Deal reached for Phoenix damages, PA group and common issues

July 9, 2020

In a victory for federal public service workers who have gone above and beyond to support Canadians during this pandemic, PSAC has reached a tentative agreement that provides fair wages, no concessions, and improved working conditions for the 70,000 members of the PA group, and Treasury Board common issues.

Alongside these successful talks, PSAC has also secured proper compensation for Phoenix damages to be paid to PSAC members for the pain and suffering caused by the broken pay system.

Phoenix damages

PSAC successfully negotiated a Phoenix damages settlement that is significantly better than the employer’s deal with other federal bargaining agents. Last year, PSAC rejected the government’s meagre offer of 5 days of cashable leave, which was too little and would have rewarded those who earn more while punishing workers who make less. The current agreement provides PSAC members with a fair and equitable lump sum payment of $2,500.

Unlike the tentative deal for Treasury Board bargaining that must be voted on by PSAC members in the near future, the Phoenix damages agreement required ratification by the PSAC National Board of Directors. The Board voted unanimously in favour of the offer on July 3, 2020.

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.

PA Group settlement

The PSAC bargaining team successfully secured fair wage increases averaging at 2.11% per year.

PA group members would receive the following wage increases:

2018  2019  2020
2.8%  2.2%  1.35%

In addition to those wage increases, the following group-specific wage adjustments and allowances were also secured: ​

  • Improved retention allowance expanded for all employees working in compensation operations to $3,500 per year
  • A new $3,000 annual allowance for armed Fishery Officers
  • A new Primary Responsibility Allowance of $2,000 per year for parole officers and parole officer supervisors

Other improvements to the PA collective agreement include: ​

  • Increase in maternity related reassignment or leave qualification from 52 to 78 weeks following the birth of a child
  • Several leave improvements including for 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
  • A new leave provision for members elected to union leadership
  • An increase in meal allowance for overtime from $10 to $12
  • New language to clarify that the Employer shall provide an unpaid meal break of a minimum of thirty (30) minutes per full working day, normally at the mid-point of the working day
  • Renewal and update of a memorandum of understanding on a Joint Study on the Work Environment for Employees Working in Call Centres
  • New provision that provides call centre employees with training on crisis intervention and coping
  • Increases to funding for the Joint Learning Program, including a pilot study on health and safety training
  • Language that explicitly provides breaks for nursing employees (to nurse or express breast milk)
  • Memorandum of understanding for a Joint Study on employee support mechanisms for employees who in the course of their duties are exposed to explicit and disturbing material, and/or potentially threatening situations
  • Joint committee to review the use of Indigenous languages in the federal public service, examine Indigenous language skills in the performance of employee duties and consider the advantages that Indigenous language speakers bring to the public service
  • Memorandum of understanding regarding Occupational Group Structure (OGS) review

Common issues settlement

Alongside negotiations for the PA group, PSAC bargaining teams for the TC, EB and SV groups also joined talks to reach a settlement for Treasury Board issues common to all groups. Some of the key improvements include:

  • 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
  • 10 days of paid domestic violence leave
  • 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.
  • Improvements to parental leave pay

Updated language to match the new legislation including a new extended leave option and the sharing of parental leave
Expanded supplementary allowance for every week an employee is on extended or shared parental leave
Additional weeks for parents covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, when both parents work in the public service.

  • New memorandum of understanding to explore the issues related to childcare in the public service
  • Updated and improved language to match the new legislation on compassionate care and caregiving leave
  • Better language to allow the use of employer facilities for union activities
  • New memorandum of understanding to protect certain working conditions of civilian members of the RCMP
  • New memorandum of understanding on mental health in the workplace to support the work of the Centre for Expertise on Mental Health
  • In the event of workforce adjustment, the education allowance has increased to $17,000
  • Deletion of Memorandum of Understanding on Supporting Employee Wellness. As a result, sick leave will remain untouched.

Full text and next steps

In the coming days when the final text and full details of the tentative agreement for the PA group and common issues are available, they will be shared with the membership. PA members will shortly thereafter be invited to participate in online ratification votes. Details about the votes will be shared as soon as possible.

The PSAC 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 the PSAC’s member portal, or that you create an account if you have not done so already.

Other PSAC bargaining groups
Bargaining dates for the SV group will be announced in the weeks to come. Negotiations for the EB, TC and Canada Revenue Agency groups will resume next week.



Bargaining to resume for 100,000 PSAC members

After months of pressure from PSAC and its members, the federal government has agreed to return to the bargaining table. Negotiations for 70,000 federal public service workers in the PA group – PSAC’s largest bargaining unit – will resume with Treasury Board June 23 to July 3. It will include Treasury Board common issues and Phoenix damages.

Bargaining will also resume for nearly 30,000 PSAC-UTE members at Canada Revenue Agency the week of July 6.

“Elsewhere in Canada, the need to provide stability and fair compensation to public service workers during this pandemic was recognized months ago – provinces, municipalities and large employers across the country have been negotiating and settling contracts,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward. “It’s high time the federal government did the same for their employees.”

Throughout the pandemic, PSAC members have been on the front lines battling the virus and delivering emergency financial support to millions of Canadians. They continue to provide critical services despite not having a new contract or wage increases in up to four years.

They also continue to endure Phoenix pay issues and have yet to be fairly compensated for their financial hardships.

“The government has clearly listened to the more than 15,000 PSAC members who wrote to them in recent weeks urging Treasury Board to get back to the table,” said Aylward. “It shouldn’t take that kind of pressure to get back to negotiations, but I’m grateful to our members for supporting our bargaining teams in such large numbers.”

“And it’s a welcome change to see the government – during National Public Service Week no less – move from kind words about our members, to action,” added Aylward. “Now they have to show up with a mandate to reach a fair settlement without any more delays.”

Updates for other Treasury Board bargaining units will be coming soon.

Message from the UNE National President on National Public Service Week

Members of the UNE Family,

This week is National Public Service Week (NPSW). Its goal is to “recognize the value of the services rendered by federal public service employees” and to “acknowledge the contribution of federal public service employees to the federal administration.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak started, our members have been exemplary and stepped up to the plate and made sure federal public services were delivered. Whether our members are performing critical work or working remotely from their homes, they adapted quickly to an unprecedented situation.

Many of our members under federal jurisdiction are still attempting to negotiate a fair and just collective agreement including separate employers members, Treasury Board members at the Program and Administrative Services (PA), Operational Services (SV), Technical Services (TC), and Education and Library Science (EB) bargaining tables, Parks Canada members, and Statistical Survey Operations (SSO) members.

UNE members have been here for Canada during the pandemic, so we expect the Government of Canada to be there for them, if they truly value their workforce, and return to the bargaining table.

Respectfully and in Solidarity,

Kevin King
UNE National President

PSAC to government: Keep public services stable, head back to the bargaining table

Statement from PSAC National President Chris Aylward: 

Over the last two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSAC members have been on the frontlines battling the virus and delivering emergency financial support to millions of Canadians. They continue to provide these critical services, they do so without a new contract, and many have not seen wage increases for up to four years.

It’s time for the federal government to fix this by heading back to the bargaining table and reaching a settlement for over 140,000 public service workers.

PSAC members  are putting Canadians first during this unprecedented crisis. They work around the clock to deliver benefits, and they face the virus head-on every day at our borders, in our federal penitentiaries, in meat packing plants as they inspect our food, and the list goes on. Thousands have also stepped forward to do completely new jobs wherever there has been a need to support the government’s relief efforts. They want to keep working but they also want a fair contract.

Elsewhere in Canada, the need to provide stability and fair compensation to public service workers during this pandemic has been recognized. The government of Ontario bargained and settled with its teachers’ unions in the first weeks of the crisis, and the Quebec government is at the bargaining table with unions representing over 500,000 public sector workers. Even large federal employers like Canada Post reached a tentative agreement with PSAC members just days ago.

And in response to the pandemic the government implemented massive changes at lightning speed across the public service (with the help of PSAC members), yet they have refused to move forward on the comparably modest task of settling a round of bargaining.

There is no reason for the federal government to delay. Canadians need a stable public service that is well supported during this difficult time, and our members certainly deserve to have their basic right to a fair contract respected.

We should also keep in mind that these are the same workers who continue to experience four years of Phoenix pay nightmares and have yet to be compensated for their hardships.

We are urging the federal government to get their negotiators back to the table with a mandate to reach a fair settlement to the benefit of PSAC members and all Canadians.

PA group: Summer leave request deadline extended due to COVID-19

PSAC has successfully negotiated an extension to May 15, 2020 for members of the PA group to submit summer leave requests in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PSAC and Treasury Board agreed to push back the deadline from April 15 in a memorandum of agreement signed this week. The employer’s deadline to respond to leave requests will also be extended to June 1.

However, employees who want to submit annual leave requests for the first two weeks of June must do so before April 15, and the employer will make every reasonable effort to respond before May 1.

The deadline may be extended depending on the duration of the pandemic.

Public Interest Commission report ties Parks Canada workers’ fate to PA group

An uneventful Public Interest Commission (PIC) report has intertwined the fate of 5,800 Parks Canada workers with PSAC’s largest bargaining unit – the PA group.

The recently published report unfortunately made little to no recommendations, instead it draws a parallel between the Parks bargaining table and PSAC’s PA bargaining table. The report quotes directly from the PA PIC report, and states that without the major common issues being resolved, such as Phoenix compensation and higher wage increases, the parties will find it difficult to reach a tentative agreement.  

PSAC is disappointed that the PIC did not explicitly make specific recommendations on key Parks issues such as:

  • parity with the core public service;
  • Phoenix pay protections and remedies;
  • a competitive wage increase;
  • fair compensation for Park Wardens;
  • work life balance initiatives, such as improved maternity and parental leave;
  • protections in the workplace; and
  • fairness for seasonal and term workers.

However, the PIC did acknowledge the struggle Parks Canada workers have had in achieving parity with the core public service since Parks was made a separate agency nearly 20 years ago. The report suggests parity with the core is an issue that will need to be addressed if the Parks Canada Agency hopes to reach an agreement with Parks members.

Next steps

Although National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for the Parks bargaining unit, all strike votes are currently suspended until March 30. At that time the union will re-evaluate whether to continue the suspension or resume the strike votes. 

Despite the suspension of votes, PSAC will continue to bargain for all units currently in negotiations.

We will be updating our national and regional websites, social media, as well as sending information by email as the situation develops. We encourage all our members to check these resources regularly and subscribe to our mailing list.


Parks Canada workers to join over 100,000 PSAC members in strike votes

March 11, 2020

National President Chris Aylward has authorized strike votes for members of the Parks Canada bargaining unit. Parks members will have the opportunity to join 90,000 Treasury Board bargaining members to vote at strike meetings to be held from March 16 to May 7. Strike votes for the 27,000 members of the Canada Revenue Agency bargaining unit are already underway.

A strong strike mandate from members will force the Parks Canada Agency to come back to the bargaining table with a new mandate so that your Parks bargaining team can get a fair settlement quickly.

In the coming weeks members will receive notices of strike vote meetings via email and through your locals and regional offices. The information will also be posted on the front page of the national website, as well on PSAC regional websites.

Source: PSAC

Granville Island bargaining update

The CMHC Granville Island bargaining team, consisting of Tony Barrow, Sandy Scott, Steven Chen, Verda Cook, and Maxime Thibault-Gingras met with the employer February 18-20 in Vancouver to begin bargaining a new collective agreement. The current collective agreement expires March 31, 2020.

The team tabled a package of non-monetary proposals designed to improve working conditions as well as new collective agreement language requiring management to consult with the union when contracting work out and to demonstrate why contracting work out for special projects is preferable to hiring or training new employees.

The employer tabled a significant amount of non-monetary proposals, many of which were housekeeping items that did not affect the substance of the collective agreement or were legally required.

While the bargaining team was able to agree to over 20 of these proposals, the employer did not accept any of the union’s proposals.

At the end of the session, the team sent a clear message to the employer that during the next round of bargaining, scheduled for April, management must come to the table prepared to address monetary issues, including a fair wage increase.

Approximately 60 members of PSAC/UNE Local 20378 work on Granville Island, performing a wide variety of administrative, maintenance, and public outreach duties.


Treasury Board bargaining telephone town halls

Telephone town halls with PSAC members in the PA, SV, TC and EB groups will be held on March 9 and 10. Each call is 30 minutes long and will focus on bargaining and upcoming strike votes.

List of regional telephone town hall

March 9

  • Atlantic (English): 6pm EDT
  • Ontario (English): 7pm EDT
  • Prairies-NWT (English): 8pm EDT

March 10

  • Atlantic-Quebec-NCR-Ontario (French): 7pm EDT
  • NCR-Quebec-Nunavut (English): 8pm EDT
  • BC-Yukon (English): 9pm EDT

You can participate by calling one of the following numbers at the date and time you wish to participate.

English calls: 1-877-229-8493; PIN to join the call – 112560

French calls: 1-877-255-5810; PIN to join the call – 118363