The Government of Quebec is well on its way to carrying out its plan to transfer 5,000 public sector positions to the regions by 2028. And this, in large part, thanks to the proliferation of telecommuting job offers.
A position for a customer service agent has recently been posted at the Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital. Residents of “all regions” can apply. The job is to be filled on Chemin Sainte-Foy, in Quebec City. But it's underlined in bold that the employee “may be permitted to work full-time telecommuting”.
Advertisements for “all regions” abound on the state recruitment portal. Advisors, analysts, agents, etc. Most of the positions posted are intended for professionals.
When the Coalition avenir Québec announced its intention to transfer 5,000 positions to the regions in 2018, business communities in Quebec City, in particular, had feared an exodus of workers from one place to another.
However, five years later, there are no reports of workers forced to leave Quebec or Montreal for the regions, according to the Union of the public service of Quebec (SFPQ) and the Union of professionals and professionals of the government of Quebec (SPGQ) .
2773 This is the number of positions that have been regionalized to date, according to the latest report, dating from December 2022.
“No one, to our knowledge, has been forced to move,” said SPGQ vice-president Josée Néron. Either they are people who are already in the regions and are attached to an office in Quebec, or they are people from Quebec or Montreal who return to their native region, get closer to their families.
“Telework has made it possible to relocate all these jobs,” notes Christian Daigle, president of the SFPQ. Before, we couldn't do that, we didn't have the technology to do it. The pandemic has helped. Without the pandemic and the shift to telecommuting, the Legault government would have been forced to move “entire offices,” he argues.
Mr. Daigle concedes that the strategy doesn't seem to bother his members too much, but it doesn't excite them either, he says. “It may be good for the regional economy, but for the belonging of people to a team, we will come back! »
According to the latest report, dating from December 2022, 2,773 positions have been regionalized to date. At the rate of 500 additions per year, the Treasury Board is hopeful of reaching its target of 5,000 regionalized positions by 2028. Asked about the effects of telework, its communications department noted that “the possibility of offering positions in hybrid mode has indeed had a positive impact on the project”. The regionalized job target for 2022 has also been exceeded, it was also mentioned.
Full-time telecommuting allowed
Unlike civil servants working in Montreal or Quebec, regional staff are not required to work in the office at least two days a week. An attractive factor, according to Ms. Néron. “There are people who would not have been able to work for the public service [without telecommuting]. They wouldn't have been interested.
Many job postings specify that workers must spend at least two days at the Government Shared Office (GPO) in their area. However, since these BGPs do not yet exist, full-time telework is required.
The first of these offices, destined for New Richmond, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2023. No timetable has been made public for the deployment of the other 15.
The public sector has approximately 112,400 employees grouped in 40 departments and organizations and 15 organizations partially linked to the State, such as Hydro-Québec and Loto-Québec. All staff additions must be at least 50% in the regions to be authorized, provides for the plan submitted by Sonia LeBel in 2022. As for parapublic workers (education and health, in particular), they are not taken into account. in the outline.
Hydro-Québec and Revenu Québec put to work
In addition to telecommuting, it appears that the success of the plan relies heavily on the contribution of government corporations. According to the latest report, the two organizations that have regionalized the most jobs are Hydro-Québec and Revenu Québec.
At Hydro-Québec, a total of 306 jobs have been regionalized, mainly in Saguenay–Lac-Saint- Jean (118) and Mauricie (104), according to data compiled in December 2022 by the Treasury Board.
As for the Quebec Revenue Agency, 419 jobs have been added in the regions, the largest number of which are in the Outaouais (90) and in the Capitale-Nationale region (63).
In the latter case, we refer to jobs at the ends of the greater Quebec City region, such as Charlevoix and Portneuf, since the positions must be at least 75 kilometers from downtown Quebec or Montreal to be considered. as regional.
The other ministries that contributed the most to the plan are the Ministry of Transport (194) and Employment and Social Solidarity (159). As for the regions that have benefited the most from transfers in total, they are Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and Estrie, so far.
The reverse , no position has been created in the regions at the Ministère des Relations internationales, and there are only 5 at the Conseil du trésor. The Côte-Nord received only 11 more positions, while there were 5 fewer positions compared to 2018 in Nord-du-Québec.