Archive for the 'National Issues' Category

The election of a Conservative majority government should be cause for concern for public service workers and all Canadians who believe in the role of government in providing quality public services.

Stephen Harper has been given the responsibility of government for the coming four years. Given his actions while in a minority government, we are very concerned about his plans now that he has achieved a majority. PSAC celebrates the election of progressive candidates who will need to hold the government to account for its policies, particularly with regards to public services.

The New Democratic Party, with its historic win and official opposition status, must keep Harper to his word that he will not cut public services to Canadians or turn the clock back on equality. Newly elected MPs from the labour movement such as Nycole Turmel, the former National President of PSAC and MP-elect in Hull-Aylmer, bode well for a strong, principled opposition in the next Parliament.

Throughout the election campaign, PSAC reached out to its membership across the country and received very positive feedback on our priority issues. PSAC members will have to redouble our efforts and come together to confront attacks on the public service and the rights of our members.

The Conservative platform promised to reduce program spending by a significant amount but did little to explain where these savings would come from. Continued strategic reviews of departments and the proposed operational review of government program spending will no doubt have a significant impact on the quality and accessibility of public services enjoyed by all Canadians.

The reliance on attrition and efficiencies in the public sector to balance the budget will reduce the quality of the services provided by public service workers as they are called upon to provide the same service with less resources and staff.

PSAC will use all means at its disposal to enforce collective agreements and to protect its members from an erosion of their rights. We must all work together to ensure our quality public services and the workers that provide them remain an integral part of Canadian society and government.

The PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference, which will be held September 30 to October 2, 2011 at the Explorer Hotel and the Yellowknife Inn in Yellowknife, NT, under the theme “The Path that Unites us”.

The objectives of the 2011 PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference are to:

  • educate, politicize and mobilize Aboriginal members by making links between themselves, the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights;
  • empower, unite and engage Aboriginal members to take action and move the human rights agenda forward;


PSAC members in good standing and who self-identify as Aboriginal may apply to be a delegate to this Conference. Priority will be given to members who are active on aboriginal workers’ rights in their union or workplace. Priority will also be given to community activist on Aboriginal issues. The selection of delegates will take into account representation such as Region, Component, language, youth, gender and other equity groups.

Delegates will be entitled to full voice and vote during the conference, including the resolutions and elections processes.

Funding for Delegates:

Delegate costs to the 2011 PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference will be fully covered as per the 2003 PSAC Triennial Convention decision and PSAC Travel Directive. Costs covered are as follows:

  • travel costs, including ground transportation;
  • hotel accommodation costs at The Explorer Hotel and The Yellowknife Inn;
  • loss of salary;
  • per diem for meals;
  • incidental costs;
  • the conference registration fee of $150.00
  • child care as per the Family Care Policy;
  • costs related to accessibility requirements.

For more information and online application, visit the national website.

The severance FAQ at the national website has been updated.

Q. I am a term employee. Do I benefit from the cash out?

Q. What is the definition of continuous employment?

Q. I was off on extended sick leave without pay for a year. Will severance be subtracted from this?

Q.  How will the new severance provisions affect an employee’s service date for leave, seniority and pension entitlements?

Q. What are the tax implications of the cash out?

For the answer to these, and many other questions about the severance cash-out, visit the national website.

Thinking about getting involved in the election? Yes, you can – even if you work for the federal government. Here are a few examples of ways to get involved, outside of your workplace and on your own time:

  • Wear a candidate button in public
  • Place an election sign on your property
  • Work as a canvasser
  • Volunteer in a campaign office
  • Take part in election day activities
  • Attend peaceful demonstrations on political topics
  • Solicit funds from the public for a candidate
  • Write a letter to the editor endorsing a candidate or party

Some restrictions may apply to some PSAC members, especially if you are covered by the Public Service Employment Act. Keep these in mind:

  • Don’t identify yourself as a federal public sector worker when canvassing, making phone calls, soliciting donations, or engaging in other public campaign activities.
  • Don’t wear your uniform or your government identification at public events.
  • Don’t drive a government identified vehicle when participating in election activities.

If you feel your rights are being restricted or if you’re disciplined in any way for your political activity, contact PSAC right away.

PSAC BC is looking for AS Compensation Advisors

On the eve of the long gun registry vote, Stephen Harper announced that the Government was consolidating Pay and Benefits services in Miramichi, New Brunswick, where the registry is housed.

The PSAC has been calling upon and engaging with the Employer to respect its obligation for meaningful consultation with regards to the transfer of pay administration.

The move to Miramichi would result in the loss of approximately 1100 jobs and most pay and benefits advisors no longer being able to do the compensation work they enjoy and to which they are committed. Instead these members would have to find jobs on the operational side of their departments.

After the PSAC filed a policy grievance the Employer agreed to form a Union-Management Consultation Committee to ensure that workers across departments and agencies are treated in a fair and consistent manner and that information is shared in a timely way. The PSAC approached Components whose members are most affected by this move and formed a reference group to enhance internal communication.

This Committee, consisting of representatives from the Components and PSAC, is now in place.

The Union is doing its utmost to protect the workforce adjustment rights of members but we also want to challenge this dubious and opportunistic move on the part of the Conservative Government by lobbying MPs and by making it a political issue.

To that end we plan to form a working group in of compensation advisor activists in B.C.

This working group will

  • funnel information/questions/reports and provide expertise and advise to PSAC
  • watch for and report any situations where workers are not being treated fairly and transparently
  • help distribute communications materials within the AS group and the broader PSAC membership
  • identify cases or patterns where compensation service levels are getting worse
  • identify and implement strategies designed to encourage the Government to abandon the TPA Initiative

If you are interested in being part of a working group or would like to be on a list for communication purposes, please send an e-mail to Patrick Bragg.

The 2011 federal budget does nothing to improve retirement security, hands billions to Canada’s richest corporations and calls for drastic cuts to public services.

After months of waffling, the Harper government has failed to increase the Canada Pension Plan or make any changes to ensure an adequate income for retirees. A modest increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement will mean a few extra dollars a month to the poorest of poor seniors. But the vast majority of elderly Canadians have been left to fend for themselves.

The government is plowing forward with $4 billion in corporate tax cuts – the weakest option for creating jobs.

Continue reading at the national website.

The privatization of Canada Posts’ call centres will have a negative effect on the economy of major Canadian cities, and deprive Canadians of services they have come to rely on. Jobs will be lost in Fredericton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Edmonton and Antigonish. Canada Post recently signed a contract to hand over all its call centre work to the Aditya Birla Minacs company.

Call centre workers provide up to date information on a wide range of topics including rates, delivery standards, parcel and letter tracing, mail delivery routes, redirection of mail, Canada Post on-line services, international mail, and much more.

Continue reading at the national website.

PSAC ID lookup feature launched

PSAC members who work for the Government of Canada can look up their PSAC ID on the union’s website.

Knowing your PSAC ID is the key to getting help from the union. If we know it, we know which local representative can answer your question or deal with a problem you’re having at work.

Your PSAC ID is also required if you want to sign up for any of the discount or benefit plans the union sponsors.

To look up your PSAC ID, you’ll need a recent Government of Canada pay stub. Type in either your IAN or your last name, department, pay list and pay office and the form will display your PSAC ID, as well as your local number and the PSAC component you’re part of. If we don’t have you in our system, or if more than one person in your workplace has the same last name and pay information, you will have to call the national office to find your PSAC ID.

We apologize to PSAC members who work for separate employers. We’re working on a system that would let you look up your PSAC ID.

With the fragile economic recovery at stake, now is not the time to slash federal public services. This is the message that PSAC National President John Gordon delivered to Treasury Board President Stockwell Day yesterday.

As the government finalizes the federal budget, Gordon reminded Day that the services provided by PSAC members to Canadians struggling to overcome the recession continue to be needed, such as Service Canada employees processing EI payments.

Public investment leads to job creation. This means increased consumption and higher revenues that fund the services that keep our communities safe and our citizens healthy. Canadians and businesses large and small rely on federal jobs in communities from coast to coast to coast.

Read more at the national website.

Without any consultation with the Union or the public, CBSA has announced plans to close the Recourse Division Office in Vancouver.

Seven Recourse Officers who process and adjudicate requests for review and appeals regarding decisions made by CBSA on the origin, tariff classification, and value of imported goods will be made surplus. This is a highly specialized field of work that takes years of training and experience to become proficient in.

Canadians deserve to have their appeals processed in a timely manner. This closure represents a 21% reduction in the number of Recourse Officers nationally: this significantly reduces the number of experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated employees that perform this highly technical function and will increase the amount of time to process appeals significantly.

Call or email your MP! Let them know the closure of the Vancouver Recourse office is bad for the Canadian importing public.

For more information visit the Customs and Immigration Union website and read the resolution passed by delegates to the recent BC Federation of Labour Convention in Vancouver.

OTTAWA – Dangerous contracting out of positions vital to physical and technical security at one of the country’s most important defence installations, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), means Canada’s national security is at risk.

Public sector workers won’t stay silent and let it happen. A new hard hitting radio ad, launched by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and its component the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE), started playing across Canada today.

This national radio advertising campaign comes after months of quiet government meetings, conversations with senior leadership at CSE and lobbying by retired CSE officers.

“When retired CSE employees are speaking out, I would have thought the government would have listened. They didn’t listen and now we are working to ensure they know Canadians care about our national security,” said John MacLennan, UNDE National President.

The radio campaign will be heard across the country on News Talk stations in both French and English.

“This is a truly national campaign. We want to sound the alarm that contracting out positions doesn’t make financial sense – and in this case it’s even more troubling because of the extremely sensitive nature of the work at CSE,” said John Gordon, National President of the PSAC.

The campaign website is supported by an innovative Google and Facebook ad campaign that has already successfully alerted the highest government leaders about the briefing note, FAQ and, most importantly, the video testimonials of current and retired workers from CSE.

The campaign will feature several ads over the next three weeks; to download the first set of ads visit

The Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has asked the department of fisheries and oceans to stop “destaffing” lighthouses until consultation can taken place on a lightstation by lightstation basis.

The committee report, Seeing the Light: Report on Staffed Lighthouses in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia, comes after hearings and fact finding missions to both east and west coasts.

The report says, “the value of lives saved by lightkeepers is greater than any savings resulting from destaffing.”

PSAC national president John Gordon says the committee is right not to support the Coast Guard’s latest destaffing plan and to conclude that staffed lightstations and lightkeepers play a key role in public safety.

“Finally there is recognition that this is a service that depends on people, not just technology”, says Gordon. “The committee has obviously listened to our members who provide the services and the communities they serve.”

Read more at the national website.

National President John Gordon has appointed a Task Force to review and recommend changes to strengthen the current voting process under PSAC Regulation 15A, the Union’s collective bargaining regulation that covers our large federal bargaining units: Treasury Board, the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada and the Canada Food Inspection Agency.

The Task Force will begin its work in January 2011, and will report to the National President and the National Board of Directors by the spring of 2011. The comments received by the members to date on the Treasury Board ratification vote will be forwarded to the Task Force as part of its review.

More information on the work of the Task Force will be communicated in the new year.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear PSAC’s pay equity case against Canada Post.

The union asked the Supreme Court for the right to appeal a February 2010 Federal Appeal Court decision that upheld an earlier decision to overturn a human rights tribunal decision in PSAC’s favour.

The current legal battle began in October 2005 when the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal upheld PSAC’s pay equity complaint against Canada Post.

But the corporation fought back – as it has been doing since 1983 when first PSAC filed a complaint over unequal pay.

“We’re very pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to hear our appeals, said John Gordon. “The lower court’s interpretation of the equal pay for work of equal value provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act raise questions the Supreme Court realizes it must answer.”

The union hopes the Supreme Court will endorse the 2005 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision.

Meanwhile we will continue to do everything in our power to obtain justice for current and former employees of Canada Post affected by this compliant, Gordon said.

Gordon cautioned that the Supreme Court will take more than a year before hearing the union’s appeals.

The 2011 Conference for Racially Visible Members will take place April 1-3, 2011 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver under the theme “United, Empowered, Fearless: Ready for Action!”. The objectives of the 2011 PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible Members are to:

  • educate, politicize and mobilize racialized members by making links between themselves, the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights;
  • empower and engage racialized members to take action and move the human rights agenda forward;
  • provide tools and leadership skills to advocate for racialized workers’ rights

For more information and online application, visit the national website. The deadline for applications and resolutions is December 17th.

Federal health and safety officers are recommending a string of charges against their own employer — the Canadian government — in connection with a boiler explosion that killed an engineer in Ottawa last year.

Documents obtained by CBC News show that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada recommended charges of violating the labour code against the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada after an April investigation.

“There’s hardly any examples of a federal government employer being charged with a health and safety violation,” labour lawyer Paul Champ said. “It’s going to be a really big deal legally if they charge them.”

The explosion occurred Oct 19, 2009, at the Cliff Central Heating and Cooling Plant at 1 Fleet St., the building that heated the Houses of Parliament. Shift engineer Peter Kennedy, 51, died after suffering second-degree burns to 60 per cent of his body. Another worker was seriously injured. Investigators who visited the plant this spring say they found a series of basic safety violations, which are detailed in the series of directives ordering Public Works to fix the problem obtained by CBC.

Continue reading at

More than three quarters of Canadians support increasing Canada Pension Plan benefits, according to a new national survey released today. Eighty percent of Canadians also support increasing federal payments to senior citizens and half of the survey respondents believe the government is moving too slow in reforming Canada’s pension system.

The Future of Pensions poll was completed by Environics Research Group in late August for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. It surveyed 2,020 Canadians and has a margin of error of +/-2.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“From coast to coast, Canadians support higher CPP benefits,” said CUPE National president Paul Moist. “They’re sending a clear message to federal and provincial politicians who are currently studying ways to improve the CPP.”

Continue reading – and download the poll results – at the national website.

Government failed to consult with union over jobs moving to Miramichi

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has filed a policy grievance against Treasury Board on behalf of its members who are compensation advisors to ensure that their collective agreement rights are respected.

On August 19, the Prime Minister orchestrated a media event to announce that 550 jobs will be created in Miramichi, as the government centralizes its pay processing and compensation services in a new centre.

The union, which represents more than 1,500 compensation advisors across the country, was not consulted with or informed of this prior to the announcement as required under the Workforce Adjustment provisions of the collective agreement.

Continue reading the update at the national website.

Canada Post Corporation is moving to contract-out the work of their contact centres, as well as the National Philatelic Centre. Such a move would result in the loss of over 300 jobs in Fredericton, Antigonish, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Edmonton. The economic impacts would have lasting effects in these communities, as there are no guarantees that this work would remain in Canada.

PSAC and the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE) are working together to oppose this privatization, but this loss of quality public services concerns us all. Selling off the contact centres and National Philatelic Centre moves Canada Post further towards full-scale privatization and foreign ownership – something we vehemently oppose.

The campaign to stop this contacting-out involves all of us standing together and taking action.

Please take a moment to visit the national website and send a message to your Member of Parliament. Let them know we need to preserve and improve public postal services and jobs in communities across the country. For more information about the campaign, visit the national website.

This Labour Day, PSAC is celebrating the hard-won victories that union activists have achieved on behalf of the membership and the population at large.

The Harper government has been intent on destabilizing public services and human rights, with attacks on the census, the long-gun registry, employment equity and public sector jobs. But PSAC activists have fought back – scoring wins in favour of quality public services.

A major focus of the union’s work this year has been our campaign to protect public sector pensions and guarantee retirement security for everyone. In the lead-up to the federal budget, PSAC members working in the federal public service mobilized in great force, wearing stickers and displaying posters with the message, “Hands off our Pensions.” The government got the message, keeping its hands off of the Public Service Pension Plan – for now.

Read more at the national website.

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