Archive for the 'CFIA' Category

updated April 18th, 2011

clipboard01Grievance time lines are one of the most important elements of problem solving. If we miss the initial filing of a grievance or the transmittal of grievances between levels we shortchange one or more of our members. In order to avoid this happening we have updated and posted several grievance time line flowcharts, more will follow for other bargaining units.

PSAC has filed a policy grievance against a Treasury Board directive to prevent employees from posting the union’s pension petition in the workplace.

The directive, issued Feb. 26, ordered managers to:

  • deny all requests to post petition sheets
  • deny all requests to distribute the petition electronically
  • prevent employees who serve the public from wearing stickers

“We consider this Directive to be censoring and an outright violation of union members’ freedom of expression and association,” said John Gordon.

Did your employer take down PSAC petitions or otherwise interfere in the pension campaign? Let us know.

The grievance alleges the directive violates Use of employer facilities and No discrimination provisions in the following collective agreements:

  • Program and Administrative Services;
  • Operational Services;
  • Technical Services;
  • Education and Library Science;
  • Border Services;
  • Canada Revenue Agency;
  • Parks; and
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“We need to hear from PSAC members in these workplaces to determine the extent of the damage the employer caused with this directive,” Gordon said. “If there was an incident in your workplace, let us know.”

As a separate employer, the CFIA is required by law to seek approval for ratification from the Governor in Council through Parliamentary process. The employer has indicated that it could take three to four weeks for this process to be completed.

Once the employer receives approval from the Governor in Council, the Bargaining team members will sign the collective agreement.

Once the parties have signed off on the new collective agreement, the employer has 90 days to implement the retroactive clauses on salaries and back pay. All other changes to the collective agreement will come into effect as soon as the agreement is signed by all parties the employer and the union. Your bargaining team members will sign off immediately upon receiving notice of Governor in Council approval.

Meanwhile, your bargaining team will be proofreading the changes to the Collective Agreement. Copies of the updated contract will be issued to all members by the employer.


CFIA ratification vote information

A ratification vote is being held for members working at CFIA.CFIA tiger logo

  • Wed Jan 28, 2009 – Victoria, contact the Victoria RO for information 250 953 1050
  • Tues Feb 3, 2009 – University of Phoenix, 4401 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, BC 12 – 5 pm
  • Thurs Feb 5, 2009 – Village Green Hotel, 4801-27th Street, Vernon, BC 5:30 pm
  • Tues Feb 10, 2009 – Best Western Country Meadows Inn, 3070 – 264th St (At Fraser Hwy), Aldergrove, BC 12 – 5 pm(meeting room above the White Spot)
  • Thu Feb 12 9-5 pm and Fri Feb 13 9-3 pm PSAC Regional office 200-5238 Joyce Street Vancouver, BC, Tel: (604) 430-5631 – buzz room 200 (PSAC) at the door.
  • Ballots will be mailed to members in remote locations, per the PSAC remote ballot policy.

PSAC and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have reached a tentative agreement. Details to follow soon.

Were back at the table but where are our agreements?

Negotiations have resumed with Treasury Board for our PA, SV, FB and EB units. Our TC team will be in mediation from October 8 to 10. Our Parks Canada team started mediation on September 29 and our CFIA team is back at the bargaining table this week. Were back at the table but were still not close to settlements.

Whats the election got to do with it?

This federal election is critical for PSAC members and for the future of federal public services. What will happen to individual Canadians and to our communities if governments continue to cut budgets and programs, contract out, privatize or eliminate the services we deliver?

Its also critical because PSAC members in the federal public sector are not just electing a government, were electing our employer.


CFIA Bargaining update – September 2008

The bargaining team would like to welcome two new additions to the team and send our thanks to two members who are departing the team.

Brea Lewis, elected bargaining representative for Alberta has left the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for a new position with the Canadian Border Services Agency. It was a tough decision for Brea, but the new position allows her to relocate her family to her home community as well as advance her career.

Mike Vanson, as alternate bargaining delegate, will replace Brea on the bargaining team. Mike was recently re-elected as the Regional Vice President for Northern Alberta and the North West Territories. Mike resides in Lacombe, Alberta and works as an Animal Health Inspector with the Red Deer District office of CFIA.

Debbie Forsythe, elected bargaining representative for the Atlantic was recently elected as the First National Vice President for the Agriculture Union. This is a full time position of the Component, therefore Debbie has resigned her bargaining position to devote her time and efforts to her new position, that will require relocation to Ottawa.

Gary Paynter as alternate bargaining delegate, will replace Debbie on the bargaining team. Gary is the current President of Local 90004, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and also the Alternate RVP for Western Atlantic and non-Treasury Board Director, Maritimes, PSAC. Gary works as a Plant Programs Inspector in Charlottetown.

A heartfelt thank you to both Brea and Debbie for their hard work with the team to date, and a warm welcome to Mike and Gary, as new additions to the team.

Negotiations will continue with a Bargaining team caucus on September 29 and negotiations with the employer to resume September 30 to October 2 inclusive. The Bargaining team looks forward to your signs and messages of support for the next session. These messages we affix to the wall behind us so that our employer can see them, read the comments, and know that we are there for our members who want a fair and just contract for all.

In solidarity, CFIA Bargaining team

Actions are taking place all across the province…

In Downtown Vancouver, meet in front of Canada Place for music, speakers and food from 12 noon – 1PM. Look for the PSAC banners! Show your support for Public Services and your Bargaining Teams! Wear your “I Support My Bargaining Team” tattoo or sticker and enjoy a free hot dog!

In Metro Vancouver members are going to a Bargaining, BBQ and Baseball event at Nat Bailey Stadium. They’ll hear about negotiations, share a meal, and enjoy a Vancouver Canadians game afterwards!

The South Kootenays is encouraging members to dress in ratty clothes to demonstrate how poorly they are paid.

In the Service Canada site in Prince George members will be in beach wear with “We deserve better” buttons and balloons and “I Support my bargaining team” tattoos and stickers at its National Public Service Week breakfast.

Fraser Valley is distributing peanuts, symbolizing what they think of the employer’s pay offer and giving out bargaining information to the members.

There will be a Union Pizza Day lunch at both Service Canada Sites in Kamloops and Salmon Arm. In Kamloops they are asking members to wear green that day (Show us some green) and will have green balloons with I Support my Bargaining Team stickers.

If there are no events near you initiate your own!

There are plenty of things you can do to show your support! Download our “Things to Do” flyer (.pdf)

Send a message to your MP! Sign a Think Public postcard and make sure your MP gets the message!

Please see the document below (jpg), which outlines the bargaining process for CFIA under the Public Service Labour Relations Act: Conciliation/Strike route.

Download this document as a pdf: CFIA bargaining process under the PSLRA

This round of bargaining is taking place under the new Public Service Labour Relations Act, here are 10 things you ought to know about the law …

  1. The basic framework remains unchanged
  2. The new Act emphasizes “the public interest”
  3. There are new factors which Arbitration Boards must consider, including an “ability to pay” clause.
  4. Conciliation Boards are replaced by Public Interest Commissions, which also must consider the same factors.
  5. The conduct of strike votes is now governed by the law.
  6. The strike vote has a “best before” date (60 days).
  7. The Employer has a “free speech” clause.
  8. Designations are gone, replaced by “Essential Services Agreements”.
  9. There are prohibitions against impeding ESA workers.
  10. Planning strike vote timing and strike vote commencement has become more complex.

CFIA Bargaining Bite: Pay Parity

bargaining CFIAThere was a preliminary statement by the Union negotiating team addressing the issue of Pay Parity with other sectors of the Public Service. We have put the employer on notice that this will be a priority for the union when we table our full pay position.

We encourage the membership to read both the Union and The CFIA bargaining proposals and to provide feedback to the team member in BC – email Bob Jackson.

CFIA Negotiations update

A quick update:

The initial meeting between the PSAC/CFIA negotiating team and the employer are scheduled to take place on January 15th and 16th in Ottawa. Notice to bargain was served on the employer on September 28, 2007.

CFIA Bargaining Bite: New Pay Increments

CFIA members can expect to receive their new pay increments in this upcoming pay period. Back pay will also be processed and should follow in the next little while. It was our intent to commence negotiations before our contract expired but we were unable to do so. Our bargaining team expects to be back at the table by mid January.

CFIA members ratify agreement

PSAC members with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have ratified their tentative agreement. Arrangements will now be made to sign the new collective agreement which expires on December 31, 2007. Preparation for the next round of bargaining will begin soon. Discussions are underway to begin negotiations with the employer early in the fall.

For more information visit the national website.

CFIA tiger logoMeetings are taking place across the Country starting the week of July 9 and continuing until the end of July to conduct a ratification vote on the tentative agreement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Upcoming ratification vote meetings in BC
Date Location Time(s)
July 17 Pavilion, 8801 East Saanich Road, Victoria starting 12 noon
July 17 Victoria RO, 210-1497 Admirals Road, Victoria starting 6PM
July 19 Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, 6083 McKay Avenue, Burnaby 11AM-1PM & 4PM-6PM
July 25 Ramada Hotel, 36035 North Parallel Rd., Abbotsford 11AM-1PM & 4PM-6PM
July 24 Vernon, Kelowna, Oliver locations & times TBA

Bargaining Team member Bob Jackson will be in attendance at all the meetings. For more information please contact the Victoria Regional Office.

These meetings are your opportunity to cast your vote on the tentative agreement. The ratification kit document will be available at the meetings and is also available on-line at the national website.

Your PSAC negotiating team reached a tentative agreement on June 20th for our members working at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This is a one-year agreement that includes a salary increase of 2.5% effective January 1, 2007. The agreement would expire at the end of 2007.

The tentative agreement contains changes to reflect new provisions in the Public Service Modernization Act regarding union leave (the replacement of Conciliation Boards with Public Interest Commissions) and a Grievance Article to reflect our ability to file Group and Policy grievances.

The Maternity and Parental Articles were also updated to reflect the improvements gained as a result of the introduction of the changes made in the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.


CFIA tiger logoThe PSAC held a National Bargaining Conference in Ottawa September 12 to 15, 2006, to prepare the next round of negotiations with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The PSAC negotiates on behalf of nearly 4,000 members at the CFIA.

The process of renewing the collective agreement at the CFIA began on June 23, 2006, when the PSAC issued the Input Call for Bargaining Demands for the 2007 Round of Negotiations.

Download the first CFIA Negotiations Bulletin (pdf) to continue reading a report on the National Bargaining Conference, as well as a backgrounder on how bargaining works at the CFIA & how we choose our bargaining demands.

CFIA National Bargaining Conference: report

CFIA National Bargaining Conference 2006 – Day 1

The conference began with a keynote speech delivered by Robyn Benson, AEC officer assigned to the CFIA bargaining unit.  Sister Benson provided an overview of our last bargaining cycle and the changes implemented to improve the process in this round.  She outlined the activities for the next two and one-half days, highlighting the fact that conference participants are expected to discuss the bargaining demands package and bargaining priorities, elect a negotiating team, and develop communication and mobilization plans.  She further emphasized that preparation and planning are key elements to successful negotiations.  Her role and responsibilities were also clearly outlined to the group.

The 21 participants in attendance received a presentation about the challenges we face with the new Public Service Modernization Act. They were also told that the PSAC is willing and ready to rise to the challenge in order to reach a fair collective agreement for its members at the CFIA.


CFIA logo

To Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Members,

The deadline of August 14th 2006 for the submission of bargaining demands for the next round of negotiations for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is fast approaching.

The agreement expires December 31st, 2006 and we anticipate serving notice to bargain in September.

Please be reminded that your bargaining demands must be accompanied by complete rationales and justifications: for more information please contact your local Executive.

In response to some questions we’ve received lately, here is a brief overview of the changes to the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) and the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) under the Public Service Modernization Act along with links to the relevant sections of the legislation.

Click to jump to

Click the ^ to follow a link to the relevant piece of legislation or website.

Labour Relations – Grievances (Part 2 of the PSLRA)

There are now three types of grievances: individual^, group^ and policy^. Individual grievances are much like the past; group grievances are filed by the Union and must relate to the interpretation or application of the collective agreement – but individuals sign onto a consent form, thereby allowing the issue to move forward more efficiently and giving a remedy to those individuals who sign on; policy grievances are union grievances that also must relate to the interpretation or application of the collective agreement – they are filed at the final level with PSAC approval as the bargaining agent [similar to the way section 99 references were processed]. Policy grievances are “new” because the Union can file a policy grievance whether an individual could also grieve the issue or not [the limitation that existed for section 99 references];

Issues relating to deployments will be grievable once the new Public Service Employment Act is in force. However, the only issue that can be referred to adjudication is whether the individual deployed had given consent to the deployment; this includes persons who are deployed as a result of a finding that he or she harassed and is deployed out of the work unit. The Adjudicator will be entitled to inquire into whether there actually was harassment as part of the consent issue;^

Adjudicators can award interest in cases of termination, demotion, suspension or financial penalty;^

Adjudicators can now interpret and apply the Canadian Human Rights Act, and they can award the damages set out in that Act for pain and suffering (maximum of $20,000) and punitive damages (maximum of $20,000);^

The Canadian Human Rights Commission must be given notice of any adjudication that deals with a human rights-related issue and it can intervene in the hearing;

Subject to general policies set by Treasury Board, each Department’s deputy head now has the direct statutory power to set standards of discipline and set penalties (including termination, suspension and demotion), to provide for termination or demotion for unsatisfactory performance or non-disciplinary reasons, or provide for the termination of employment of persons to whom an offer of employment is made as a result of a transfer of work outside the core public administration; and

In cases of termination or demotion for unsatisfactory performance, an adjudicator can now only rule on whether the deputy head’s decision relating to performance was “reasonable”.^

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Labour Relations – Alternate Dispute Resolution/Informal Conflict Management Systems (ICMS)

Deputy heads must, in consultation with the union, establish an information conflict management system;^

Minimum binding guidelines for all ICM Systems have been issued by Treasury Board and are available on its website;^

ICMS can apply to any workplace conflict but does not override the grievance process;

It is strictly voluntary and individuals have a right to have a union or other representative present;^

The Union must be notified if the subject-matter of the ICMS involves the interpretation or application of the collective agreement;^

Opting into ICMS will not prejudice time limits under the grievance process; they’ll start ticking again once you opt out of ICMS if it isn’t working.

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Labour Relations – Consultation and Co-development (Part 1, Division 3 of the PSLRA)

It’s now mandatory for each deputy head to establish a union-management consultation committee. This includes all Treasury Board departments and separate employers. For many workplaces, UMCC or similar committees are already in place and functioning;

Employers and/or deputy heads and bargaining agents may also engage in co-development; this means the identification of workplace problems and the development and analysis of solutions to those problems;

Co-development is a joint analysis and decision-making process that is much more involved than consultation and will generally take place at a higher / national level. Any initiative must have bargaining agent approval;

Many employer/department representatives don’t understand the distinction between co-development and consultation. They ask to “co-develop” issues such as overtime distribution agreements. This is not co-development; so when in doubt, call it consultation.

Neither of these processes can serve to circumvent the collective bargaining process, or take away rights under a collective agreement.

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Labour Relations – Essential Services (Part 1, Division 8 of the PSLRA)

There has been a change in the way essential services are defined – it now includes “facilities” and refers to “a segment of the public” as well as the general public;^

The bargaining agent and the employer must negotiate an “essential services agreement”;^

Each agreement will deal with three issues: (1) identify the services that are essential; (2) what level of essential service is being provided (i.e. EI or CPP cheques must go out every two weeks); and (3) how many employees are required to maintain that level of service;

(3) is a change from the current process. Under the old system, if a job description even involved a small percent of the essential service, the position was designated. Under the new law, if there are 100 jobs that involve duties deemed “essential”, but only about 25% of the job relates to these essential duties, then only 25 positions will be deemed “essential”. The persons who are in those positions will only do the essential duties for 100% of their time (and therefore will not perform the other 75% of the “normal” work). This leaves 75 employees who can exercise the right to strike. Under the old system, all 100 of these positions would have been designated regardless of how much of the job was essential;

The Union and Employer must negotiate issues (1) and (3). The employer unilaterally decides (2) – the level of service that must be provided; If we can’t agree on (1) and (3), the labour board will hold a hearing and render a decision.^

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Labour Relations – Strikes (Prohibitions regarding strike activity are covered under Part 1, Division 14 of the PSLRA)

The Union is now required to hold a strike vote among all employees in the bargaining unit – not just Union members;^

Excluded employees are not covered by this, but members who have been suspended or had their membership revoked are;

Every employee must be given a reasonable opportunity to vote and to be informed of the result of the vote;^

An employee can complain to the PSLRB that there was an irregularity in the vote; the PSLRB can dismiss the complaint outright if the irregularity could not have affected the outcome;^

The Union must initiate strike action within 60 days of the date the vote is held;

The timing of strikes must not only take into account this 60 day “window”, but is subject to a range of other requirements including a prohibition on strike activity until 30 clear days have elapsed since singing off on an essential services agreement;

There is a new prohibition that says that no person can impede or attempt to impede essential service workers from entering or leaving the workplace;

There are new fines for both the union and individual members relating to strike activity.

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Labour Relations – Unfair Labour Practices (Part 1, Division 12 of the PSLRA)

The PSLRA now says that a Union cannot expel, suspend, discipline, deny membership, or apply its rules, in a discriminatory manner; after having exhausted the appeals under the Union constitution(s), an individual may also file a complaint with the Board alleging a violation of this provision;^

The employer now has a right to “free speech” and does not commit an unfair labour practice where it offers an opinion as long as it doesn’t use intimidation, threats, coercion, promises or undue influence.^

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Staffing (Covered by the Public Service Employment Act)

There’s a new definition of merit that radically changes the basis for appointments;^

Relative merit is gone, merit now only means that the person meets the essential qualifications of the position and has certain other “assets” that the department considers important for its current or future needs;

The Act actually says that it is not inconsistent with merit to only consider one person for a job;

The changes to the definition of merit have an impact on lay-offs since reverse order of merit no longer applies.

There are new rules that apply to how candidates are notified of job opportunities, selected and assessed;

The Act no longer favours appointments from within the public service so there will likely be an increase in open (“external”) appointment processes instead of closed (“internal”) appointment processes;

The power to appoint, and the decision on whether to even advertise a job opportunity, is to be delegated to the lowest possible management level;

Extensions to a term are no longer considered new appointments;

Appeals (and Public Service Commission Appeal Boards) are gone;

Complaints for internal selection processes can only be made, on limited grounds, to a new Public Service Staffing Tribunal;

The Tribunal has the power to interpret and apply the Canadian Human Rights Act in relation to a complaint;

The role of the Public Service Commission is, largely, to audit departments and how they administer the Act.

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