas.

Teaching converted into class days?

Students whose teachers are represented by unions affiliated with the FAE missed 22 days of school in November and December.

In addition to the catch-up plan, which notably provides for tutoring for students in difficulty, Bernard Drainville said that he had an informal agreement with the FAE providing that as soon as the votes on the agreement in principle were completed, discussions on the cancellation of educational days would take place.

We are in discussions with the local unions of the FAE school service centers, which have experienced many more strike days, to see if we can convert one, perhaps educational days, into class days.

Bernard Drainville, Minister of Education

Will it really happen? At the CSSDM, it is said that “discussions are to come on this subject”, but the Alliance of Professors of Montreal says that these discussions are already over because it was not in the wishes of the CSS to cancel such educational days.

Bernard Drainville, for his part, says that we must “limit the damage”, particularly in schools where young people have missed more than a month of school.

“Every day we can get back will be another day. I am trying to recover as many teaching hours as possible within the school calendar that we have left and that would be added to the catch-up measures,” said the minister.

Two other unions affiliated with the FAE – that of Laval and that of Haute-Yamaska ​​– told us that they had not started discussions on this subject with their respective service centers.


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