March 27, 2020
IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES
Sisters and Brothers,
Some of our members have reached out to representatives of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) at various levels expressing an interest in undertaking a more expansive role in delivering upon the Government of Canada’s commitment to safeguarding and delivering the newly announced economic benefits (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) to Canadian Taxpayers. Similarly, some employees have approached the employer with this offer of assistance. These members have expressed their interest in not only administering the benefit programs currently offered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), but also those new benefits announced by the Prime Minister of Canada over the last two weeks.
In response to these requests, the CRA has reached out to UTE to determine the feasibility of this matter and to discuss the details of such an endeavour. Discussions surrounding this initiative are still ongoing between the parties. Notwithstanding these ongoing discussions, the employer has determined this initiative to be critical and has issued a call-out to all employees to volunteer to take on the role of temporary Call Centre Agents.
At this stage, UTE has indicated to the employer that we are not opposed to the idea and are supportive of our members participation in safeguarding the economic well-being of Canadians and assisting in securing the economic stability of Canada.
However, some issues that UTE has identified to date, include but are not limited to the following:
• This must be a voluntary initiative at the discretion of the employee;
• Employees must be able to deliver these services remotely;
• Members will need to work outside of their work descriptions;
• The employer must train employees on unfamiliar workloads;
• The employer must provide scripts or other such material for employees to adequately respond to queries from taxpayers;
• Specific clauses or articles of the collective agreement must be suspended for employees to offer the necessary assistance;
• Acting pay and other such matters must be considered if employees will be performing duties at a higher level.
If you have concerns with respect to this initiative, we ask that you speak with a member of your Local Executive.
In closing, we thank you for your ongoing commitment and all the good work that you do for the Canada Revenue Agency, the Government of Canada and the Canadian public.
The Union of Taxation Employees takes great pride in your efforts, dedication, loyalty and professionalism in these trying times!