Hours of Work - CRA Contact Centres

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

On April 17, 2024, the employer contacted the National Office of the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE), as part of our ongoing consultations as required by the provision of the collective agreement between the parties, to discuss a new proposal with respect to hours of work affecting employees of the CRA’s Contact Centres. In its proposal and in response to our ongoing discussions and challenges by UTE against the imposition of extended hours and shift work upon our members employed in Contact Centres, the employer proposed a new schedule that would eliminate shift work and Saturday work in all Contact Centres, with the exception of St. John’s, Saint John and Montreal.

During this consultation, the employer explained that this revised schedule was being proposed so as to align its resources to be better able to respond to more calls, to increase efficiencies and to ensure Canadians are consistently and equitably served in both official languages.

In response, our representatives advised that they would take the proposal into consideration, but that we would need more time to consult with our Executive Council and affected Locals. Feedback was sought from Regional Vice-Presidents (RVPs), after consulting with their affected Locals, and meetings were held by the National Office representatives with the Local Presidents of the three Locals named above, along with their respective RVP.

Discussions were also held with PSAC legal counsel as to the impact, if any, on the ongoing grievances and complaints scheduled with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB).

Upon receiving and considering all of the feedback received, a second meeting was convened on April 29, 2024 with the authorized employer representatives of the Assessment, Benefit and Services Branch (ABSB) responsible for the Agency’s Contact Centres. During this meeting, UTE advised that we would not object to this proposal, subject to the following conditions:

  • Agents in the three sites named above would be canvassed as to their preferred shifts;
  • Efforts would be made to accommodate employees’ preference, where possible;
  • Volunteers would be sought to work extended hours and shift work;
  • No permanent employee would be forced to work extended hours or shift work;
  • Extended hours and shift work would be assigned to new hires and returning (recalled) term employees, as required;
  • The provisions of the collective agreement (e.g. shift premiums, late hour premiums, 56 day schedule rotation, etc.) would remain in force and effect;
  • Any overtime would be offered on an equitable basis amongst readily available, qualified employees throughout all Contact Centres.

During this meeting, our representatives also requested information on the staffing impacts in terms of permanent and term staffing as a result of the reduced budget allocated to the CRA for its Contact Centres. The employer agreed to provide us with this information when their analysis was completed. To date, we are still waiting to receive this information.

The employer asked for more time to consider our conditions and a further meeting was held late afternoon on April 29, 2024 wherein the employer indicated that they agreed with our conditions.

The employer proposes to commence its new schedule effective May 11, 2024. UTE’s decision not to object to this new proposal does not affect our grievances and complaints filed with the FPSLREB, nor does it impact individual grievances filed in response to the Employer’s December 2023 proposal which was not accepted by UTE and resulted in another Policy Grievance that is currently at the Board level.

While our decision not to object to this proposal does not entirely achieve our goal of eliminating shift work and extended hours for our members in Contact Centres, it does, in our opinion, significantly improve the working conditions for the vast majority of Contact Centre members.

In Solidarity,

Marc Brière's signature

Marc Brière
National President
Union of Taxation Employees