Update on Meeting Restrictions in Ontario and Quebec

In the recent weeks we have seen parts of Canada descend into another wave of COVID-19 cases. Accordingly, the following information is provided to UNE Locals for guidance with assessing the possibility and viability of in-person meetings. Given the quickly evolving situation we also recommend checking with the public health unit in for the community in question if more specific information is required.

In Ontario, as of September 19, 2020, the new gathering limits are:

  • Indoor events or gatherings: 10 people maximum
  • Outdoor events or gatherings: 25 people maximum

For more information on changes to gathering limits: www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages#gathering-changes

In Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Laval, the Outaouais and the Chaudière-Appalaches regions have moved into code orange, with the following restrictions:

  • Private indoor or outdoor gatherings: 6 people maximum
  • Activities organized in a public setting: 25 people maximum

For more information: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progressive-regional-alert-and-intervention-system/

As the move is towards more restrictions, Locals are encouraged to conduct activities virtually where possible.

Craig Reynolds Becomes PSAC REVP for Ontario

September 22, 2020

Due to the vacancy created in the position of Ontario REVP, Craig Reynolds who was elected Alternate Ontario REVP at the 2017 Ontario Convention, will assume the role.  

Craig is an experienced activist at all levels of our union, including serving as the Local President within his local (UNE 00087), Chair of the Toronto Racially Visible Committee and has served on Ontario Regional Council for several years. He has also been very active in his component and is currently serving his second term as Assistant Regional Vice-President for the Union of National Employees, Ontario Region. 

Sharon DeSousa Becomes PSAC National Executive Vice-President

Following the resignation of Magali Picard, Sharon DeSousa has been named PSAC’s National Executive Vice-President (NEVP).  

As per the PSAC Constitution, in the event of a vacancy in the position of NEVP, the Alternate NEVP assumes the role. Sharon DeSousa was elected Alternate NEVP at PSAC’s 2018 National Convention. 

Sharon DeSousa leaves the position of Regional Executive Vice-President (REVP), which she has held since May 2011. After her initial election in 2011, Sharon was re-elected to a second term as REVP in June of 2014 and acclaimed at the 2017 Ontario Convention.

Sharon is a passionate and experienced leader within the labour movement, with a strong focus on grassroots activism and political action.  

“Both Sharon and Craig have worked tirelessly for our union,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward. “PSAC members will be fortunate to draw on their vast experience and commitment to improving the lives of our membership.” 

Source: http://psacunion.ca/sharon-desousa-becomes-national-executive-vice

Parks Canada ratification kit, including the full text of the agreement, now available

September 14, 2020

On September 3, PSAC’s Parks bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the Parks Canada Agency. The bargaining team unanimously recommends ratification of the new agreement.

The ratification kit which includes the full text of the tentative agreement is now available for download.

Members will be invited to participate in an online ratification process from October 5 to November 4.

Tentative agreement reached for Parks Canada members

In a victory for members at Parks Canada, PSAC has reached a tentative agreement that includes a competitive economic increase, greater parity with the core public service, no concessions, and improved working conditions and job security.  

Members at Parks Canada will also be awarded the Phoenix damages settlement to compensate for the pain and suffering caused by the broken pay system. Please read the following update which provides greater detail on the general Phoenix compensation portion of the settlement, as well as the expansion of the claims process for out-of-pocket expenses and for those who suffered major losses because of Phoenix.  

Annual wage settlement & shift premiums 

PSAC’s bargaining team successfully secured fair wage increases averaging at 2.11% per year. Parks Canada members would receive the following wage increases:  

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 
2.8% 2.2% 1.35% 

In addition, shift premiums for employees working between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. will increase from $2.00/hour to $2.25/hour (12.5% increase). 

Catch up adjustments to Core Public Administration 

Members in the following groups and sub-groups will receive wage adjustments to catch them up to their counterparts in the core public administration. Adjustments will be applied in Year 3 of the collective agreement:  

AR (all levels) GL-PIP-12  
EG (all levels) GL-MDO-03 
FI (all levels) GL-MDO-05 
HR (all levels) GL-MDO-12  
BI-03  GL-MOC-11 
CO-01 to CO-04  GL-MOC-08  
EL-06 to EL-09  GL-PCF-11 
GL-COI-09 GL-PCF-14  
GL-COI-14 GL-PIP-12  
GL-EIM-12 GL-MDO-03 
GL-ELE-01 GL-MDO-05 
GL-ELE-06  GL-MDO-12  
GL-ELE-14  GL-MOC-11 
GL-MAM-13  GL-MOC-08  
GL-MAN-07  GL-PCF-11 
GL-MAN-08 GL-PCF-14  
GL-MAN-13  GL-PIP-12  
GL-MDO-03 GL-PRW-07  
GL-MDO-05 GL-PRW-08  
GL-MDO-12  GL-PRW-13  
GL-MOC-11 GL-VHE-13  
GL-MOC-08  GS-02  
GL-PCF-11 GS-11  
GL-PCF-14  HP-03 

Lump sums and allowances  

  • A one-time payment of $500 in recognition of the extended collective agreement implementation deadline and an additional $50 for every subsequent 90-day delay. 
  • Effective 180 days following the signature of the agreement, Enforcement Officers at the GT-04 and GT-05 levels will receive an increase to their existing annual allowance from $3,000 to $3,534. 
  • Improved and expanded retention allowance for CR-05, AS-01, AS-02, AS-03 or AS-04 Compensation Advisors working in pay pods under the banner of the Public Service and Procurement Canada Pay Centre (PSPC) to $3,500 per year. 
  • Renewal of $2,500 allowance for AS-01, AS-02 & AS-03 Compensation Advisors working at the Agency.  
  • Extension of temporary incentives for AS-01, AS-02 and AS-03 Compensation Advisors, providing a one-time $4,000 payment and double overtime. This existing provision will apply until September 1st, 2020. 
  • New allowance of $1.00 per hour for Dog Handling.  

Other improvements  

  • Significant improvements to Workforce Adjustment (WFA):
    1. Inclusion of seniority in the Voluntary Departure Process, ensuring that selections will be done on the basis of seniority.
    2. Requirement to have joint Workforce Adjustment committees.
    3. Expanded definition of alternation, allowing surplus employees to alternate into an indeterminate position within the Agency.
    4. Increase to the Education Allowance from $15,000 to $17,000 for indeterminate employees who are laid off during workforce adjustment process.
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached between the parties agreeing on the value of returning to full membership of the National Joint Council (NJC). Creation of a union-management sub-committee that will discuss Parks Canada’s assessment of its policies related to the NJC and the feasibility of a full and expedited return to the NJC. This work will be completed prior to the next round of bargaining.
  • Improvements to parental & maternity leave:
    1. Updated language to match the new legislation including a new extended leave option and the sharing of parental leave.
    2. Expanded supplementary allowance for every week an employee is on extended or shared parental leave.
    3. Additional weeks for parents covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, when both parents work in the public service.
    4. Better language on return to work following a maternity or parental leave, giving more flexibility to parents who wish to change positions within the federal public service.
    5. New language specifying that employees may take their parental leave in two periods subject to employer discretion.
  • Increase in maternity related reassignment or leave qualification from 52 to 78 weeks following the birth of a child.
  • New provision providing access to ten days of paid domestic violence leave.
  • MOU establishing of a joint committee to review the use of Indigenous languages in the Agency, examine Indigenous language skills in the performance of employee duties, and consider the advantages that Indigenous language speakers bring to the Agency.
  • MOU regarding Mental Health in the Workplace.
  • Recognition that all provisions in the collective agreement referencing a gender are meant for all employees, regardless of gender identity.
  • Expansion of scope for the following Leave improvements now inclusive of a person who stands in place of a relative for:
    • Leave without pay for the care of the family
    • Bereavement leave
    • Leave with pay for family-related responsibilities (now also inclusive of stepchild)
  • New MOU providing up to $150,000 to fund a one-year joint learning program pilot project (MOU will be outside the collective agreement).
  • Improvements to travel time to pay for up to five hours compensation for any stopovers. Increase of travelling cap to 15 hours from 12 hours.
  • An increase in meal allowance for overtime from $10 to $12.
  • Updated and improved language to match the new legislation on Compassionate Care and Caregiving Leave.
  • New language specifying employee’s right to access official copy of an investigation report (Article 17 – No Discrimination & Sexual Harassment).
  • Better language to allow the use of employer facilities for union activities.
  • Deletion of MOU on Supporting Employee Wellness. As a result, sick leave will remain untouched.

Full text and next steps 

We will share the final text and full details of the tentative agreement as soon as it becomes available. Shortly thereafter, members at Parks Canada will be invited to participate in online ratification votes. Details about the votes will be shared as soon as possible.  

Your bargaining team unanimously recommends the ratification of the tentative agreement.   

To ensure that you receive all updates and can participate in the ratification process, please ensure that you have either updated your contact information on PSAC’s member portal, or that you create an account if you have not done so already.  

Bargaining team: 

  • Angela Decker
  • Daniel Toutant
  • Daniel Britton
  • Kassandra McKinnon
  • Marc Phillips
  • Omar Murray
  • Birch Howard

Negotiator: Ashley Bickerton  
Research Officer: Maxime Thibault-Gingras  

Federal government must prioritize workers’ lives and rethink its strategy on activity-based workplaces

The federal Treasury Board’s activity-based working (ABW) strategy will prove to be problematic given public health directives to stop the spread of COVID-19. Without assigned seating, as conceptualized by ABW, thousands of workers will be forced to share desks and surfaces, thereby risking exposure. Yet, instead of slowing down its implementation, the government is speeding up the transition to AWB, which will have dangerous repercussions for the health and safety of PSAC members.

The Treasury Board Secretariat has demonstrated a dismissive attitude towards legitimate health and safety concerns by suggesting that workers clean their own desks and make reservations through an already failing reservation system.

ABW also presents special challenges for vulnerable workers and these must be addressed. Decisions on ABW made prior to the global pandemic must be reconsidered and the federal government should show the same adaptability that federal public service employees have shown throughout the last months.

PSAC supports safety protocols for workers to the same level of precaution as we would want at schools, with assigned seating being significantly safer than variable seating. Accelerating the shift to activity-based working will increase the risk to PSAC members, their family and their communities. 

PSAC is asking the employer to:

  • stop the proposal to accelerate activity-based working and prioritize assigned seating for the duration of the pandemic and beyond;
  • hire indeterminate, well-trained staff to clean and disinfect offices rather than relying on workers cleaning inconsistently without sufficient training;
  • apply an equity lens to managing the return to work of those employees who have been working from home especially given that women, racialized and Indigenous people and lower-income households have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19;
  • allow workers living with an immunocompromised individual to continue to work remotely to minimize the exposure within their household until a vaccine becomes available;
  • ensure all spaces are accessible;
  • establish alternatives for those with accessibility needs to assist with cleaning spaces.

All federal bargaining agents are collaborating to get the government to address these issues on ABW. PSAC will keep working to protect the health and safety of its members throughout this pandemic and as many of us gradually return to work, in some capacity.

Register to cast your ballot in Treasury Board and CRA ratification votes

The PA, TC, EB and SV groups as well as PSAC-UTE have now reached tentative agreements with their employers, and PSAC members will now have the opportunity to vote on their new collective agreements. PSAC has organized ratification votes between August 24 and September 29 in each PSAC region to allow you to cast your ballot. See below to sign up for the ratification vote webinar that is most convenient for you. 

In order to be eligible to vote you must: 

1.   have received your personal identification number by e-mail 

2.   ensure you are a member in good standing (MIGS)  

3.   attend a 15-minute webinar session 

Step 1: Receive your Personal Identification Number (PIN) 

For those PSAC members for whom we have no personal email, we will send a letter in the mail containing your PIN to your home address two weeks before the beginning of the voting period. If we have a non-employer, personal e-mail address on file, we will instead send you an email with your PIN two days before the start of the voting period.   

Please take a moment to update your contact information and provide us with your personal, non-work email address. You can update your contact information online by logging into the PSAC member portal or create an account if you don’t already have one.  

If you have not received your PIN after the voting period begins, please check your junk e-mail folder and if it is not found there contact your PSAC Regional Office

Step 2: Ensure you are a member in good standing (MIGS)  

In some situations, PSAC members cease being members in good standing (MIGS) and lose the right to participate in ratification votes.  To confirm your status, please contact your PSAC component. 

If you are on extended leave 

If you are on extended leave (e.g., long term disability, maternity or parental leave) and therefore not a member in good standing (MIGS), you can make a request to remain in good standing to the National President via this online form. This will allow you to participate in the ratification vote.  

If you have not signed a union card or are unsure that it has been processed 

If you have never signed a union card, you will not be able to participate in the ratification process. You can fill out and sign a union card online. 

If you are unsure that you have previously signed a card or are unsure that it has been processed, simply fill out a new card online

Even if you are already a member in good standing, please take a moment to give us your personal, non-work email address. You can update your contact information online right now.   

If you have difficulty updating your information, contact your PSAC Regional Office

Step 3: Register for a webinar 

In order to ensure that members are fully informed prior to casting their ballot, the PSAC constitution requires all members to attend an information session before they vote. These sessions will be held by webinar in each region and will allow members to ask questions regarding the content of the tentative agreement. Attendance will be tracked and only those who registered and attended the full presentation will have their member profile updated on the e-voting system, enabling them to vote.  

Find your PSAC region below to register for the webinar. Your PSAC ID is required to register for the webinar. It is listed in the top right corner of your voter package for easy reference or you can contact your PSAC Regional Office to obtain it. 

Ratification vote webinar schedules for your PSAC region

British Columbia

Prairies

Ontario

National Capital Region

Quebec

Atlantic

North 

Online webinar participation is preferred 

We strongly recommend joining via browser or the GoToWebinar app (iPhoneAndroid) as this allows us to automatically track your attendance. If you wish to join by phone, you can have your participation counted by briefly joining the webinar via browser or the app and retrieving an audio PIN using the control panel. You can then log off the online webinar to continue listening by calling in by phone and have your participation counted. 

If you will be joining by phone and are unable to retrieve an audio PIN through the app or browser, please note that your attendance will not be automatically registered. Therefore, you must inform your PSAC Regional Office of your presence on the webinar. Instructions on how to do so will be provided during the webinar. If we do not have a record of your attendance, your vote will not be counted. 

Requests for accommodation  

If you require any accommodation to be able to participate fully in the webinars (such as ASL interpretation), please contact your PSAC Regional Office as soon as possible.  

Technical notes 

Please join the webinar a few minutes early to make sure you are able to log-in and address any technical problems in advance. 

The webinar may not work on all tablets. 

Step 4: How to Vote 

As a PSAC member working for Treasury Board, you will have the opportunity to vote on the tentative agreement with your employer from: 

August 24 to September 29, 2020 

You can vote on the tentative agreement by telephone or online. As stated above, you must attend an information session before voting. 

  • Using the PIN that was sent to you by e-mail or mail, you can vote any time from August 24 at 8:00 a.m. (EST) until September 29 at 12 p.m. (EST) after you have attended a webinar outlined in Step 3. 
  • The phone number and website for voting will be provided to you during the webinar.   
  • Please be aware that if you should be interrupted while voting, you may re-access the voting system to complete your voting. 
  • This vote is by secret ballot. How you vote is entirely confidential. 

Quick Update on UNE Operations

Five months into pandemic life, UNE continues to ensure members are well represented. Though staff are working from home, it’s union business as usual – as much as possible. Staff have access to electronic resources from their home offices and continue to make progress on important work. The UNE office remains closed to visitors at this time.

Convention has been tentatively rescheduled for July 2021. Announcements regarding delegate registration will go out in January as the landscape becomes more clear. A Convention call-out will be re-issued.

Locals are encouraged to hold general meetings virtually or in a physical location where distancing protocols are sufficient. Meeting minutes and election results should be forwarded to our membership section.

The UNE National Executive has been meeting by teleconference regularly throughout the last five months. The next step will be a full virtual meeting to be held October 6-7. The group will have a full agenda including reports from standing committees.

Last but not least, PSAC has reached tentative agreements for all Treasury Board groups and ratification votes will take place between August 24 and September 29. The Parks Canada bargaining team heads back to the table August 24, 2020. Other separate employer groups have continued with their bargaining schedules.

Ratification votes: What you need to know

PSAC members in the following bargaining units will soon have an opportunity to vote on their respective tentative agreement:

Treasury Board 

Canada Revenue Agency

If you are unsure which bargaining unit under Treasury Board you belong in, you can look it up here.

In order to be eligible to vote you must: 

  1. have received your personal identification number (PIN)
  1. ensure you are a member in good standing (MIGS), and
  1. attend a 15 minute webinar session.

The voting period will be held between August 24 and September 29. Please follow the steps below to ensure you can vote. 

1. Receive your Personal Identification Number (PIN)

For those PSAC members for whom we have no personal email, we will send a letter in the mail containing your PIN to your home address two weeks before the beginning of the voting period. If we have a non-employer, personal e-mail address on file, we will instead send you an email with your PIN two days before the start of the voting period.

Please take a moment to update your contact information and provide us with your personal, non-work email address. You can update your contact information online by logging into the PSAC member portal or create an account if you don’t already have one.

If you have not received your PIN after the voting period begins, please check your junk e-mail folder and if it is not found there contact your PSAC Regional Office.

2. Ensure you are a member in good standing (MIGS)

In some situations, PSAC members cease being members in good standing (MIGS) and lose the right to participate in ratification votes.

If you are on extended leave

If you are on extended leave (e.g., long term disability, maternity or parental leave) and therefore not a member in good standing (MIGS), you can make a request to remain in good standing to the National President via this online form. This will allow you to participate in the ratification vote.

If you have not signed a union card or are unsure that it has been processed 

If you have never signed a union card, you will not be able to participate in the ratification process. You can fill out and sign a union card online.

If you are unsure that you have previously signed a card or are unsure that it has been processed, simply fill out a new card online.

Even if you are already a member in good standing, please take a moment to give us your personal, non-work email address. You can update your contact information online right now.

If you have difficulty updating your information, contact your PSAC Regional Office.

3. Register for a webinar

In order to ensure that members are fully informed prior to casting their ballot, the PSAC Constitution requires all members to attend an information session before they vote for a new collective agreement. These 15 minute presentations will be held via online webinar and will allow members to cast their ballot once the presentation is over. Members will also have the opportunity to stay online after the presentation should they want to ask questions regarding the content of the tentative agreement. The dates and times of the webinars will be listed on your PSAC regional website, and you will have to register in advance.

Attendance will be tracked so participation must be done as an individual (i.e. if there are multiple members in the household you must each register separately and log in separately). Only those who registered and attend the full presentation will have their member profile updated on the electronic voting system, enabling them to vote. Voting will then be done online or via telephone.

PSAC is still in the process of organizing webinars. We will email you and update our website once registration is open.

*

If you have additional questions about voting, or the tentative settlement for your bargaining group, please call your PSAC regional office using the info below.

PSAC Regional Office 

E-mail Address 

Phone Number

St. John’s

vote2020_STJ@psac-afpc.com

709-702-3348

Halifax

vote2020_HAL@psac-afpc.com

902-417-1374

Moncton

vote2020_MON@psac-afpc.com

506-317-1047

Charlottetown

vote2020_CHA@psac-afpc.com

902-812-1305

Québec

vote2020_QUE@psac-afpc.com

581-316-4396

Montréal

vote2020_MTL@psac-afpc.com

438-315-3107

Gatineau

ncr-vote@psac-afpc.com

613-714-4829

Ottawa

ncr-vote@psac-afpc.com

613-714-4829

Kingston

vote2020_KIN@psac-afpc.com

343-344-3098

Toronto

vote2020_TOR@psac-afpc.com

647-317-1291

London

vote2020_LON@psac-afpc.com

226-636-6047

Sudbury

vote2020_SUD@psac-afpc.com

705-419-2591

Thunder Bay

vote2020_THU@psac-afpc.com

807-333-0892

Winnipeg

vote2020_WIN@psac-afpc.com

431-317-0691

Regina

vote2020_REG@psac-afpc.com

306-757-0522

Saskatoon

vote2020_SAK@psac-afpc.com

306-808-2574

Calgary

vote2020_CAL@psac-afpc.com

403-910-5855

Edmonton

vote2020_EDM@psac-afpc.com

780-306-3126

Vancouver

vote2020_VAN@psac-afpc.com

604-343-3759

Victoria

vote2020_VIC@psac-afpc.com

778-746-1781

Whitehorse

vote2020_WHI@psac-afpc.com

867-457-0055

Yellowknife

vote2020_YEL@psac-afpc.com

867-988-1979

Iqaluit

vote2020_IQA@psac-afpc.com

867-877-1038

UNE Multiculturalism Day

By Hayley Millington

Multiculturalism, the very idea in itself speaks to an ideology, a policy enacted by Canada’s government that gave birth to the perception that people of different cultures could co-exist within the wider framework of society. For the most part, Multiculturalism can be defined as the co-existence of diverse cultures, where cultures includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviours, cultural assumptions and values patterns of thinking and communicative styles. Canadians refer to the cultural mélange as its very own Multicultural mosaic.  

As you read this article, you may ask yourself what exactly does multiculturalism entail?  Well, here in Canada, at the core of Multiculturalism was immigration placing it in a position of social importance. Historically speaking, in Canada, during the 1970s and 1980s, the government officially adopted Multiculturalism and this is reflected in law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988; as well as it being mirrored in section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The policy itself is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

On June 27, 2003, Canada celebrated its first Multiculturalism Day, an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the uniqueness of Canada’s multicultural mosaic as it relates to the contributions of Canada’s immigrant populations, cultural communities and the values that we all share.

One can say that the diversity displayed by Canada has shaped the wider society and subsequently our way of life. Through Canada’s immigration, people from around the world have made Canada their home with the expectation of having, dare I say, the same opportunities and experiences as all “Canadians”.

As a black Trini-Canadian woman and one of the immigrant populous, I’d like to bring into focus the reality, irrespective of the misnomer that is multiculturalism. In recent weeks, we have had a rude re-awakening as present day events have only served to deconstruct the notion that Canada is immune to racism. The belief, fuelled by the sentiment that Canada, unlike the US, has exercised racial tolerance can be traced back to the country’s role in the Underground Railroad and Canada being a safe haven for runaway slaves.  “Stories” like these have added to Canada’s perception of itself and even contributed to how Canada is viewed on the worldwide stage. This kind of persona has provided its inhabitants with a false sense of security that denies the existence of racism as a tangible reality as black Canadians face systemic racism on all fronts.

Multiculturalism has in no way made us as a country, a society immune to the depravity of a life challenged by inequality and racial injustice. We each should be reminded that a truly multicultural society is one that we have not yet attained and is but a work in progress.

Canada’s strength lies in its diversity and now is not the time to turn a blind eye and miss the opportunity to eradicate the inherent racist policies and practices that litter Canada’s multicultural landscape and institutions while sullying Canada’s vision for a society that genuinely values diversity and richness along with the contributions of all its citizenry.

I would be remiss to not mention how Multiculturalism and inclusivity seems a distant goal as it remains lost and elusive to the people native to this land whose past and present struggles continue to be dis-regarded, dis-respected and dismissed.

These concepts should be a given to all that call this land, whether by birthright, by birth or through immigration, home.    

In Solidarity, I ask you to stand up, speak out, become an ally and align yourself with your fellow citizens who continue to live their daily lives plagued by the pestilence of racism and discrimination for a multicultural society reflects the true meaning of inclusivity, and not simply for the reasons of celebrating another’s culture or sampling their fare. It requires each individual’s commitment and attention. The events of the recent past demand it.

Hayley Millington is the UNE National Equity Representative for Racially Visible People.