Archive for the 'Stats Canada' Category

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.”

The Statistical Survey Operations agreements have been signed.

The four-year collective agreements, which expire on November 30, 2011, provide for across-the-board annual wage increases of 2.3 per cent for the first year from 2007 to 2008 and 1.5 per cent for each of the remaining three years. The agreements also broaden the definition of family, which now applies to various other leaves. They also improve the Bereavement Leave article and secure commitment from the employer to improve its communication to employees on pension and retirement options and to provide pre-retirement seminars.

Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada working for Statistical Survey Operations have voted in favour of new collective agreements that contain no concessions. The collective agreements cover both regional office and field interviewers.

The four-year collective agreements, which expire on November 30, 2011, provide for across-the-board annual wage increases of 2.3 per cent for the first year from 2007 to 2008 and 1.5 per cent for each of the remaining three years. The agreement also broadens the definition of family, which now applies to various other leaves. It also improves the Bereavement Leave article and secures commitment from the employer to improve its communication to employees on pension and retirement options and to provide pre-retirement seminars.

Despite negotiating under very difficult circumstances your bargaining teams were able to win some gains without allowing for any concessions.

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.

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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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Important changes to the PSHCP!

This issue of the bulletin outlines important changes to the PSHCP that take effect April 1, 2006. These changes to the plan are the result of a two year collaborative effort between the Treasury Board Secretariat, Bargaining Agents and the Federal Superannuates National Association under the auspices of the National Joint Council.

The changes include

  • the introduction of some brand new benefits,
  • a number of upgrades,
  • some changes to plan provisions to increase flexibility, and
  • new contribution rates for pensioners.

Contents of the bulletin include

  • Introducing new benefits
  • Introducing benefit upgrades
  • Introducing changes to plan provisions
  • A few words on Pay Direct Drug Cards (PDDC)
  • Questions and Answers

A copy will be mailed to all members covered by the plan, it is also available for download here pdf document.

National Joint Council LogoOTTAWA — The National Joint Council is pleased to announce that an agreement on the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) has been reached between representatives of the bargaining agents of the National Joint Council, the Federal Superannuates National Association and the Treasury Board Secretariat. The Public Service Health Care Plan is an important program providing health care benefits and services to over 500,000 members and their dependants.

The agreement is the product of a collaborative process that began in 2004. The terms of the new five-year agreement will improve benefits and ensure that the PSHCP continues on a sound financial foundation for the future. The new terms of the PSHCP will come into effect April 1, 2006 and will mark the first major changes in benefits under the Plan in over a decade.


After 12 years under the Liberals, government workers across the nation’s capital woke up to a new boss Tuesday morning.

“I feel a little bit like a virgin on her wedding night. It’s exciting, but there’s fear and trepidation to see what’s coming next,” said Ed Cashman, vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada in the National Capital Region.

Despite some anxiety, Cashman believes public service employees are bound to benefit from the new marriage.

One immediate advantage of the new Conservative goverment, in Cashman’s view, is the end of Reg Alcock’s term.


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