President's Evaluation — Report 2021
Through triumphs and challenges, our union has proved again that we are better together even when we are two metres apart.
In our second year facing the COVID-19 pandemic, PIPSC members have continued to bravely respond to the needs of Canadians.
We also saw success in protecting the jobs of our members. Our union protected NAV CANADA members from further job loss due to COVID-19, worked to protect MAGE members from pandemic-related cutbacks, and secured stability for AFS members threatened with job loss because of Bill C-224.
We secured the jobs of our members. We stopped the government cutbacks. And we defeated Bill C-224. No matter the challenge, we will always be here for Canadians and here for each other.
As a union, we pulled together to secure vaccines for health care workers who were falling through the cracks of provincial vaccine campaigns. We lobbied the Treasury Board, and succeeded in ensuring frontline health care workers got access to COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccines are our best shot at getting out of this pandemic. We support mandatory vaccination for federal employees, with necessary exceptions, and are actively working with the government to share our views on vaccine policies that best protect you.
Our PIPSC team continues to meet regularly with the federal government to address challenges related to remote work and workplace safety. We are pushing the government to continue measures that reduce exposure to COVID-19, including working from home, staggered schedules, and flexibility for family care.
We also continue to negotiate to protect paid leave for childcare, and have secured paid leave for your COVID-19 vaccinations. As more public service employees go back to the workplace, our Return to Workplace working group is already consulting employers on proposed return plans and vaccine policies.
Despite this pandemic, negotiations have continued!
This year was all about implementing our wins, and keeping your employers accountable. We implemented the revised Regulatory Science (SR) job descriptions at CFIA, coordinated the CS to IT conversion that will be implemented this December, and implemented gender inclusive language into our collective agreements.
It’s been a busy year, and we are already ramping up to prepare for our next bargaining season with the Treasury Board. Our bargaining survey has been sent to members, and we are eager to move forward to defend your best interests in negotiations.
Alongside the federal government, PIPSC created a robust claims framework that ensured thousands of public servants were compensated for losses due to the Phoenix pay system. If you were impacted by Phoenix, you can now make a claim to get back every cent you are owed. We negotiated with the Treasury Board, and got a top-up of up to $1,000 in compensation for PIPSC members paid by Phoenix.
Our Board of Directors and Advisory Council continue to work closely with Shared Services Canada (SSC) to ensure a new system where every public servant is paid accurately and on time.
This past July, an exploratory pilot of the new system was completed with the Department of Canadian Heritage. This pilot was a success and has now been expanded to new departments. We’re proud that we pushed the government to see Phoenix replaced. Our Phoenix Help team remains available to support you with any new or ongoing pay errors, and can help expedite solutions where Phoenix errors are causing financial hardship.
PIPSC has fought tooth and nail for these wins, and we will remain vigilant.
We have successfully completed our first year of the new PIPSC Pension Advisory Committee. We worked hard and are proud to have informed more than 20,000 members about their pensions. Despite the pandemic, our team continued virtual training to help members with their pensions and benefits.
We called on the federal government to facilitate talks between the Public Service Pension (PSP) plan and health care ministries to move Revera long-term care facilities from private to public ownership. Low-quality health care for our seniors must not be a source of profit for our pensions. We must protect the lives of our seniors.
Human Rights and Diversity Committee
Racism, discrimination, Islampohobia and a lack of timely and effective action are nothing new to many federal public service employees. A long-standing history of alienation among BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) public servants needs to be recognized and addressed.
In defense of equity-seeking groups, I appeared before the Senate Committee on Social Affairs (SOCI) to provide our feedback on how changes to certain provisions of Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act of 2021, may help eliminate barriers that affect equitable employment in the federal public service.
Fifty percent of public service jobs are not advertised to the public. We pushed for these jobs to be recruited externally, so all Canadians have a chance at fair representation and employment.
Outsourcing and contracting out
Between 2011 and 2018, the federal government outsourced over $11.9 billion in work to IT consultants, management consultants and temporary help contractors. That’s more than the budgets of 5 departments and agencies combined. We released the next report in our series of investigative reports unpacking the government’s reliance on outsourcing. Part Two: Outsourcing and Gender Equity, shines a light on how contracting out deepens inequities in public service employment.
We pushed back against more outsourcing in the public sector. I wrote to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Commissioner, Bob Hamilton, and pushed for the halt of third-party contractors to answer questions from Canadians about emergency benefits and their impact on 2020 tax returns. We will always be here to stand up for our CRA members.
Career development and training
The pandemic has shown just how important our public service workers are in the face of emergency. It has also shown that Canada’s ability to adapt to rapid change is vital. PIPSC has partnered with the Future Skills Centre to bring members a platform that will help address the challenges around reskilling and upskilling our public service.
This platform, Navigar, will help protect the jobs of our members as services and technology rapidly evolve. We are quickly developing Navigar, and are proud to be closing-in on our launch of the system in 2022. Together, we can innovate and transform the public sector, while preparing all our members for future success in the workforce.
PIPSC has been at the forefront of the fight against tax evasion. In May, I testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) about the CRA’s efforts to stop tax evasion. We advocated against Bill C-224 that aimed at transferring tax processing for Quebec residents from the CRA to Revenu Québec. We are proud to have defeated this bill, and gained ground in the fight for tax fairness.
Defending public science
Our Science Advisory Committee worked diligently for public science in Canada and for the restoration of science-based departmental funding.
The new Women in Public Sector Science Toolkit equips women, non-binary members and allies to advance and support equity, diversity and inclusion in public sector science. We successfully recruited new member participants for our 2021 Women in Science Virtual Learning Lab, and are pushing forward for the inclusion of women and LGBTQ2S+ Canadians in public science.
2021 federal election
We need a government that protects services and respects the people who provide them. To help our members make an informed choice on September 20th, we sent a non-partisan survey to Canada's major political parties. We asked the parties where they stand on the issues most important to our members.
PIPSC is prepared to work with the new Liberal government to support our public servants. As a union, we stand up for the rights of our members and remain a vigilant watchdog to protect your best interests.
The next chapter
As many of you know by now, I have made the decision not to run for office this year. This is a bittersweet moment for me. My time as President at PIPSC has been an honour and a privilege. Over the last 8 years, we have worked together to protect Canada’s public service, and we have made lasting change in the lives of Canadians.
We built strong relationships with government officials, made historic wins at the bargaining table, revolutionized our union communications, and survived a global pandemic. We met each of these triumphs and challenges with ardour and resilience.
To all of my PIPSC colleagues, your work throughout this pandemic does not go unnoticed. Thank you for the countless hours you have spent dedicated to helping members through one of the most difficult times in our history. Much of this work was done from your own homes, but also from worksites across Canada and on the frontlines. You are what made our union not just survive this pandemic, but thrive. I look forward to the day coming soon, when we will be able to meet in our office again, and share in good company.