July 10, 2019 3:18 pm
Updated: July 10, 2019 4:51 pm

Strike to affect Quebec’s provincial parks during construction holiday

Deer frolic across forest waters.

Clement Sabourin/AFP/Getty Images

A total of 23 of Quebec’s provincial parks are expected to be affected as 1,500 workers walk off the job starting Saturday, July 20 for the construction holiday.

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“It’s not so much that we chose the moment, as the government chose it for us,” said SFPQ President Christian Daigle.

“We have been in negotiations for six months and the government, via SÉPAQ, only submitted a monetary offer two weeks ago.”

The workers’ union, the Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ), announced Wednesday that new strike notices were sent to the province’s minister of labour and the management of the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ).

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Most of the workers are seasonal: fishing and hunting guides, greeters, park wardens and land attendants. Many earn between $15 and $18 an hour, according to the union.

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Daigle says the workers did not want to go on strike, but felt they had no choice.

A strike is already planned for July 17 at the Manoir Montmorency and the adjacent Montmorency Falls Park, as well as several other parks.

“It’s a big monetary impact for these people. They do not want to go on strike, but we do not have a choice. We’re there, they pushed us into a corner,” he said.

Daigle said he is still optimistic that the conflict will be resolved as the parties continue to negotiate and meetings are scheduled in the coming days.

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“If we meet and are told the same thing, for sure we will not continue to sit at the negotiating table,” he warned, adding that the strike could continue throughout the summer and possibly affect other sectors, including wildlife sanctuaries.

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SÉPAQ’s management has indicated that, in the event of a walkout, it will do everything in its power to maintain services. However, certain services like catering, boat rentals, beaches and guided activities could be affected.

The 23 parks affected by the strike notice of July 20:

  • Aiguebelle National Park
  • Anticosti National Park
  • Bic National Park
  • Bonaventure Island and Rocher-Percé National Park
  • Frontenac National Park
  • Gaspésie National Park
  • Grand Jardins National Park
  • Îles-de-Boucherville National Park
  • Jacques Cartier National Park
  • Lake Témiscouata National Park
  • Miguasha National Park
  • Mont-Mégantic National Park
  • Mont-Orford National Park
  • Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park
  • Mont Tremblant National Park
  • Monts-Vallin National Park
  • Oka National Park
  • Opémican National Park
  • Plaisance National Park
  • Pointe-Taillon National Park
  • Saguenay National Park
  • Upper Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park
  • Yamaska ​​National Park

SÉPAQ did not return The Canadian Press’ phone calls for comment on the strike notices.

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The construction holiday starts on July 22.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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