SSO workers transition to PSAC’s largest bargaining group

Last month, over 1,300 members in the Statistics Survey Operations (SSO) group transitioned to the Program and Administrative Services (PA) Treasury Board bargaining group.

All members that were part of the SSO group are now covered by the recently negotiated PA collective agreement. All issues, including outstanding issues prior to the transition, will be dealt with under the PA collective agreement going forward. This includes a review of the current structure of SSO locals and how best to integrate them into existing PA locals.

The Union of National Employees, PSAC’s component that represents workers at Statistics Canada, is working on this process and will communicate directly with locals as updates are available. UNE has also compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding interviewer appointments and additional information about severance calculations, and plans to organize virtual townhall meetings to determine what is working well and what needs to be improved in the coming months.

The decision to integrate SSO members into the core public administration is an important one that fully recognizes SSO members as federal public service workers who deserve better terms and conditions of employment including fair wages, improved job security, and better benefits. 

Joining the PA group will result in a stronger collective agreement, more bargaining power as part of PSAC’s largest bargaining group and allow SSO members to apply internally to positions across the federal public service. 

The PA group includes over 100,000 federal government workers responsible for program administration, information services, communications, secretarial services, office equipment, administrative services, welfare programs, clerical functions and data processing.

UNE Leadership Stands in Solidarity with FSE-CSQ

This week UNE leadership, attending a training and planning session, marched in solidarity with the Syndicat des enseignantes et enseignants des Laurentides (SEEL-CSQ). They are on a 3-day strike this week and will announce an unlimited strike soon if no fair deal is reached.  

“These workers have been offered crumbs while the province has given their parliamentary leaders cakes,” said UNE National President Alisha Campbell. ” We stand in solidarity with our union family members.” 

As a mark of solidarity, UNE will make a donation to SEEL-CSQ.

The members have been offered 10.3% over 5 years, which pales in comparison to the 30% raise Premier Legault gave his elected provincial politicians. 

For more information on this strike, you can read this FSE-CSQ press release (in French).

Bilingualism allowance review: Increase and expand

After the last round of negotiations between PSAC and Treasury Board, a review of the Bilingualism Bonus Directive was launched in October. The bargaining agents of the National Joint Council, of which PSAC is a member, have until April 2024 to provide their input.  

It is time to update and expand the Bilingualism Bonus Directive. Eligibility for the bilingual allowance has not been updated since 1993, and the amount that bilingual employees receive ($800) has not increased since 1977. Workers in the federal public service work hard to improve their language skills; 45 years without an update is insulting to their time and effort. 

PSAC is calling for three main changes: 

  1. A significant increase to the allowance. If the current amount were indexed to inflation, the bonus would now be worth more than $3,000 today.  
  2. A mechanism to increase the bonus on a yearly basis. As costs rise every year, the bonus should reflect that reality. 
  3. If the Official Languages Act (OLA) is updated to include languages other than English and French, for example Indigenous languages, these languages should also be eligible for an allowance. 

Bilingualism is a skill that should be encouraged. The employer must find ways to strengthen the OLA, making it easier for members to work in the language of their choice and improve their second language skills.  

The OLA designates both English and French as languages of work within the federal public service. If the government wants to have a truly dynamic, diverse, and bilingual institution, it must create an environment where employees are not only able to work in the language of their choice but encouraged to do so. 

Parks Canada bargaining: PSAC files unfair labour practice

PSAC has filed an unfair labour practice against Parks Canada Agency for refusing to provide seasonal and term workers the pensionable lump sum payment negotiated as part of the collective agreement signed September 26. 

Parks Canada blamed wildfires for the nearly eight-week delay in signing the collective agreement, causing many of the very PSAC members who were on the frontlines fighting these fires to lose out on receiving the $2,500 lump sum payment. For members to receive the lump sum payment, they must be in the bargaining unit when the collective agreement is signed.  Take Action

The delay means approximately 300 Parks Canada members who are term and seasonal workers will not receive the payment, including firefighters who battled wildfires, members in seasonal term positions at Canada’s historical sites, in the midst of a national housing crisis. Contracts for these workers typically end between late August and early September. 

The Parks Canada bargaining team has made it clear throughout this round of bargaining that this employer’s over-reliance on and abuse of term and seasonal workers is unnacceptable. Now, these same precarious workers will be burned again. 

PSAC will be arguing that members who have completed their contracts since the ratification on August 4 should receive the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment that was negotiated in good faith at the table. 

Stay informed  

Keep your contact information updated to date to receive the latest news.

Send a letter to the Minister of the Environment Stephen Guilbeault and President of the Treasury Board Anita Anand to push the employer to honour a collective agreement bargained in good faith.

Update on lump sum payment and retro pay for Treasury Board and CRA members

As part of the collective agreement PSAC secured during this round of bargaining, the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8 for all eligible PSAC members in the PA, SV, TC, and EB Treasury Board bargaining groups and PSAC-UTE members working for Canada Revenue agency.

See our FAQ for full details about eligibility for the lump sum payment.

Processing dates for retroactive pay and wage adjustments vary by bargaining group. Full details for each table are included below.

The employer had 180 days to action payments following the signing of the collective agreements this summer. All non-monetary terms of the collective agreement took effect immediately upon signing.

Program and Administrative Services (PA Group)

  • The new collective agreement was signed on June 27, 2023 and wage adjustments were reflected on the August 2 pay stub.
  • The retroactive pay was processed and issued on the October 25 pay stub, and the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8.

Operational Services (SV Group)

  • The new collective agreement was signed on July 11, 2023 and wage adjustments were reflected on the August 30 pay stub.
  • Retroactive pay will be processed and issued on the November 22 pay stub, and the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8.

Technical Services (TC Group)

  • The new collective agreement was signed on June 27, 2023 and wage adjustments were reflected on the August 2 pay stub.
  • The retroactive pay was processed and issued on the August 30 pay stub, and the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8.

Education and Library Science (EB Group)

  • The new collective agreement was signed on July 11, 2023 and wage adjustments were reflected on the August 30 pay stub.
  • Retroactive pay will be processed and issued on the November 22 pay stub, and the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

  • The new collective agreement was signed on June 27, 2023 and wage adjustments will be effective November 1.
  • The $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment will be issued on November 8. 

When Can I Expect to Receive My Parks Canada Retroactive Payment?

UNE Local Representatives have been dealing with a high volume of inquiries about the latest on the Parks Canada Retroactive Payment.  

The employer has 180 days from the signing of the contract to implement wage increases, wage adjustments and allowances. If the Parks Canada Agency is unable to meet this deadline, there is a lump sum of $200 payable if the outstanding amount is more than $500 owed. 

The agreement was signed September 29, 2023.  Therefore, the employer has until March 27, 2024 to make the payments. 

More information on the collective agreement is available at https://www.unesen.ca/press/?p=10800

FAQ: Public Service Health Care Plan & Canada Life

Did PSAC negotiate this change to move to Canada Life?

This change was initiated and operationalized by the employer and was not part of PSAC and other unions’ negotiations on a new health care plan. It also does not impact the improvements PSAC secured. 
 
The employer transferred the Public Service Health Care Plan provider contract from Sun Life to Canada Life as part of a separate procurement process, resulting in changes for nearly 1.5 million federal public service workers, retirees, and their dependents. 
 
The Government of Canada made the decision to transition to Canada Life, and it is their responsibility to hold Canada Life accountable for the many problems that members are facing.

I can’t get in touch with Canada Life. What should I do?

Customer service wait times remain too long, and too many calls remain unanswered. This poorly managed transition prevents our members from fully taking advantage of their benefits 
Unfortunately, the only available option is to keep trying until you are connected to a Canada Life agent. 
 
Before the move to Canada Life, PSAC provided the government with recommendations for a smooth transition for plan members, including for Canada Life to hire additional staff and increase its call centre capacity.   
 
PSAC has also requested a meeting with Treasury Board President Anita Anand to discuss how the delivery of benefits can be improved for plan members as soon as possible.  
 
While the contract for administering benefits is held by the employer, PSAC will continue to push the employer and Canada Life to improve conditions. 
 
Members can add additional pressure on the Liberal government by contacting their MP directly to share their frustrations and call for accountability on the Canada Life rollout.

Why are wait times so long with Canada Life?

Canada Life has not been able to keep up with the influx of new members, retirees, and dependents that they now administer, and it is having a significant impact on people who depend on these benefits for their health and drug coverage.

What is PSAC doing to improve this situation?

Before the move to Canada Life, PSAC provided the government with recommendations for a smooth transition for plan members, including for Canada Life to hire additional staff and increase its call centre capacity.   
 
PSAC has also requested a meeting with Treasury Board President Anita Anand to discuss how the delivery of benefits can be improved for plan members as soon as possible.  
 
While the contract for administering benefits is held by the employer, PSAC will continue to pressure the employer and Canada Life to improve conditions.

One of my recent claims was denied by Canada Life, even though similar claims were granted under Sun Life. Has the plan changed?

The vast majority of benefits you previously received should be the same or improved after PSAC negotiated various improvements to the plan. If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied, please contact Canada Life or submit an appeal.

How can I appeal if my health care claim was denied?

Visit the Public Service Health Care Plan Administration Authority’s website for information on how to submit an appeal
 
Prior to submitting an appeal, you should make every effort to resolve the issue with Canada Life. Appeals related to denied claims must be submitted within 12 months of the date of your claim statement.

What about the dental plan?

The Public Service Dental Care Plan, which is currently being re-negotiated for over 185,000 federal public service workers, continues to be administered by the Canada Life Assurance Company.

Parks Canada: Employer delays shortchange frontline workers, including wildfire firefighters

PSAC and the Parks Canada Agency have signed the new collective agreement eight weeks after it was ratified by members. However, the employer has backtracked on discussions to ensure that members in precarious positions—including firefighters—receive the one-time pensionable lump sum. 

Using wildfires as an excuse nothing less than shameful 

As the employer delayed signing, using fires in Canada’s North as an excuse, PSAC pushed for an agreement that would not leave our members, many of whom fought those same fires before their contracts ended, as victims of employer delays. 

“We pushed the employer to get this deal signed so that seasonal term workers would benefit,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “But now it’s clear. The Parks Canada Agency used wildfires as an excuse to delay, while it’s firefighters who they are shortchanging.” 

Based on information from the employer, there are roughly three hundred members who will not receive the lump sum payment due to the delay. This includes firefighters who have been on the frontlines of wildfires that have ravaged communities, members in seasonal term positions at Canada’s historical sites, and students in the midst of a national housing crisis. We negotiated a collective agreement to support term and seasonal workers, not leave them further behind. 
 
Take action 

PSAC and the Parks Canada Agency have signed the new collective agreement eight weeks after it was ratified by members. However, the employer has backtracked on discussions to ensure that members in precarious positions—including firefighters—receive the one-time pensionable lump sum. Tell the Ministers to make this right.

PSAC and Treasury Board sign collective agreements for PSAC members in PA, TC groups

PSAC and Treasury Board representatives have signed the collective agreements for PSAC members in the PA and TC bargaining units. Both agreements were ratified by members on June 16, 2023. We anticipate signing the SV and EB agreements next week.

Next steps

All non-monetary terms of the collective agreement take effect immediately.

The employer now has 180 days to action retroactive pay, the $2,500 pensionable lump-sum payment and implement wage increases, wage adjustments and allowances. The lump-sum will be paid to each employee based on their substantive position – including those on leave without pay – on the date of signing June 27, 2023. See our FAQ for full details about your eligibility for the lump sum payment.

If the implementation period goes beyond 180 days and when the outstanding amount owed is greater than $500, the employer will pay a $200 lump sum per member.