Alternate Regional Vice-Presidents
Re: Provincial SalesTax Administrative Reform (PSTAR)
As you know, employees from both the Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia are scheduled to transfer over to the CRA with the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) Initiative of the Governments. Originally, all employees would also be transferring to become members of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE). After a further in-depth look at the duties that would be required and the coinciding Classification of some of these workers, it became apparent to the CRA that there would be an issue with the SP Standard. At that time PIPSC was also trying once again to enter into discussions with the CRA regarding the transfer of these employees.
I have been advised that some of our members believe that I was aware of these discussions and may even have participated in them. This in fact is not true. Until I received a telephone call from the CRA on Friday afternoon of April 23rd, while I was in Calgary for the UTE Regional OSH Conference I was of the belief that all provincial employees would be transferring to SP jobs. The telephone call was a “heads up” on the following issues:
- There was a problem fitting some of the Provincial Employees into the SP standard (~400 to 500)
- Talks had been held with PIPSC and an agreement had been reached with them and the CRA regarding some of the transferring employees
- The two Provinces had to agree to the transfer under the new conditions
- There would still be a career stream for our members at the SP-7 and SP-8 levels with corresponding MG positions in the GST/HST work stream
- With the approval of PIPSC, WFA would not be applied to the AU positions in the Combined Teams that were being discontinued but other AU positions would be found
- PIPSC would not challenge any SP jobs on classification
I expressed my displeasure in a very forceful manner and requested a meeting as soon as I was back in Ottawa with no one below the Assistant Commissioner-HR. I felt that we had been led down the so called “garden path” and our relationship with the CRA was in jeopardy and may not be the same for a very long time. I briefed the Executive Council members who were in Calgary on Sunday, April 25th and advised them that the information was to be confidential and contained until I could brief the remaining Council members and meet with the CRA. I met with the CRA on Tuesday, April 27th and briefed the other Council members and some of the UTE staff face to face on the 28th and 30th.
At the meeting with the CRA I advised them that no AU who wanted to transfer to a SP job could do so if they were not under the WFA and in affected status. Normally, a SP-7 or SP-8 would be a Reasonable Job Offer (RJO) to an AU-1 or AU-2 who was affected by WFA. Some of these jobs will be open for competition and they would have to apply just like our qualified members. This was the first time that the CRA agreed to open these jobs to competition for our members although I had requested this from the beginning of the PSTAR Initiative. Among other issues I also expressed my opinion on the legalities of the CRA agreeing to wave the WFA with the affected employees in the Combined Teams. I also had a previously scheduled meeting with the Commissioner on April 28th and expressed my concerns with the whole matter of PSTAR to her.
The CRA message regarding the agreement with PIPSC was sent to the Executive Council members and then to the locals. Subsequent to that I was requested to issue a Bulletin outlining what had transpired and I hope that this Bulletin clarifies the issue and our/my involvement. As of the writing of this Bulletin, neither Ontario nor BC has yet to agree to the new transfer arrangement.
Shortly there will be meetings with the CRA to outline the new structure of the GST/HST work stream and to establish a clear line between SP and AU jobs in Compliance. Further information on these issues will be provided once they are finalized.