To date, no meetings have taken place between representatives of Quebec psychologists and representatives of the provincial Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Other things are happening, though.
1) Even if the Ministry isn’t paying attention, the press is. In the past two weeks, articles about the issue have appeared in the Montreal Gazette and in La Presse. Rose-Marie Charest, president of the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec, and Marcel Courtemanche, president of the comité des chefs de service en psychologie en milieu hospitalier du Québec, were interviewed on Radio-Canada; both commented on the impact of the shortage of public sector psychologists on public accessibility to services, and on the roles of poor working conditions and of the disparity between educational requirements and compensation in perpetuating the shortage.
2) Students waiting for news about internships for next year were advised to expect letters from the sites we applied to, confirming receipt of our applications and advising us that they are keeping our unopened applications on file and will let us know when things change. Here’s the rub, though: not all internship sites are participating in the pressure tactic; even within hospitals that have announced their solidarity with the tactic, some clinics are offering applicants interviews as usual. This means that students who have applied to participating and non-participating sites may be in the awkward position of having to accept or reject an offer from one site before sites in which they are equally interested even review their application. To say nothing of the potential awkwardness of starting an internship as scheduled in September while your fellow students are forced to make other plans.
What to do? Although students are not obliged to support the Quebec psychologists’ position, those who plan to work in Quebec after graduation certainly have an interest in improved salary and working conditions.
Professional respect and decent pay are important. Supporting your future colleagues is important. But so is continuing your training and finishing your degree in a timely fashion.
I’ll keep you posted.