There is an alarming rise of anti-trans and anti-queer actions, policies, and hate across the country. Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse people are already vulnerable without these additional attacks on their rights.
This new policy is very invasive and places unnecessary restrictions on transgender youth. Students 15 and under will require parental consent to change their names or pronouns at school. Furthermore, this new policy would refuse any youth under the age of 15 the use of puberty blockers. They are a safe, reversible and medically proven method of temporarily delaying physical changes caused by puberty. Such a prohibition will seriously harm the mental health of transgender youth.
UNE has always supported Human Rights. We will continue to fight to preserve the rights of the Two-Spirit, trans, and gender diverse members within our communities.
UNE is proud to represent Passport Officers and the colossal work they do for Canadians each and every day. When the responsibility of the Passport Program was transferred to former Canada Immigration and Citizenship (CIC), now Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2013, with service delivery to be delivered through the Employment and Social Development Canada’s Service Canada Initiative (ESDC), the employers claimed it was an efficient move to improve service delivery, but it has been anything but for our members. Eleven years on, Passport Officers continue to be lost in the shuffle and their work undervalued.
Shawn Walker, UNE Regional Vice-President, Outside Canada, will visit Passport Offices across the country to connect with members and to better understand their concerns. Shawn has been a member of the Passport Program since 2007. With several years at the national processing service, a brief time at the Certificate of Identity Office, and 9 years as a Passport Officer providing in-person service at the Ottawa regional office, Shawn now works at IRCC for passport. Shawn has been a Local executive of UNE Local 70130 since 2009; he has been a regional officer of PSAC-NCR, and is a graduate of the Union Development Program (UDP).
UNE wants to hear directly from the membership what workplace issues are at the forefront and how your union can help. The visits will take place in the Passport offices. UNE Passport members will also be able to meet and discuss with Shawn and the other UNE elected officers after work hours on the following dates:
February 27: Visit of the St. John’s Passport Office with UNE Regional Vice-President Gail Budgell, Atlantic
February 28: Visit of the Halifax Passport Office with Gail
February 29: Visit of the Fredericton Passport Office with UNE ARVP Elyse Jones, Atlantic
March 12: Visit of the Regina’s Passport Office with UNE Regional Vice-President Gloria Pfeifer, Saskatchewan
March 13: Visit of the Saskatoon Passport Office with Gloria
March 14: Visit of the Calgary Passport Offices with Assistant Regional Vice-President Cookie Kerel, Alberta, N.W.T. and Nunavut
March 15: Visit of the Edmonton Passport Office with Cookie
O’Siyo ᎣᏏᏲ “o-si-yo,” (Cherokee: I see you) Hello, Bonjour and 你好! (nǐ hǎo) union siblings.
Many of our union siblings are celebrating the Lunar New Year! Those from China, Tet in Vietnam and Seollal in Korea are celebrating with huge festivals. I hope those who are in places far from those celebrating find a chance to gather with their close friends and loved ones to spread the celebration world-wide.
This year represents my second Lunar New Year celebration with my partner. As many of you may know, it is also the auspicious year selected for my wedding.
Over time with my partner, I’ve learned so much about traditions and a culture I knew little about and I believe it’s allowed me to grow. I’ve taken on much of the work and am not expecting him to provide the information.
I’m wishing all members that celebrate the Lunar New Year in one form or another a wonderful year ahead. It’s time to celebrate shared moments with loved ones and know we will accomplish great things as we move forward together.
Happy Lunar New Year (the Year of the Wood Dragon)
Thank you, Merci, ᏙᎾᏓᎪᎲᎢ “di-da-yo-li-hv-dv-ga-le-ni-s-gv,” which means “Until we meet again”
When the merger took place and the former Statistical Survey Operations (SSO) interviewers were offered positions with Statistics Canada, some indeterminate and some part-time, all were advised it would be business as usual with additional entitlements and benefits as core public service employees under the PA collective agreement recently negotiated between TBS and PSAC. Since November 23, 2023, our DCC members have encountered many unexpected obstacles.
UNE believes all former interviewers should be treated as either indeterminate full-time or part-time workers, whereas the employer disagrees and believes part-timers should be treated as “shift-workers” and therefore not entitled to all the part-timer benefits as described in the newly achieved collective agreement.
Although a small victory in a long battle, UNE has worked with the employer on an overtime provision that benefits UNE members making the move from SSO to Statistics Canada. After many meetings between the employer and UNE representatives, the union was notified February 5, 2024 that the employer has agreed to correct overtime entitlements as described in article 25.13 of the PA collective agreement.
Each region will be asked to create a list of interviewers who have worked more than 7.5 hours/day as well as for weeks where interviewers worked greater than 37.5 hours/week. Once the numbers are compiled, the corrections will be made and outstanding overtime will be paid. The employer has now agreed to make the corrections retroactively going back to
November 23, 2023.
The work continues as UNE believes that all former SSO interviewers should be entitled to the benefits outlined in the PA agreement and since none were shift workers prior to the merger and no Stats Can letters of offer indicated any change in status, none should be considered shift workers post-merger. Therefore, shift worker articles do not apply.
UNE will continue to work with the employer to ensure all PA collective agreement articles are applied fairly and not applied selectively as the employer wishes.
January and February are the busiest months for passport offices. Because of the upcoming March Break in Quebec, from March 4 to 8, 2024, Canadians are applying in person at various passport service locations, such as the ones in Laval and Montreal.
It’s also a busy year for all offices because many people who purchased 10-year passports in 2014 will require renewal in the coming months. Furthermore, the government decided to transfer over 500 workers who helped with the processing of passports at Service Canada locations to work on the new dental plan. This has created a shortfall for passport offices felt across the country.
While times for in-person applications have been longer on the day of application, Canadians continue to receive their passports on time whether they apply in person or by mail, thanks to the diligence and professionalism of Passport Officers who are proud UNE Members.
Did you know? PSAC has a free online education program available to all members. The courses are typically 1-2 hours in length and include electronic handouts. You can work at your own pace to complete the courses.
These topics cover information important to Local activists as well as new members looking to familiarize themselves with how our union works.
You can access the site and create your account here. Registration only takes a couple of minutes.
O’Siyo ᎣᏏᏲ “o-si-yo,” (Cherokee: I see you) Hello and Bonjour!
Happy Black History Month Union Siblings,
I’m often asked, what does Black History mean to me?
I’m happy to see Black Canadian historic figures celebrated, in whom I see myself, and our contributions to Canada brought to the forefront. Yet I worry that this is the only time the next generation sees themselves highlighted and that one month isn’t enough for Canadians to learn of our roles within our country.
I’ve always made it a point to uplift our impacts on Canada year-round.
This year’s theme for Black History in Canada is Black Excellence. There is much of that in our Ancestors to celebrate as Canadians. However, too many are individuals that are not much older than I am. There are stories of the over two hundred years of Slavery in Canada and nearly one hundred and seventy years of segregation told by those such as Viola Desmond. There is also the closing of last segregated school for Black children in 1983. The enslavement and segregation of Black Canadians back-to-back means Canada has been robbed of too much Black ingenuity, art, originality, creativity and so much more. This has exacted a heavy price on Black Canadians but they have still found ways to contribute to Canada. We can do better and we can be better. My members have shown us all how.
I join an elite group of Black Women such as:
1825 – Rose Fortune Considered by many Canada’s 1st Female Police officer
1853- Mary Ann Shadd Cary First Female Publisher in Canada and a Black Women
I also sit among the ranks of union Black excellence firsts such as the likes of the Sleeping Car Porters, Cal Best, Muriel Jean Collins, Livingstone Holder, Mervis White, Craig Reynolds and Larry Rousseau. I will do my utmost to live up to the trust members have put in me and to make my communities proud.
I hope you will take some time this month to think about and share a few of the stories of Black Excellence historically within Canada but especially those making a contribution within your place of work, community and beyond.
Thank you, Merci, ᏙᎾᏓᎪᎲᎢ “di-da-yo-li-hv-dv-ga-le-ni-s-gv,” which means “Until we meet again”
Alisha Campbell National President Union of National Employees
The employer has informed us of the breach, and we expect them to follow up with our union and members about the full scope of the breach and take all necessary measures to protect their privacy and security.
Black History Month traces its origins back to the early 20th century, when honoring African American history was first proposed by the historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African American figures.
Woodson, often hailed as the “Father of Black History,” was committed to promoting the study of African American contributions to American History. He believed that history was more than just political and military achievements; it embodied the social, intellectual, and cultural highlights that painted a detailed picture of a people’s history.
In 1926, Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, started the first iteration of Black History Month, then called “Negro History Week.” The second week of February was selected to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both key figures in the history of African Americans.
Woodson’s aim was to encourage the coordinated teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation’s public schools. The week was met with enthusiastic response, prompting schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures.
Black History Month has since grown from a single week to being observed for a month. It has become a globally recognized celebration, observed not only in the United States but also in Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries around the world. It serves as a reminder of the struggles for racial justice and equality, and it spotlights the achievements and contributions of African Americans to science, education, literature, art, and the cultural development of society.
Today, Black History Month continues to be a time for reflection, recognition, and education. It’s an opportunity to engage in dialogue about race and equality, and to commit to understanding the rich history of people of African heritage. Through exhibitions, documentaries, readings, workshops, and seminars, Black History Month inspires individuals and communities to learn about and appreciate the history that helped shape the world we live in today.
During this Black History Month, we should all take the time to reflect on the struggles and achievements of Black people, which is essential in supporting social progress. Each of us has the obligation to raise awareness about the ongoing issues of racial injustice and inequality, encouraging society to engage in meaningful dialogue and action. Active participation promotes unity and solidarity, not just within Black communities, as people come together to celebrate and recognize Black history.
Celebrating Black History Month not only honors the past but also shapes our collective future by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Sam Padayachee is the UNE Regional Representative for Human Rights, Ontario.
As part of the collective agreement that PSAC negotiated during this round of bargaining for Parks Canada members, the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued to all eligible members on January 31, 2024.
See our FAQ for full details about eligibility for the lump sum payment.
The employer has 180 days from the date of signing to action retroactive pay, the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment and implement wage increases, wage adjustments and allowances. All non-monetary terms of the collective agreement took effect immediately upon signing on September 26, 2023.
Unfair labour practice fight ongoing
PSAC filed an unfair labour practice against Parks Canada, arguing that members who completed their contracts between the date of ratification on August 4 and September 26, 2023, should also receive the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment that was negotiated in good faith at the table.
Instead, Parks Canada delayed signing the agreement by almost two months after it was ratified by a majority of members. As a direct result of this delay, vulnerable term employees did not receive a benefit that they had just voted to accept. We will update members as soon as we have a decision on this complaint.
Send a letter to the Minister of the Environment Stephen Guilbeault and President of the Treasury Board Anita Anand to push the employer to honour the collective agreement.