Canada: Quebec education unions call on government to do more for students with disabilities

published 21 September 2017 updated 21 September 2017

With close to one million students back in Quebec schools, education trade unions are reminding the provincial government of its need to keep its promise to ensure quality education for all.

Supporting disabled students and students experiencing difficulties in adapting and learning difficulties

Two surveys conducted by the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), one involving the general population and the other involving members of the education network, have demonstrated that there is great concern about the issue of disabled students and students experiencing difficulties in adapting or learning difficulties (known as HDDA in French), and in particular by the lack of access to services that they need to help them succeed. The survey conducted with the general public found that 83 percent of respondents believed that the government's investments aimed at supporting HDDA students are insufficient.

This is why CSQ President Louise Chabot, the President of the Federation of Education Trade Unions Josée Scalabrini, the President of the Federation of School support staff Eric Pronovost, and the President of the Federation of education professionals of Quebec Johanne Pomerleau together demanded that the government of Quebec take action in the education sector.

"Last June, Minister [of Education, Recreation and Sport of Quebec Sébastien] Proulx presented his long-awaited Policy on educational Success", recalled Chabot, emphasising the fact that "having a vision is a good thing, but it is time to take action".

She also stated that over 88% of all education staff have reported witnessing a lack of support for students experiencing difficulties every day, and 86.5 percent have reported that students in their school or centre are still awaiting professional or support services to which they are entitled.

Increasing government investment in student support services

The spokespersons of the CSQ's school network all denounced "the indecent surpluses accumulated by the government, to the detriment of public services". Noting that the growth rate of education spending is lower than system costs, they emphasized that the amounts accumulated would be much better invested in support services for students.

"On the one hand, there are huge surpluses, and on the other hand, there are thousands of HDAA students who do not have access to services. I feel that there is a simple solution to this problem: it is necessary to massively re-invest in education. The government must make good on its promises", said Chabot.

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