Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

PA Group: Update on Occupational Group Structure review 

Treasury Board informed PSAC they will be making changes to the Program and Administrative Services Occupational Group Structure (OGS) review timeline and next steps due to their continued inability to meet the target date of June 24, 2024. Treasury Board is unable to provide a new target date at this time.

The OGS review is an effort by Treasury Board to modernize classifications in the core public service by updating and replacing outdated occupational group definitions and job evaluation standards. This work is intended to align classification groups, many of which are decades old, with the work of today’s public service. Members working in the federal public service can find out more by visiting the Classification Renewal GCintranet page (only accessible for federal government employees).

PSAC’s longstanding objectives on classification reform continue to be:

  • Replacing the current, outdated Treasury Board classification system;
  • Developing job evaluation standards and job descriptions that reflect current work realities and that are compliant with pay equity standards.

PSAC is pursuing a policy grievance on Treasury Board’s lack of meaningful consultation, and we are awaiting a hearing date.

PSAC will continue to ensure that consultation takes place and that our members are kept informed throughout the process.

Preparations underway for PA conversion 

Departments and agencies of the core public administration are preparing for the PA conversion by making sure all information related to positions in human resources systems is accurate and up to date, and that job descriptions are ready to be evaluated.

PA group members may receive updated job descriptions or may be asked to comment on proposed job descriptions. We encourage you to contact your union local or PSAC component for guidance if you have concerns about your current job description.

How will this affect my job classification? 

At this point, the employer has not completed its job description evaluation, so we do not know how individual positions will be classified under the new system.

Later in the conversion process, PA group members will receive advance notice of the anticipated classification of their positions from their human resources departments. We will provide members with information on what to expect before this stage in the process begins.

For now, you can find a high-level overview of the anticipated composition of the new PA sub-groups in our previous update.

We will keep you updated as the implementation moves forward. You can also reach us with your questions at PA-OGS@psac-afpc.com.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

“A glaring disregard for basic management practices” — Auditor General on ArriveCAN

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The Auditor General of Canada’s February 2024 report regarding the procurement process around the ArriveCAN application is as scathing as it is unsurprising for anyone familiar with management at the Canada Border Services Agency.

While the report focuses mainly on the contracting and development aspects of the application, much of what the Auditor General’s office found will surely resonate with CIU members who are all too well acquainted with the Agency’s bottom-of-the-barrel labour relations practices.

In her opening statement to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Auditor General noted the “glaring disregard for basic management practices” uncovered during the audit.

As our members know, this disregard for proper managerial procedures is deeply embedded within the Agency, often with little consequence for the managers. Be it in terms of the profound lack of accountability found at all management levels, of the tendency to retaliate against employees for speaking up, or of the poorly run, arbitrary internal investigative and disciplinary processes — CBSA management’s track record speaks for itself. While keen on punishing its lower-level employees at the slightest allegation, the Agency is known to turn a blind eye to far more serious breaches within management.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the procurement process that led to the Agency’s ArriveCAN application would be fraught with issues. And it should come as no surprise that the resulting product has been found to be of poor value to Canadians. What should also be stressed is how this poor value extends far beyond the mere economic aspect. ArriveCAN, in its current form, actively undermines the security of Canadians by removing crucial interactions between officers and travellers. It is the cornerstone of CBSA’s ‘border modernization’ strategy, which focuses entirely on facilitation with no thought for the safety and security of our communities.

With important security matters at the forefront of national discussions — stolen car exports, gun smuggling, the opioid crisis — it is especially galling to see the Agency squander in the worst possible way nearly $60 million on an app that ultimately does very little. It is irresponsible for the Agency leadership and for the federal government to inject such funds into a project of this kind instead of hiring much needed additional staff or seeking to improve existing infrastructure, which would bring real value to Canadians.

This is to say little of the Agency’s decision to spend dozens of millions of dollars on the private sector instead of choosing to invest in its workers and reinforcing their capacity to act on behalf of Canadians. At a time where our members are being nickeled and dimed at the bargaining table, this is nothing less than a slap in the face.

CIU members are proud of the work they do to serve Canadians and of their role as Canada’s first line of defence. Yet CBSA management’s actions continue to cast a shadow on the organization as a whole. The Auditor General’s report brings to light what many of our members have known for a long time, and we call on CBSA President Erin O’Gorman to seize this opportunity to overhaul the Agency so that debacles of the sort are no longer the norm.

Employment Opportunity: Digital Communications Specialist (indeterminate position)

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The Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) is seeking to hire a bilingual Digital Communications Specialist to be staffed on a full-time indeterminate basis.

Applications will be received until close of business on March 8, 2024 (5:00 p.m. EST). Please see the full posting here (PDF) for more information about the position, the associated duties and requirements, and on how to apply.

Celebrating Black History Month 2024: Honouring Black labour leaders

February is a time to celebrate, reflect upon, and honour the significant contributions of Canadians of Black, Caribbean or African descent. This year, PSAC is taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of Black leaders in our unions and our communities and renew our support for the Black Class Action’s ongoing fight to eliminate racism and discrimination in the federal public service.

Honouring Black labour leaders: Shaping the union landscape 

The rich tapestry of Black history within the labour movement is interwoven with stories of determination and groundbreaking leadership. Black labour leaders have played a pivotal role in championing workers’ rights and influencing positive change in Canada. Their contributions have not only advanced the rights of Black workers, but also paved the way for greater inclusivity for all.

Throughout history, Black leaders within PSAC also led transformative initiatives, negotiated fair contracts, and advocated for policies that promote equality and justice in workplaces across Canada. Their commitment laid the foundation for workplaces that recognize the value of equity and diversity. There is still work to be done and PSAC acknowledges this ongoing journey through the Anti-racism action plan.

Spotlight on the Black Class Action lawsuit: Advocacy and justice 

Black federal public service workers have advanced a historic class action lawsuit to highlight the systemic discrimination, racism, and inequality within various sectors of the Federal Public Service.

The Black Class Action lawsuit serves as a means of advocacy, shedding light on the barriers Black workers face in the workplace and seeks to compel all major Canadian institutions to be accountable for their actions. This is an important legal step towards a larger conversation on the importance of reparations.

PSAC continues to call for the federal government to settle the lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of Black federal public service workers who have faced decades of discrimination and lost career advancement opportunities.

How you can get involved 

  • Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn more about the history of Black labour leaders and their contributions to shaping the union landscape iShare Stories: Throughout the month, black labour leaders from PSAC will share their insights regarding Black History Month. Use your platforms to amplify the stories of Black leaders, shedding light on their accomplishments and the challenges they’ve overcome.
  • Support Black Class Action: Stay informed about ongoing initiatives and lend your support to efforts aimed at addressing systemic issues within the workforce.

Together, let’s support the continuous efforts of Black workers in creating workplaces that are healthy, safe, and free from discrimination for everyone. 

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

CIU National President tours Manitoba Branch

Last week, CIU National President Mark Weber toured the Manitoba Branch, meeting with members from all over the province. Accompanied by FB Bargaining Team member Mike Fraser as well as Manitoba Branch President Kyle Hudson, the National President had the opportunity to hear from members in Winnipeg, Sprague, South Junction, Piney, Tolstoi, Windygates, Winkler, Gretna, Emerson, Snowflake, Crystal City, Cartwright, Lena, Lyleton, Coulter, Goodlands, and Boissevain.

During these visits, members received important information on union affairs and bargaining matters, as well as (and perhaps more importantly) new union swag. National President Mark Weber is thankful for the warm welcome and valuable feedback from the Manitoba membership, and looks forward to meeting with members from other Branches.

Interested in having the National President and a member of the Bargaining Team tour your work location? Talk to your Branch President!