|TO: :||Executive Council|
|Alternate Regional Vice-Presidents|
|Labour Relations Officers|
Re: Government Restructuring
The changes in government announced on December 12, 2003 were far-reaching and a lot of questions still remain un-answered. A problem we have encountered attempting to address the government restructuring is that government officials have proven either unwilling or unable to answer the many questions that we have raised. It appears that Paul Martin and his close circle of friends who have made these decisions have had the same amount of consultation with their own bureaucrats as they did with the PSAC, NONE!
Some of the decisions make little or no sense, some violate basic principles of fairness and others ignore the law and the rights that our members have under collective agreements, more specifically, the Workforce Adjustment Appendix. The Government has stated that this restructuring does not fall under the Workforce Adjustment Appendix. The exception to this is Communications Canada since they are closing that operation. This is something that your bargaining agent totally disagrees. However, compared to other PSAC members, UTE members are less directly affected by the restructuring.
Since the announcement December 12, 2003:
- CCRA instituted a conference call on the afternoon of December 12th with UTE, CEUDA, PIPSC and the PSAC to brief the unions of what they knew. It was Dan Tucker, Assistant Commissioner, HR who conducted the call. Very little information was gathered during that call.
- Within days of the announcement the PSAC/CCRA bargaining team was realigned to reflect the loss of the Customs stream. CEUDA now has one seat on the team to represent their members still in the CCRA.
- Also within days, the PSAC National Board of Directors authorized the realignment of Treasury Board, Table 1 to include a CEUDA Customs representative, as well as, transferring the Customs specific demands from the CCRA Table to Table 1.
- The PSAC has filed Section 99 complaints against CFIA, CCRA and TB because of the clear violations to the Workforce Adjustment Appendix that forms part of the Collective Agreement.
- The PSAC formed a staff working group with resources from each branch to evaluate every part of the government announcement. This working group is working closely with the Components involved in the restructuring. A document has been prepared outlining the major overview of the restructuring and it's ramifications. I have attached the document to this bulletin.
- After meetings with the Treasury Board where minimal information was exchanged, the PSAC requested and obtained a meeting with the Prime Minister. Paul Martin conceded that there should have been discussions with the union regarding the restructuring. Although no firm commitments were made during the meeting Paul Martin has left the door open for future meetings. It was noted that it has been over 20 years that a face-to-face meeting had taken place between the Union National President and the Prime Minister.
- The National President of the PSAC has spoken to the press and has received substantial press coverage in the newspapers, on the radio and television in support of our concerns.
- The PSAC established a special Government Restructuring and Review Page on the PSAC website. It will be updated as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have access to the internet you can "subscribe" to the updates, in the same manner as the subscribing to the bargaining updates.
- The PSAC has established a member question and answer link on that website as well.
- Components were requested to meet with their employer counterparts and obtain any specific information on the restructuring as it affects them and to report their findings to the staff working group.
- The government has confirmed the continuation of the present Terms and Conditions of employment, including classification, salaries and benefits, subject to a transition period, for the members transferring from the CCRA and CFIA to the CBSA. This is important to these members as they have different Collective Agreements with different salaries and benefits.
- I called a special meeting of the Executive Council for January 8th and 9th. Dan Tucker from the CCRA and Nycole Turmel, PSAC National President attended and briefed the Council and were open to questions. The minutes of this meeting, which were sent to the locals and are on our website, outline the details of the discussions.
- I encourage all locals to contact their CEUDA counterparts to offer any assistance in keeping the remaining CCRA CEUDA members informed regarding issues, since the majority of the CEUDA CCRA members will be transferring to the CBSA.
- The NSCC of PSAC/CCRA table authorized several actions to take place surrounding bargaining. These actions centre around some specific dates i.e.: the returning of the politicians to the House on February 2nd, the return of the negotiating team to the table on February 16th etc. The PSAC is also looking into any legal actions that may be taken. A "bad faith" bargaining charge will be laid by the PSAC at a minimum.
- The UTE Executive Council passed a motion to the affect that all PSAC members in the CCRA should belong to UTE and that if any members of UTE are transferred to the CBSA they should belong to CEUDA.
What does the restructuring mean to you?
Already, the restructuring has had an impact on UTE. The CCRA suddenly cancelled all bargaining sessions scheduled for January 2004 and the only reason given for the sudden cancellation was that the employer representatives no longer had a clear mandate for bargaining and must consult with the Treasury Board, as required under the CCRA Act. They have stated that they would not be prepared to return to the bargaining table until at least February 2004. As you are aware, the PSAC/CCRA Bargaining Team was scheduled to negotiate with the CCRA from January 12 to 16, 2004. The new dates are those that were already schedule for February (the 16th to the 20th). Makes you wonder if the CCRA is as detached from the Treasury Board as it claims it is and if the right people are at the table on the employer's side. Maybe we should be talking to the Treasury Board since they appear to be the ones that are controlling the bargaining process. The Team will be meeting with the assistance of a Conciliator supplied by the Public Service Staff Relations Board. If all goes well there are further dates in March set aside for meeting again. The dates are March 15 - 19.
UTE and CEUDA also obtained a favorable 85% strike mandate on December 18, just days after the restructuring took effect. The PSAC National President has officially confirmed that the vote stands and that she is prepared to authorize strike action should negotiations fail and if requested to do so by the PSAC/CCRA Bargaining Team.
Another complicating factor is that Sister Nancy Riche was in the process of reviewing certain jurisdictional issues between the UTE and CEUDA when the restructuring was announced. The PSAC National President had spoken to sister Riche since the restructuring announcement and was confident that sister Riche understood the impact and expected her decision to reflect the new reality. Sister Riche understood that there were no longer two streams within the CCRA and that some members providing services to what was the Customs side of the CCRA are going to be transferred to the CBSA in due course. As a result, those remaining in the common services areas will have no continuing connection with customs issues. Sister Riche's final decision on the anomalies can be seen on the UTE website www.ute-sei.org .When the transfers are all over the CCRA will have 23,000+ UTE members and less than 2000 CEUDA members. The National Executive of UTE believes that all PSAC members in the CCRA should belong to one component, UTE. We will be working towards that end. The Executive also believes that if any UTE members transfer to the CBSA they should belong to CEUDA.
Since August 2003 the CCRA has said that they were not prepared to discuss monetary items at the bargaining table until they tabled their ACS package. That was to happen at the January 12th meeting but the CCRA cancelled that meeting. Then, they announced that they were withdrawing ACS from the bargaining table.
The National Board of Directors of the PSAC also met on January 15th and a working group was established to look at the structure of the PSAC and to report back to the Board. I am sitting on that working group and we did report to the Board during the regular scheduled NBOD meeting the first week of February. We now have input from the Board and will be meeting again in the near future. I suspect that it will be a long process to implement any substantial changes to the structure of the PSAC. However, I will continue to update everyone with any progress in this area.
So far, this is what we know and have done since the announcement of the Government restructuring.
Backgrounder for Components
This is an update on the Federal Government's restructuring and Program Review announcements and the actions that have been taken to date. It is as comprehensive as possible given that both the PSAC and the Components report that the majority of employer representatives have not been consulted or very comprehensively briefed. These initiatives seem to be driven primarily by Mr. Martin's personal team of advisors.
Main Restructuring Initiatives
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
- The new Canada Border Services Agency has been created under Schedule 1, Part 1 of the PSSRA, which limits the scope of the current CCRA and transfers workers who do enforcement work from CCRA, CIC, and CFIA to the new agency as of Dec 12, 2003.
- Employees engaged in activities related directly to the discharge of passenger and initial import inspections were transferred.
- CEUDA, Agriculture, CEIU members will be impacted by this reorganization
- Agriculture has estimated that 92 members will be transferred
- CEUDA will have approximately 7200 members transferring
- CEIU will have approximately 800 - 1000 members transferring
- CIC will establish a new Admissibility Branch, which is responsible for the enforcement activities that remain within CIC. These include the admissibility policy, visa policy, international migration issues related to admissibility and quality assurance for case processing abroad and in Canada.
- Until the immigration functions delivered at the ports of entry (with their dual mandate of risk assessment and benefits issuance) have been studied thoroughly to determine to which organization they should report, these functions will remain at CIC. The Ports and Border Directorate of CIC will continue to support the officers delivering the program at ports of entry.
- The Employer is reporting that Support Staff requirements will be evaluated and transferred at a later date.
- The government says that work locations will remain unchanged.
- Concerns around future multi-tasking and possible future workforce adjustment of Border Agency representatives have been raised.
Public Service Human Resources Management Office
- A new Agency for Public Service Human Resources Management has been hived off from Treasury Board. A number of units now in the Human Resources Management Office will move to a new Public Service Human Resources Management Agency within Privy Council.
- These include the Human Resources Modernization Implementation Secretariat, Policy and Planning Sector, Organization and Classification Sector, Leadership Network (except for the Youth Internship Program), Integration Division, Employment Equity Division, Official Languages Branch and the Office of Values and Ethics.
- The Labour Relations and Compensation Operations Sector, the Pensions and Benefits Sector, Risk Management, Compensation Planning, Joint Career Transition Committee and a portion of the HRM Integration Division will remain in Treasury Board.
- We don't know for sure, but although these workers are all currently excluded, in line with the newly passed HR modernization legislation, some of these workers should become our members.
Public Works Government Services
- The current Chief Information Officer section in Treasury Board will be transferred immediately including GOL, Service Improvement Delivery, Organizational Readiness, Communications and Public Relations.
- This transfer should involve approximately 70 - 100 employees.
- The government says that after discussions with the public service unions, responsibility for collective bargaining and other staff relations activities will be transferred from the Treasury Board Secretariat to Public Works and Government Service Canada.
- Those discussions have not happened yet and no move is anticipated until after this round of Collective Bargaining
- Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- A new Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has been created from what used to be Solicitor General
- Integrate into a single portfolio the core activities of the existing Solicitor General portfolio that secure the safety of Canadians and protect Canadians against Natural Disasters
- The new Canadian Border Services Agency
- The National Crime Prevention Centre (from Justice)
- The Office of Critical Infrastructure protection from DND (about 250 -260 UNDE members)
- The signatory and referral powers, duties and functions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Section 77-1)
- This will involve USGE and UNDE employees
Canada Public Health Agency
- The government announced it will create a new Canada Public Health Agency following consultations with provincial and territorial governments, to address public health risks and coordinate a national response to health crises.
- Although there in no information on this new agency it is likely to impact NHWU members.
Human Resources Development Canada
- Human Resources Development Canada Department is now divided into two departments. On one side we have Human Resources and Skills Development and on the other side Social Development.
- So far, no official decision has been taken regarding common services which include: Strategic Policy, Communications, and Corporate Affairs and Planning. However, we know that there is a strong possibility that the Deputy Ministers will choose to split common services. IARMS will have to be split. Until a decision is made on everything, these bodies will continue to service all employees as a type of shared service.
- The Call Centre Harmonization at the former HRDC may cause unknown adjustment problems.
- The government is reporting that the division of the former HRDC should not cause to many problems it itself.
- This will impact CEIU and NHWU and possibly National Component members
Human Resources and Skills Development
- Human Resources and Skills Development will be responsible for: Insurance, Labour Market Programming (EPB), Lifelong Learning (HIP), Labour, Homelessness, HRCC Managers (except ISP), ISP in person services and REH's and immediate administration.
- The powers, duties and functions relating to the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation have been transferred to the new Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development
- Social Development will be responsible for ISP, Persons with Disabilities, Social Development, National Child Benefit and Early Children Development and all Service Delivery Initiatives. Social Development is also responsible for shared services including: FAS, HRS and Systems.
- Coast Guard will become a Special Operating Agency within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
- Coast Guard responsibilities for policy related to pleasure craft safety, marine navigation services, pollution prevention and response will be transferred to the Department of Transport from Fisheries and Oceans. This policy work is currently a Coast Guard responsibility.
- It is unclear yet how many members will be directly impacted by either of these transfers.
- This will impact UCTE and Environment members
- Parks Canada is slated to be moved from Heritage to Environment.
- This will impact primarily UCTE, National and Environment components although it is unclear yet what the impact will be.
- Parks Canada seems to be scrambling to figure out the details. The issue is the shared service that they still have with Heritage (ie. Finance, Informatics etc.) and how that will be affected. When Parks Canada first became an agency, Heritage maintained many of the support services for the Agency, unlike CCRA and CFIA where the support services moved to the agencies. This support service will now likely be transferred to the Environment department.
- In addition the government has announced that it will close Communications Canada at the end of the fiscal year.
- It has been suggested by the employer that those working in specific programs will be transferred with the programs, although those directly employed by the Sponsorship program will be affected.
- Between 350 and 500 workers will be affected.
- Approximately 300 workers are our members.
- 40 -50 workers in the regions will be the most vulnerable
- The department is treating this as a Work Force Adjustment situation although it is not clear yet how many workers will actually be surplused.
Canadian Firearms Registry
- The employer has indicated to the component that the Canadian Firearms Registry will continue to exist. Mr. Martin's press conference on the 9th of January seems to support this assertion although the question remains as to where it will be located with the government structure
- Portions of the Department of Industry including Investment Partnerships Canada, the Trade Integration Directorate and the International Business Opportunities Centre within Industry, International Trade Centres, and portions of the International Trade and Investment Policy Branch to the Department of International Trade.
- Portions of Foreign Affairs and International Trade including the International Business Development Branch, the Trade, Economic, and Environmental Policy Branch, those portions of the Communications Bureau and the Executive Service Bureau that support the international trade policy and international business development including the Trade Communications Division, those portions of the International Academic Relations Division relating to international business development, those portions of the Arts and Cultural Industries Promotion Division relating to international business development, those portions of the Policy Planning Secretariat relating to trade policy and international business development, those portions of the geographic branches of the Department that relate exclusively to trade policy and international business development, those portions of Canadian missions abroad that relate exclusively to trade policy and international business development, and the Trade Law Division.
- The government announced an immediate freeze on reclassifications.
- In one instance they say that the freeze is in effect until the President of Treasury Board and colleagues have reviewed concerns arising from the findings of the Auditor General regarding the Radwanski case.
- In another instance they say that the is freeze will continue until the end of the current fiscal year and is necessary to provide stability as the major organizational changes announced by the government on December 12, 2003, are implemented.
- The government says that reclassification process is not intended to interfere with due process insofar as statutory and legal processes are concerned.
- In order to justify the government's position Treasury Board takes great efforts to delineate the differences between the reclassification of a position as opposed to the appointment to a position.
- It is the position of the PSAC that all of our members have the legal right to be paid for the work they perform. Where a position has been improperly classified, the incumbent is being paid less than what they are legally entitled to earn. A reclassification, therefore, is simply an adjustment in wage scales to bring a worker to the level which accurately reflects the value of the work they are performing. As such, we do not believe that any government can simply decree that they have the right to underpay their employees by refusing to adjust positions which are found to be improperly classified.
- Although the government appears to be at best mixed up at worst duplicitous they have made the following observations related to classification:
- Because the employer is bound to comply with the legal obligations related to classification grievances stipulated in the Public Service Staff Relations Act, reclassifications that result from classification grievances are exempt from the freeze.
- Employees participating in apprenticeship or professional development programs where prior legal commitments have been made are exempted from the freeze.
- There is an obligation to appoint employees in an incumbent-based system once the departmental promotion committee has approved the promotion case.
- If the appropriate departmental authority has formally approved/signed off on the classification decision before December 16, 2003, it is within the authority of the delegated Deputy Head to decide whether or not to make an appointment.
- If a classification committee met before December 16, 2003 and made a decision to reclassify a position but it has not been formally approved the government is advising its representatives that no further action related to this position or its incumbent may be taken at this time. The reclassification is affected by the freeze.
The government has said that:
- The freeze on public service is a "freeze on the total size of public service" i.e. the total salary budget.
- The freeze is on hiring, staffing or promotions within existing salary budgets.
- There is no freeze on increments in collective agreements but rather on the "incremental growth" of the public service.
- The freeze should not affect the movement of people to and from positions affected by recent organizational changes. There will be special measures for them as well.
- The overall goal of the freeze according to the government is to ensure the government can meet its commitment to transfer $2B to provinces for health.
The government has also announced that they will be undertaking ongoing Program Review. The Program review will be ongoing. The government announced that the Expenditure Review Committee will consider all government programs, human resource management, procurement capital management and other issues. Several components have reported that the departments for which their members work have already been involved in review and restructuring processes based on the reallocations demanded from the last Manley budget.
The government has announced that all program spending will be assessed against seven tests:
- Public Interest Test - Does the program area or activity continue to serve the public interest
- Role of Government Test - Is there a legitimate and necessary role for government in this program area or activity - Governance - who else is involved, is there overlap and duplication?
- Federalism Test - Is the current role of the federal government appropriate, or is the program a candidate for realignment with the provinces?
- Partnership Test - What activities or programs should or could be transferred in whole or in part to the private/voluntary sector? This is especially significant as the Prime Minister created a Parliamentary Secretary for Private-public partnerships.
- Value for money Test - Are Canadians getting value for their tax dollars?
- Efficiency Test - If the program or activity continues, how could its efficiency be improved? Does the program exploit all options for achieving lower delivery costs through intelligent use of technology, public-private partnership, third-party delivery mechanisms, and non-spending instruments?
- Affordability Test - Is the resultant package of programs and activities affordable? If not, what programs or activities would be abandoned? How do program delivery costs compare to those in other jurisdictions and the private sector for similar activities?
The PSAC has made it a priority of taking action on these issues in a coordinated fashion and have taken measures to ensure that we work with you in the most efficient manner possible.
Major Areas of concern
- The government's communication about the reorganizations have not met the obligations of the Collective Agreement and have not been communicated in a way to ensure that each and everyone of our members can be represented to the fullest extent possible. This is unacceptable, and we will be making every effort in every forum to remedy it.
- The memo from Brother Halabecki and Sister Benson before Christmas explains what we have done to address initial Collective Bargaining concerns caused by the reorganization.
- Employers have agreed to the changes in team composition which required their agreement
- Initially all employers have agreed to meet as previously scheduled. However, the PSAC was contacted on the 8th of January and informed that Treasury Board and CCRA have asked that all bargaining be postponed until February. They say they have no mandate to bargain. We have expressed our anger at this position. Treasury Board has committed to more sessions in February.
- Clearly we are very concerned that the government may be positioning itself to implement restrictions on a free collective bargaining process although we have received no communication to this effect. The Finance Minister has said that any increases in government spending will be capped at 3%, the expected growth rate of the economy in 2004.
- Press release on delayed bargaining.
- The government is saying that the proposed move to PWGS will not be implemented until after this round of bargaining. Government advisories concerning the spending freeze are recognizing that additional monies may be spent to honour any collective agreements that will be negotiated.
- The government's benchmarks for review clearly support privatization of public services. The fact that the prime minister has appointed a parliamentary secretary for Private Public partnerships is on the face of it demonstrative of an ideological shift to further privatization. The finance minister has stated that the Martin government is looking at "spinning off some functions, either to the private sector or to arm's-length government bodies."
- The government has said that the freeze on the public service is a "freeze on the total size of the public service" i.e. the total salary budget. The freeze is on hiring, staffing or promotions within existing salary budgets. Organizations must plan for zero year-over-year growth in expenditures on human resources in fiscal year 2004-2005 as compared with fiscal year 2003-2004. The government has also said that the spending freeze is not a reduction exercise but instead an elimination of growth in the public service. They say that it is not expected to have an impact on existing employment situations.
- Workers have a right to be classified for the work that they do. Departments have been given the authority to implement the freeze as they see fit. They seem to be authorized to apply it differently.
- Furthermore, Cabinet Ministers aides have seen their wages rise dramatically because of reclassification. Public Service workers are being unfairly targeted. A double standard is being applied.
- We must also be primarily concerned with members who are already experiencing workforce adjustment because of ongoing government reallocation initiatives. We understand that members employed by CIC, HRDC, CCRA and Fisheries and Oceans were already impacted by changes before these announcements. Communications Canada must now be added to this list. Collectively one of our primary goals has to be that the adjustment needs of these members are met.
- The PSAC has formed a staff working group with resources from each branch to evaluate every part of the government announcement.
- The PSAC has been monitoring on a regular basis all government announcements and information and are aggressively looking into ways to increase our efficiency in doing so.
- The PSAC has requested meetings with the Prime Minister and the President of the Treasury Board to seek clarification on the government agenda. The meetings we have had so far have provided minimal clarification. It appears to us that the government's consultation of its own bureaucracy and cabinet ministers is almost as bad as their consultation with bargaining agents. The President of the Treasury Board when unable to answer our questions suggested we ask the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has yet to respond to our requests for a meeting.
- The PSAC has filed Section 99 complaints against CFIA, CCRA and TB because of the clear violations to the workforce adjustment agreements we have negotiated.
- PSAC National President Nycole Turmel has spoken to the press and we have received excellent press coverage in support of our concerns.
- The PSAC has established a special Government Restructuring and Review Page on the PSAC website. We are updating it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- The PSAC has established a member question and answer link on that web site. We have received over 50 questions to date and have begun work on addressing those questions generically to the best of our ability given the information that we have to date.
- Components have either met with their departmental counterparts or are in the process of meeting with them. To date all components are reporting that the departmental representatives do not have a very clear idea of what is happening.
- Components have been providing the PSAC with as much information as they can give the unprecedented departmental ignorance of the government direction.
- Components are advising their members as best as they can although clearly there are still more questions than answers.