Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

FB group: Register now for national town hall meetings

Image discussion FB PSAC-AFPC

PSAC-CIU will be holding virtual town hall meetings over the next two weeks to give FB members the latest updates on bargaining and outline our next steps as we ramp up to mobilize for a fair contract.

During the town hall, you’ll hear from CIU National President Jean-Pierre Fortin and PSAC negotiator Morgan Gay who will provide important information and insight into the bargaining process and our key demands at the table. You’ll be able to ask questions or raise concerns at the end of the meeting.

You deserve a contract that recognizes your incredible dedication to Canadians and brings your salary and benefits fully in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada. This is your opportunity to learn how your bargaining team is fighting to make that happen.

French FB town hall 

English FB town hall 

Regional town halls are also being organized and will take place after the national town halls. We’ll send out dates and details shortly.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Letter from the PSAC National President to the President of the Treasury Board regarding the FB bargaining unit

Photo of CIU flag

PSAC National President Chris Aylward sent the following letter to the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, on October 26, 2020.


Dear Minister,

I am reaching out to you to provide you with information related to an equitable retirement regime for members of the FB bargaining unit (Canada Border Services Agency employees). As you may know, PSAC has been advocating for such an equitable retirement regime for FB members for many years. We are seeking an arrangement for these members that is consistent with other law enforcement officers in the federal public service, including RCMP members and Correctional Officers.

Employees in the FB bargaining unit carry out a vast range of duties associated with the enforcement of the law, including collaboration with other law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies in joint operations. Despite the ongoing pandemic, these members continue to proudly work and deliver on behalf of Canadians.

Border Services Officers (BSOs) represent most of the workers in the bargaining unit. These employees work at airports, land border and marine ports of entry, and at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) postal operations.

BSOs have the power to seize and arrest and are required to undergo regular Control and Defence Tactics (CDT) training as a condition of employment. Since 2006, BSOs working in land border and marine environments are equipped with firearms. This arming initiative has also come to include Inland Enforcement Officers, Intelligence Officers and Investigators, all three groups also being required to undergo regular CDT training.

The nature of the work performed by members of the bargaining unit, and the fitness standards that are required for employees to perform their duties, are entirely consistent with what is found with other law enforcement agencies, be they federal such as the RCMP and Corrections, or in other jurisdictions such as the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sureté du Québec. It is because of the work and the fitness standards associated with the work that these other law enforcement agencies have adopted early retirement regimes. Simply put, it is increasingly difficult for officers as they advance in age to meet the standards required. Employers are required under Human Rights Legislation to accommodate up until undue hardship. Early retirement regimes alleviate this burden on employers and staff. The same is true in the case of CBSA.

Given the nature of the work performed by employees in the FB bargaining unit and the crucial importance of that work in terms of ensuring the safety and security of Canadians, it is in the interest of both the federal government and the broader Canadian public that employees in this occupational group have access to an early retirement regime to avoid risks to public health and safety.

It is only fair that workers in the FB bargaining unit are afforded benefits that are comparable to that of other law enforcement officers. Other federal public service workers facing similar workplace demands, such as Correctional Officers, already have this type of retirement regime.

As such we have been advocating for CBSA members to be able to access retirement without penalty 5 years earlier than existing Group 1 members of the Public Service Pension Plan, consistent with operational service provisions for employees of Correctional Services Canada.

In order to achieve equitable retirement for FB members specifically, changes are required to the Public Service Superannuation Act and its regulations.

FB members have been advocating for an equitable retirement regime for many years. The issue is before a sub-committee of the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee. We are urging you to support the work of PSPAC and to support legislative changes to allow for CBSA employees to access the same early retirement provisions that are available to many law enforcement officers across the country.

Further, we would welcome the chance to meet with you via videoconference to discuss this important matter at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Chris Aylward
PSAC National President

Click here for the PDF version.

FB bargaining team tables wages in negotiations

Membres

Every day, PSAC-CIU members in the FB group put their lives on the line to protect Canadians; safeguarding our borders, inspecting dangerous goods, and screening travelers for COVID-19 from coast to coast.

Throughout this round of negotiations, the PSAC-CIU bargaining team emphasized that members deserve a contract that recognizes their incredible dedication and brings them fully in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada.

All of the FB team’s bargaining proposals reflect this, from pension reform, paid time for firearms practice and reimbursement for firing range fees to paid meal periods and a plain clothes allowance for the Intelligence, Inland Enforcement and Criminal Investigations community.

During bargaining October 19-23, the team put forward a wage proposal that reflects the need for parity with the broader law enforcement community.

Wage proposals in line with national average

PSAC conducted a survey of wage rates at major law enforcement agencies across Canada, including provincial police (OPP, Sûreté du Québec and the Newfoundland Constabulary) and large municipal police forces (Toronto, Montreal, Peel Region and Vancouver). Our wage demands provide for fair annual increases and a market adjustment that would close the gap between FB members and the national average for law enforcement personnel.

Need to address discipline, grievance policy

The team have also made proposals to fix rampant discipline problems at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The team made it clear this past week that they do not trust CBSA management. New protections for union members are needed. They also raised issues with the grievance procedure and the fact that the process is lengthy and inefficient. CBSA has implemented unreasonable changes to its repayment policy when employees are erroneously overpaid. The team has proposed to fix these problems.

Lastly, the bargaining team raised problems related to access to leave with income averaging and telework that need to be addressed.

No concessions

CBSA is proposing to remove the 7-day shift change notice and replace it with 48 hours’ notice, consistent with the CX agreement. The bargaining team informed management that the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and the CXs may have agreed to this, but our union will not.

Management is also proposing concessions in the context of discipline and our variable shift schedule arrangements. The team informed the employer that, while we are prepared to bargain fairly, they are interested in improvements at CBSA, not concessions.

Upcoming bargaining dates

PSAC-CIU is in the process of setting dates to return to the table with the employer in November. The expectation is that management will return to the table prepared to address these issues in a meaningful way.

Through membership solidarity and perseverance, PSAC-CIU can achieve these objectives in this round of negotiations. We have made groundbreaking gains for FB members in the past. We will do so again.

To review the package of proposals that we tabled as well as those of the employer, visit PSAC’s FB page. We’ll announce new bargaining dates when they’re available and continue to provide updates throughout the bargaining process.

Please be sure to speak with your CIU branch president if you have any questions.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC and Treasury Board sign PA, TC and Phoenix deals

Photo of CIU flag

PSAC and Treasury Board today signed new collective agreements for the Program and Administrative (PA) and Technical Services (TC) groups that were ratified by members on September 29. The two bargaining units account for over 80,000 federal public service workers. PSAC and Treasury Board also signed the Phoenix damages agreement reached this summer.

Separately, the parties signed the protocol agreement on the negotiation of working conditions for civilian members in the RCMP who are slated to be deemed into PSAC bargaining units.

Please see the following page on the PSAC website for more detailed information.

The FB bargaining team needs your support!

Photo of CBSA officer with orange epaulettes

The FB bargaining team is back at the bargaining table this week!

As a show of support for our team, we are asking all our members to proudly wear or display their union swag (epaulets, laces, wristband, mug, etc.) and to keep them displayed until the union reaches a tentative agreement.

We also invite our members to send photos of them wearing or displaying their union swag at comms@ciu-sdi.ca.

Note: By sending in their photos, members agree that CIU may publish these photos online, including its website and social media pages. Those who wear a name tag should remove or hide it before taking a picture.