Archive for the 'Political Action' Category

via BC Fed Young Workers Committee

You are cordially invited to a think-a-thon dedicated to reviving Get Your Vote On.

In the months leading up to the 2004 Federal and 2005 Provincial elections, Get Your Vote On mobilized youth across the province and registered over 20,000 new voters! There was an upswing and climbing trend in youth participation in electoral politics and getting out to vote. Through creative, fun, and sexy tactics and campaign organizing, Get Your Vote On was on to something special and youth responded. However, the momentum and capacity built up in 2004 and 2005 was lost by 2009, and the 2009 provincial election was hit with record low voter turn-out – youth included.

Now we have the opportunity to revive Get Your Vote On to it’s former and rightful glory! Municipal, provincial, and federal elections approach within the next 10 months to 2 years. The perfect time line to build capacity and youth engagement incrementally across the Province (and Country?). Even if you don’t think you’re all that knowledgeable of electoral politics, you won’t want to miss this event – it comes down to engaging and mobilizing young people to see that collectively we have a place and power in the democratic process. This is your opportunity to give voter apathy a big kick in the @$%!

Tune up your thinking caps, and bring them along! We’ll be diving into an exciting brain storm and conversation to envision what it will take to get every youth in the province to vote… to have a voice.

When: Thursday, January 20th, 2011 – 7:00pm-9:00pm
Where: Top secret local to be revealed – email to register


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.

Canada’s Finance Ministers agree.

The best way to help today’s workers save enough for retirement is by increasing what everybody gets from the Canada Pension Plan (and the Quebec Pension Plan). The Canadian Labour Congress is proposing a gradual doubling of future CPP benefits. A modest increase in contributions today will produce thousands of dollars a year in extra benefits for workers when they retire.

But our plan has come under attack from special interest groups who are scare mongering and spreading lies about our proposal. Some have even said that the CPP won’t be there for today’s young workers when it comes time for them to retire.

This is not true. The reality is that experts have found the CPP to be actuarially sound for the next 75 years. This means it is guaranteed to deliver as promised.

Young workers have nothing to worry about, nor do their kids. What is worrying is that one-third of Canadian workers aged 24-64 have no personal retirement savings at all. The best way to help them save enough for retirement is by increasing what everybody gets from the CPP.

Move the campaign forward!

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.

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.

PSAC has joined with unions from across Canada, to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan who are struggling to gain access to disaster relief after weeks of devastating floods. The union announced a $30,000 donation to Oxfam Canada this week, contributing to more than $200,000 pledged by the Canadian labour movement to various relief efforts.

“Food crops and seeds have been decimated and nearly a million homes washed away. An estimated 8 million people have been affected by the floods and are in urgent need of emergency aid,” said John Gordon, PSAC National President. “Unless humanitarian aid reaches the affected communities soon, more people will succumb to water borne diseases and potential starvation.”

PSAC’s donation is being channelled through the union’s Social Justice Fund, which was established in 2003 to support initiatives to help eliminate poverty and injustice in Canada and around the world. Operating from a position of solidarity not charity, the fund advocates for political change and works with union partners around the world to help defend and re-build public services.

“Poor people are facing the worst of the impact from extreme climate change around the globe,” said Gordon. “Our union is committed to supporting people affected by natural disasters, while also advocating for the Canadian government to unfreeze its aid budget and take substantive steps to lower Canada’s green house gas emissions.”

PSAC urges its members to give generously to help the people of Pakistan during this critical time by donating to Oxfam or the charity of their choice.

Cheers to Garry Fraser and Jennifer Ho (NAT 20088) for these photos and report from the PSAC Think Public booth at Surrey Fusion Festival, July 17 and 18!

PSAC BC set up a Think Public Booth at the Surrey Fusion Festival on July 17th and 18th. Many members volunteered to help promote Public Services and encourage the public to sign a petit…ion to the House of Commons urging them to reverse the decision to eliminate the mandatory long form Canada Census questionnaire.

The event was a celebration of community diversity in the second largest city in BC, Surrey. We had many good discussions with the public on why Public Services are critical for Canada. Many people played our game of spot the Public Service and were given a Think Public prize.


PSAC will go to arbitration over a Treasury Board directive to managers aimed at silencing the union’s pension campaign.

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

The Feb. 26, 2010 directive told managers:

  • all requests to post petition sheets should be denied;
  • all requests to distribute petitions via the Employer’s electronic networks should be denied;
  • other than the actual petition, requests to post literature, such as general information on pensions, should not be unreasonably denied;
  • the wearing of stickers should be permitted as long as the employee is not directly serving the public;
  • the placing of stickers on the Employer’s property or equipment should not be permitted.

On March 10, 2010 the PSAC filed a policy grievance against the directive.

Continue reading at the national website.

National Vice-President Patty Ducharme and REVP Atlantic Jeannie Baldwin were in Charlottetown this weekend to present our pension petition to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Here’s some video …

Visit the national website for some photos and more information.

With the assistance of PSAC Regional Representative Garry Fraser, members in ridings throughout the Lower Mainland have been meeting with their MPs over the last couple of months to discuss the Public Service Pension Plan, retirement security, and the impact of the budget on jobs and services to the public. Here is a brief report on what some of the MPs had to say.

  • Don Davies, Vancouver Kingsway, is very supportive of Public Service Pension Plan and improvements to the CPP and the OAP and committed to bring the issue up with the NDP caucus.
  • Bill Siksay, Burnaby-Douglas, is also very supportive, and Will support any action to stop the government from changing the plan. He also supports improvements to CPP and OAP and committed to bring the issue up with his caucus.
  • John Cummins, Delta-Richmond East, suprised PSAC members by stating that the employer should not be “changing a pension plan in the middle of the game. The pension plan is a condition of employment and employees invest accordingly for retirement”. John was somewhat supportive of improvements to the CPP and will bring the issue to the Conservative caucus.
  • Ed Fast, Abbotsford, laughed at the petition. This is not the kind of support PSAC members would like to see, but were expecting.
  • Chuck Strahl, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon, holds similar views as John Cummins and is supportive to the extent that the terms and conditions of the plan should not be changed. He noted that all the major unions had been involved in consultation in regards to the budget and were assured that the pension was not on the table. He stated he will bring our concerns to Stockwell Day, head of the Treasury Board, and is supportive of improvements to the CPP and OAP.
  • Mark Warawa, Langley, was reluctant to sit down and have a discussion but did so. He stated that constituents should send him a letter detailing their concerns and he would take it the minister responsible and get back to them. We informed him that Veterans Affairs are scheduled to close the Surrey Office – veterans in the area will now either have to drive into Vancouver or do their business over the phone – and he seemed concerned with this as his father was a veteran.
  • Peter Julian, Burnaby-New Westminster, said his party is very supportive of improvements to CPP and OAP and have been working to that end. He noted that there are too many corporate tax breaks in Canada and if the corporations paid their fair share we could much better care for Canadians. PSAC members also spoke to him about the budget and its impact on services and programs. A member from the parole office in New Westminister noted she is seeing the evidence of cuts now, and gave as an example the declining frequency of monitoring parolees for substance abuse. Peter was interested in our Workplace Watch campaign and asked to be kept up to date on it’s progress.

Are you interested in joining a group of PSAC members and meeting with your MP? Contact Patrick Bragg in the Vancouver Regional office. Our lobbying and Workplace Watch campaigns are ongoing – stay tuned for more reports.

Register now for PSAC’s first on-line Webinar!

Topic: What does the Federal Budget mean for public services and public service workers


You are invited to participate in PSAC’s first webinar – an online information session to find out more about the recent federal budget and what PSAC is planning to do about it.

The session will include a presentation by David Macdonald from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives focusing on the fallout from the budget and its impact on the public service. This will be followed by a presentation on PSAC’s campaign to protect public services.

Participants will be given the opportunity to address questions to the presenter.

To participate in this session all you need a telephone and a computer with Internet access. To register, please click on the links above. Note: the session will be recorded for later viewing but registration is still neccessary.

The BC Regional Council recently endorsed the Red Tent campaign – their goal is to persuade the federal government to enact a funded National Housing Strategy that will end homelessness and ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all persons living in Canada – please check out the information below and consider having your Local or Committee sponsor a tent.

In Solidarity, Kay Sinclair, Regional Executive Vice-President, BC

Sponsor A Red Tent

It’s been almost two decades since the federal government handed off responsibility for housing to the provinces, making Canada the only G-8 country without a national housing strategy. The end result is a housing crisis that the UN described as a “national emergency.”

Pivot Legal Society’s Red Tent campaign’s goal is a funded national housing strategy that will end homelessness and ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for all people living in Canada. Modeled after a successful campaign in Paris, Red Tents are a symbol of Canada’s housing crisis and the growing support for a funded national housing strategy.


Public Speaking & Effective Lobbying
Wednesdays, April 21 to May 12, 7 to 9 pm
Maritime Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph Street, Vancouver

Registration – $50 for 4 sessions (no one will be turned away)

Contact Keziah at the VDLC office to register – 604-254-0703

Course Outline:
Week 1 (April 21)
Effective Speeches – How to determine key points, prepare your notes, and present your message
Week 2 (April 28)
Successful media work – From message boxes to camera comfort
Week 3 (May 5)
Theatre techniques to assist your presentation – breathing, projection, and other tips
Week 4 (May 12)
Lobbying skills – How to make the most of meetings with politicians of all stripes

You may be aware of the crisis currently affecting Rights and Democracy, Canada’s public agency for human rights and democratic development. You can find out a lot more if you go to

The Public Service Alliance of Canada represents the unionized employees at Rights & Democracy – it’s a Directly Chartered Local based in Montréal. Despite our grave concerns with the internal situation and its impacts, we strongly believe that the crisis at Rights & Democracy is not simply an internal matter, but one of political interference in this institution of Parliament. What is happening amounts to the silencing of human rights’ defenders, much like the silencing of women’s advocacy work, the closure of the Court Challenges Program, and other actions to silence diversity and debate.

Canadians and international allies are mobilizing around Rights & Democracy, and a movement has been created to channel this support.

I am writing to invite you to sign on to the petition in favour of Rights and Democracy, and to distribute this invitation throughout your networks as appropriate.

The list of supporting organizations and individuals is growing, and includes the PSAC, Stephen Lewis, Alex Neve, the Fédération des femmes du Québec, and many more.

In Solidarity, John Gordon, PSAC National President

Rally to protest gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts and express your con­cern at the direc­tion our province is head­ing. Join with oth­ers who believe we can build a bet­ter BC.

  • Sat­ur­day, April 10, 2010 at noon
  • Van­cou­ver Art Gallery, north side – Georgia and Howe

Stand up to the cuts. Stand up for kids, arts, seniors and your community! Visit for more information.

The Harper government’s 2010 Budget demonstrates a government that is devoid of new ideas and full of ideological cuts to the size of government masquerading as fiscal restraint. It is difficult to believe that they prorogued Parliament and then introduced a new budget with so little new and positive to show.

This budget includes two major measures: another tax cut for business and ongoing cuts to federal public services. Tariffs will be eliminated on all manufacturing inputs at a cost estimated at $1.3 billion over five years. This is on top of further corporate tax cuts, previously announced, that will cost more than $20 billion over the next five years.

At the same time, the federal government will force the Canadian public and public servants to pay for the costs of an economic crisis that was caused by the financial industry by putting a stranglehold on federal departmental spending. This will lead to ongoing cuts to the public services that people depend on and further job losses.

Continue reading the PSAC’s overview and summary of the 2010 budget at the national website.

The March 4 federal budget freezes federal departmental spending. The government has announced they want to balance the budget on the backs of public service workers – a direct threat to federal public service jobs and the important services we deliver to Canadians.

Our federal employers have a legal responsibility to bargain in good faith, and our Union is already preparing for the next round of bargaining. We need to be prepared as Union members to support our bargaining proposals and to fight against any concessions at the bargaining table.

PSAC members working for the Federal Government and Agencies maintain and interpret National and Historic Parks, process and verify EI and CPP claims, provide support for the Canadian forces and RCMP, process and verify passport applications, inspect meat and food processing plants, assess tax returns and administer tax benefit programs, monitor and enhance fish stocks and habitat, work with inmates and parolees, maintain airport runways and navigation systems, stop guns and drugs at the border, and provide services to veterans and their families.

These are just some of the programs and services we deliver and that Canadians depend every day. We must speak out against cuts to these services. Speaking out works. We saw this when the budget did not cut our pensions because we took action in the workplace.

Management may propose layoffs and job cuts to deal with the budget freeze. We know the government has indicated it will not necessarily staff the 14,000 positions expected to be vacated this year due to retirement and attrition.

Our union will fight any proposed reduction in workforce and any reduction in our ability to deliver quality programs and services to Canadians.

workplace watch bannertron

What can you do?

PSAC BC is launching a “Workplace Watch” campaign to document and speak out against the effect of cuts in the workplace – cuts that hurt both the Canadian public and Federal employees. Your Local Executive and PSAC Regional Offices will be in touch soon with more information about how to get involved.

Go to and sign up to receive updated information on the impact of the budget.

The next chapter in the Federal Superannuation Surplus dispute begins at the Ontario Court of Appeal, April 19, 20 and 21, 2010 in Toronto.

PSAC and other federal public service unions took the then-Liberal government to court over 1999 changes to the Public Sector Investment Board Act which allowed it to expropriate $30 billion from the federal superannuation fund.

Read more at the national website.

Today is Bottled Water-Free Day

Across Canada and around the world, people are taking a stand in support of public water and against the privatization of water. The bottled water industry is being forced under a public microscope as more and more people question:

  • The safety of bottled water
  • The weak bottled water industry regulatory standards and practices
  • The growing corporate control of water
  • The use of misleading bottled water marketing schemes
  • The heavy social and ecological toll of for-profit water around the world

In Canada, there are over 70 municipalities, 6 school boards and 3 campuses that have successfully phased out the provision and sale of bottled water in their sectors. Will your institution be next?

It’s time to stand up and speak out, ditch the bottle and turn on the tap! Join the Canadian Federation of Students, the Sierra Youth Coalition and the Polaris Institute this March 11 for Canada’s first Bottled Water Free Day! Visit to take the pledge and make today the first day of your bottled water free life!

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