For the first time in its history, the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), EI's largest member union in Quebec, elected a nurse, Ms Louise Chabot, as its President. Ms. Chabot succeeds Mr Réjean Parent, who led the organisation since 2003.
CSQ, which represent teachers, education support staff, health care and other public sector employees, held its congress in Quebec City from 25 to 29 June.
In her presidential address, Ms. Chabot denounced plans by the Quebec government to cut back on the education and health care budgets.
EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, who paid tribute to departing President Réjean Parent, also said that austerity measures sweeping through most OECD countries will delay recovery, slow down growth and affect quality public services.
"The student revolt a couple of weeks ago against the proposed increase of university tuition fees did not come as a surprise," van Leeuwen said. "Your students know the figures as well as we do: Of the 1,800,000 available jobs, 70% require higher education."
Van Leeuwen's speech is available (in French) here
To learn more about the CSQ 40th Congress (in French), please click here