Message from the President

Message from the President

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

Marc Brière with a microphone
Marc Brière, National President

In this peak tax filing season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has shown a real contempt for our collective agreement and a great lack of respect for our members working in its contact centres. In fact, the employer has unilaterally decided to impose extended working hours and Saturday work, not only for new external employees or those who volunteer, but for all contact centre employees.

As mentioned in our communique issued on December 20, 2023, the PSAC has filed a policy grievance on our behalf in this matter. In addition, if you are one of the members who are being forced to work extended hours and/or if the employer is forcing you to work shifts and/or if you are not being compensated for late-hour premiums or overtime as provided for in Article 25 of the collective agreement when circumstances warrant, we strongly suggest that you file individual grievances to remedy these violations of the collective agreement. I invite you to contact one of your local union representatives, who will be able to assist you in filing your grievances.

As if that wasn't enough, the employer also decided to invoke the Sunset Funding provisions of its Staffing Program, thereby excluding the service of term employees working in Assessment, Benefit and Services Branch (ABSB) contact centres from the date of their contract renewal for the Sunset Funding period. This is the case even if the employees work simultaneously on the normal business lines that receive permanent and stable funding, as well as on projects or initiatives that receive temporary funding. The Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) strongly disagrees with the employer on this point and vehemently opposes this decision.

Additionally, the employer recently informed us of its decision to use the Sunset Funding provisions for contract renewals for term employees working for the Appeals Branch, effective April 1, 2024. The affected members work for the Tax Relief Program and the Objections. They not only work on programs subject to temporary funding, but also on duties subject to permanent and stable funding. Once again, we denounce the employer's decision to use this provision of the Staffing Program and are of the opinion that it is not the appropriate instrument to use in the current circumstances.

The Agency, which prides itself on putting People First and being one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, is not showing this to its contact centre and term employees, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the Joint (UTE-CRA) Consultation Committee on the Virtual Work Arrangements Directive continues its work, holding regular meetings. A joint communique will be issued shortly to update employees on this subject. In addition, both parties have now established the terms of reference for the Panel on Virtual Work Agreements. This committee will review decisions resulting from the application of the Directive on Virtual Work Arrangements and the Requirement for on-site presence at the Agency.

Eight (8) years ago, the federal government launched the Phoenix pay system. It was a monumental fiasco that affected, and continues to affect, many employees. In fact, the system has not yet stabilized, and several problems persist. These include thousands of pay file transfers from members who have changed jobs or departments, and who are still not receiving their correct pay. Pay file transfers often have a domino effect, leading to a multitude of problems, such as receiving the incorrect amount of pay, overtime or acting pay. These cases can take 18 to 24 months to resolve. We have intensified our discussions with Agency compensation officials and the PSAC to ensure that this unacceptable situation improves as quickly as possible.

In closing, I would like to mention once again that our union is working on a lobbying campaign aimed at all federal political parties and their MPs, to demand that Section 58 of the Canada Revenue Agency Act be amended to put an end to Treasury Board interference in our collective bargaining with the Canada Revenue Agency. More information will be forthcoming in the coming months.

I sincerely thank you for your continued support of YOUR union and for your excellent work and dedication to the Canadian population.

Marc Brière
National President