In recent years, le RQ-ACA (Quebec Independent Community Action Network) and its regional fronts are the channels through which community groups in the Autonomous Community Action (HERE) bearing claims on funding and recognition deal with different levels of government, through the campaign "Commit yourself to the community".
The criteria to be part of community action groups are : be a non-profit organization, rooted in the community, have an associative and democratic life, and have the freedom to determine its mission, its approaches, practices and guidelines. To be qualified as independent, we add that it must have been formed at the initiative of the people in the community, pursuing a social mission of its own and promotes social transformation, having an approach based on the totality of the problem addressed and be led by an independent CA public network. In our groups, it is usually to our members, militant.e.s and / or users-using and we are accountable.
ACA gathers groups working on very diverse axes : women, LGBTQ, defense rights, Harm reduction, popular education, family associations, Hosting Resources, international cooperation, ecology, etc. Assemblies are held periodically, by region, so members are involved in developing the outline of the action plan that will define the national struggle.
Among the means used, include poster campaigns, distribution of stickers "I support the Community ', press conferences, publication of texts, representations to various bodies, manifestations, actions "disturbing" and finally strike, like the aborted 7 February.
The worn speech is roughly as follows : the state must reinvest in the community so that we can accomplish our mission and maintain (or increase) our services, suites historical struggles, we managed several gains that we want to save what is now an acquired.
The (lack of) Community funding
In recent decades, we see a change in the state funding. Private foundations are playing an increasingly important and bring with them the performance requirements and efficiency, short do more with less. In the best known, there Way, Chagnon Foundation, etc. These give the funding requested by their vis-à-vis the mission judgment, Services, activity reports, etc. These donors require specific account yields qualitatively and quantitatively. In survival mode, Community has no choice but to turn to these donors for survival. And in spite of ourselves, sometimes, it must distort our missions and mandates to meet the funding criteria. The state also seem increasingly inclined to do so in the allocation of funds.
The ACA groups are important and worthy of funding, but are not the only elements of the Community. Several salarié.e.s Community must both cope with precarious funding, and their tutelage under external bodies (CIUSS/CLSC, YMCA, foundations, hospitals, etc.). This is the case of aidant.e.s pair.e.s are considéré.e.s as part of a specific project under supervision and are then envoyé.e.s in various groups, but are not always treated equally face permanent.e.s intervenant.e.s of these organizations.
The fight is personal
Work in the Community is, for many of us, much more than a job, it is a vocation. Nonetheless concretely, un.e salarié.e occupying the same function in a government resource, or even in the private has much better conditions. Our vocation is it leave us in poverty?
Who among us, Workers, volunteers and community militant.e.s, has not seen colleagues or comrades in from burnout? Who does not know quelqu'un.e who saw his position abolished or cut hours for lack of funding? How are we jumping from contract to contract and end up chronically unemployed? How many CA work or teams have had to make difficult choices as that of maintaining a position or cut in insurance, pensions and / or other benefits? And we pass by! That's the reality we chatter between workers of the community.
There seems to be treading water for years, and our struggles are fragmented. Everyone is trying to pull a piece of cover on their side hoping to make giving back a portion of the amount that has been cut, or see our funding be indexed. As soon as it receives a portion of what it hoped, it withdraws from fight. Efforts our state donors are not living up to our potential. From year to year, the same strategies are repeated : representations to various bodies, petition and letter, and a very symbolic temporary occupation of a lobby government offices or large financial players.
Funding for our groups must not only enable us to continue our activities, it should allow wages and viable conditions for everyone. Often agencies must draw on their funds to adequately pay salarié.e.s engagé.e.s for a temporary project. It lasted quite. We can not bear any longer to be the cheap labor of the State in social services. Our donors can perhaps muzzle our groups, organizations and projects, but they can not muzzle workers who wear them at arms. Join the Union of Workers of the Community!
Rage and Solidarity,
A member of the union workers and community workers.