Tag Archives: commons issues

PA, EB, SV & Common issues: Bargaining updates

Image conversation PSAC AFPC

PA bargaining: Treasury Board brings remote work concessions to the table

Treasury Board started negotiations off on the wrong foot with Program and Administrative Services (PA) this round by putting problematic concessions on the table that would penalize employees who choose to work remotely.

The proposal would claw back meal-time allowances for employees who work three or more hours before or after their shift from a remote location, and diminish provisions for remote employees who are called back to work after completing their workday.

“Remote work is one of our members’ biggest priorities as we look towards more flexibility in our work after the pandemic,” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairies. “It’s incredibly frustrating Treasury Board seems intent on forcing our members to ‘pay’ for the opportunity to work remotely.”

According to the results of PSAC’s membership bargaining input survey, three out of four respondents had been mostly working remotely since the start of the pandemic. On top of that, more than 80 per cent of respondents were extremely or at least somewhat likely to want to continue working remotely.

PSAC’s proposal on remote work — submitted at the Common Issues table — aims to formalize the procedures outlined in Treasury Board’s Directive on Telework by including provisions for equipment and supplies and ensuring employees’ requests for remote work are not unreasonably denied.

More concessions for shift workers

During negotiations, Treasury Board also proposed to remove language that protects employees in the Information Services (IS) group from becoming shift workers.

In the next few weeks, the PA bargaining team will reach out to IS members for their input on the shift work proposal and how it could impact their work-life balance.

A new proposal was also tabled by the employer calling for enhanced flexibility for hours of work provisions. While the employer is selling this as increased flexibility for workers, the union views this as an opportunity to impose potentially unreasonable and demanding work schedules on employees.

Share your frustration

We need your support to send a clear message to Treasury Board before the PA bargaining team returns to the table again January 11–13, 2022.

Show the government that PA members who have faithfully served Canadians throughout the pandemic, while trying to balance work and life from home, deserve the opportunity to continue working remotely — without being penalized for it.

  • Take action by using our PA video background for all your work meetings to support your bargaining team;
  • Talk to your supervisors about how important flexible work arrangements are for you and your family and mention the concessions Treasury Board is proposing;
  • Take the time to talk to your colleagues about the concessions on the table and how they’ll impact your team;
  • Use our PA social media frame when you talk about bargaining online.

Common issues

PSAC’s Common Issues bargaining team also met with Treasury Board to discuss the key issues that impact members from every table – including wages, remote work, anti-racism, and the right to disconnect.

Check out the full common issues update for more information.

Stay in touch

Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date via the member portal to receive all the latest updates as we negotiate your next contract.


EB Group: Team proposes improvements to career development

The Education and Library Science (EB) bargaining team focused on improving education leave and career development opportunities for members during talks with  Treasury Board, November 8-10, 2021.

PSAC’s common issues bargaining team also met with Treasury Board to discuss the major issues that impact members from every table – including wages, remote work, anti-racism and the right to disconnect. Check out the full common issues update for more information.

Career Development 

The EB bargaining team’s proposal included several improvements to career development, including:

  • education leave with an allowance equal to 100% of salary
  • ability for employees to participate in professional development activities
  • strong language around approval and denial of professional development requests to ensure requests cannot be unreasonably denied and all members can fairly access career development opportunities
  • greater voice to employees in determining their professional development needs

Hours of work 

Treasury Board came to the table with a proposal on hours of work supposedly meant to improve flexibility for employees.  At first glance, the proposal raises alarm bells since it would increase the employer’s ability to propose work schedules that could be disruptive to employees such as split shifts and weekend work. However, the EB bargaining team will be thoroughly reviewing the proposed changes and preparing a response for when they return to the negotiation table in January.

Other improvements 

Treasury Board refused to respond to most of the other proposals the EB bargaining team brought to the table, since they have monetary implications. The team plans on tabling an EB-specific wage proposal in January and expects the employer to engage in more meaningful discussions.

Show your support 

Meet your bargaining team, learn why they got involved in this round of negotiations and show your support with our bargaining graphics:

Stay in touch   

Please be sure to keep your contact information up to date with the member portal to receive all the latest updates as we negotiate your next contract.


SV bargaining: Team discusses leave, travel time and health and safety

The Operational Services (SV) team pushed for several improvements to health and safety and working conditions for ship’s crew and lightkeepers during talks with Treasury Board on October 26-28.
PSAC’s common issues bargaining team also met with Treasury Board to discuss the major issues that impact members from every table – including wages, remote work, anti-racism and the right to disconnect. Check out the full common issues update for more information.

For the SV group, the team proposed several improvements including:

Ship’s crew:

  • Reimbursing parking costs paid by employees while performing their duties at sea;
  • The expansion of paid leave for family-related responsibilities by making sure no more than eight hours are deducted from leave credits if a member has to take leave for their entire shift;
  • On days where a crew change coincides with a designated paid holiday listed, both incoming and outgoing crews should be paid double time for all hours worked.
  • Sailing time: a sailing lay-day on-cycle should be no longer than 28 days.

Lightkeepers:

  • Two days of travel time with pay for the journey out from and returning to the light station;
  •  Clear timelines for when the employer must respond to an employee’s vacation leave request.

All members: 

  • Increase health and safety of members by providing access to immunization and prescription medication against diseases that employees may be exposed to in the workplace. This must be provided at no additional cost to the employee.

Remote work 

Our bargaining team’s attention is focussed on issues that matter most to SV members,   but it’s clear the employer doesn’t seem to fully understand the nature of the work performed by our members. At the table, Treasury Board is pushing for concessions in exchange for the opportunity for our members to work remotely, even though these work arrangements are simply impossible for many SV members. We’ve advised the employer to come to the next round prepared to  address issues that are unique to the SV group.

The SV bargaining team returns to the table January 18-20, 2022.

Show your support 

Meet your SV bargaining team and learn why they got involved in this round of negotiations. Show support by downloading and using the virtual background for all your work meetings and swap out your social media profile picture:

Stay tuned for updates 

To ensure that you receive all the latest updates as we negotiate your next contract, verify that your contact information is up to date via the member portal.


Common issues bargaining: Wages must keep up with soaring inflation

PSAC put forward a wage proposal for more than 110,000 federal public service workers that reflects skyrocketing inflation rates across Canada.

The common issues bargaining team proposed a 4.5 per cent wage increase in each year of a three-year agreement during negotiations with Treasury Board in early November.

Inflation rates are at the highest levels seen in more than 18 years, and members deserve a wage increase that keeps up with the rising costs of food, housing, and child care — anything less is a pay cut for federal public service workers. This year, the consumer price index rose 4.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October, up from a 4.4 per cent increase in September.

Many employers are recognizing there is a labour shortage and are increasing salaries accordingly to recruit and retain skilled staff. As Canada’s largest employer, Treasury Board needs to take on a leadership role by providing fair wages that recognize the rising cost of living and set the bar for other Canadian employers to help Canadians recover from the pandemic.

Group specific market adjustments, allowances, and grid re-structure proposals were not part of this package and will be submitted separately by the group-specific tables.

Employer refuses to discuss remote work

Treasury Board refused PSAC’s proposal to include remote work provisions in the collective agreement because they feel the inclusion of remote work is unnecessary and language on the right to disconnect is redundant.

Members have flagged work-life balance and the ability to work remotely as key priorities for this round of bargaining. Employees should have a say in when and where they work, and we will continue to push Treasury Board to negotiate terms for remote work and the right to disconnect into our collective agreements where they will be most effective.

New proposals on bilingualism bonus, anti-oppression training, parental leave

PSAC tabled new and revised provisions within the discrimination and sexual harassment articles to ensure our members have access to a fair process. The proposal expands the definition of what is considered harassment to better protect members. It also calls for mandatory training for all employees on the topics of “anti-oppression and discrimination,” and “harassment, sexual harassment, and violence in the workplace.”

Our proposed new training provisions push the employer to appropriately recognize and promote bilingualism in the federal public service, while the proposed increase to the bilingualism bonus aims to improve what is currently offered under the National Joint Council’s Bilingualism Bonus Directive, which has been stagnant for decades.

We also proposed improvements to maternity leave without pay and parental leave without pay to increase the top-up available to employees. We hope this will allow single parents and lowerincome families to better utilize the extended parental benefits option.

Upcoming bargaining dates

The bargaining team meets with the employer again on December 14 and 15, 2021.

The Common Issues table covers  members in the Programs and Administrative Services (PA)Technical Services (TC)Operational Services (SV) and Education and Library Science (EB) bargaining units.


This content has also been posted on the PSAC website: PA, EB, SV, Common Issues

Deal reached for Phoenix damages, PA group and common issues

Image conversation PSAC AFPC

In a victory for federal public service workers who have gone above and beyond to support Canadians during this pandemic, PSAC has reached a tentative agreement that provides fair wages, no concessions, and improved working conditions for the 70,000 members of the PA group, and Treasury Board common issues.

Alongside these successful talks, PSAC has also secured proper compensation for Phoenix damages to be paid to PSAC members for the pain and suffering caused by the broken pay system.

Phoenix damages

PSAC successfully negotiated a Phoenix damages settlement that is significantly better than the employer’s deal with other federal bargaining agents. Last year, PSAC rejected the government’s meagre offer of 5 days of cashable leave, which was too little and would have rewarded those who earn more while punishing workers who make less. The current agreement provides PSAC members with a fair and equitable lump sum payment of $2,500.

Unlike the tentative deal for Treasury Board bargaining that must be voted on by PSAC members in the near future, the Phoenix damages agreement required ratification by the PSAC National Board of Directors. The Board voted unanimously in favour of the offer on July 3, 2020.

Please read the following update which provides greater detail on the general Phoenix compensation portion of the settlement, as well as the expansion of the claims process for out-of-pocket expenses and for those who suffered major losses because of Phoenix.

PA Group settlement

The PSAC bargaining team successfully secured fair wage increases averaging at 2.11% per year.

PA group members would receive the following wage increases:

2018 2019 2020
2.8% 2.2% 1.35%

In addition to those wage increases, the following group-specific wage adjustments and allowances were also secured: ​

  • Improved retention allowance expanded for all employees working in compensation operations to $3,500 per year
  • A new $3,000 annual allowance for armed Fishery Officers
  • A new Primary Responsibility Allowance of $2,000 per year for parole officers and parole officer supervisors or Parole Officer Managers at Correctional Services Canada (CSC)

Other improvements to the PA collective agreement include: ​

  • Increase in maternity related reassignment or leave qualification from 52 to 78 weeks following the birth of a child
  • Several leave improvements including for a person who stands in place of a relative for:
    • Leave without pay for the care of the family
    • Bereavement leave
    • Leave with pay for family-related responsibilities
  • A new leave provision for members elected to union leadership
  • An increase in meal allowance for overtime from $10 to $12
  • New language to clarify that  the Employer shall provide an unpaid meal break of a minimum of thirty (30) minutes per full working day, normally at the mid-point of the working day
  • Renewal and update of a memorandum of understanding on a Joint Study on the Work Environment for Employees Working in Call Centres
  • New provision that provides call centre employees with training on crisis intervention and coping
  • Increases to funding for the Joint Learning Program, including a pilot study on health and safety training
  • Language that explicitly provides breaks for nursing employees (to nurse or express breast milk)
  • Memorandum of understanding for a Joint Study on employee support mechanisms for employees who in the course of their duties are exposed to explicit and disturbing material, and/or potentially threatening situations
  • Joint committee to review the use of Indigenous languages in the federal public service, examine Indigenous language skills in the performance of employee duties and consider the advantages that Indigenous language speakers bring to the public service
  • Memorandum of understanding regarding Occupational Group Structure (OGS) review

Common issues settlement

Alongside negotiations for the PA group, PSAC bargaining teams for the TC, EB and SV groups also joined talks to reach a settlement for Treasury Board issues common to all groups. Some of the key improvements include:

  • A one-time payment of $500 in recognition of the extended collective agreement implementation deadline and an additional $50 for every subsequent 90-day delay
  • 10 days of paid domestic violence leave
  • Better language on return to work following a maternity or parental leave, giving more flexibility to parents who wish to change positions within the federal public service.
  • Improvements to parental leave pay
    • Updated language to match the new legislation including a new extended leave option and the sharing of parental leave
    • Expanded supplementary allowance for every week an employee is on extended or shared parental leave
    • Additional weeks for parents covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, when both parents work in the public service.
  • New memorandum of understanding to explore the issues related to childcare in the public service
  • Updated and improved language to match the new legislation on compassionate care and caregiving leave
  • Better language to allow the use of employer facilities for union activities
  • New memorandum of understanding to protect certain working conditions of civilian members of the RCMP
  • New memorandum of understanding on mental health in the workplace to support the work of the Centre for Expertise on Mental Health
  • In the event of workforce adjustment, the education allowance has increased to $17,000
  • Deletion of Memorandum of Understanding on Supporting Employee Wellness. As a result, sick leave will remain untouched.

Full text and next steps

In the coming days when the final text and full details of the tentative agreement for the PA group and common issues are available, they will be shared with the membership. PA members will shortly thereafter be invited to participate in online ratification votes. Details about the votes will be shared as soon as possible.

The PSAC bargaining team unanimously recommends the ratification of the tentative agreement.

To ensure that you receive all updates and can participate in the ratification process, please ensure that you have either updated your contact information on PSAC’s member portal, or that you create an account if you have not done so already.

Other PSAC bargaining groups

Bargaining dates for the SV group will be announced in the weeks to come. Negotiations for the EB, TC and Canada Revenue Agency groups will resume next week.

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