Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Staffing Committee

May 15 to May 17, 2018

Attending: Adam, Shane O’Brien, Patrick Bertrand, Joanne Coish, Jérôme Martel, Jennifer MacPherson

Methods of Operation:

This is a standing item on the agenda to remind Committee members that we may only officially deal with items referred to us from Convention, Executive Council or the National President.

Email to the committee from others not on staffing committee (Locals and RVP’s)

Emails for staffing issues not previously referred to the Committee as stipulated above should be sent to the Staffing chair and Shane who will provide an answer to local/RVP requesting an opinion from UTE. The Chair also added that any email arising from Locals and/or RVPs that are sent directly to Committee members related to staffing be redirected to both the Chair and Technical Advisor to take action or give advice where required.

Work Descriptions and Job Competency Profiles

The Committee continues to receive draft work descriptions and job competency profiles for our review.  As UTE has now returned to consultation with the employer, comments and proposed revisions are now being regularly provided to the employer.

Staffing committee members, even if they have no comment, should notify the Chair before the deadline for the response.

Staffing Committee Comments and Responses to Employer

The Committee agreed that all Committee members will, where practicable, be sent a copy of all comments and responses sent to the employer on behalf of the Committee.

Travel Advances for Committee Members

All committee members were advised that effective immediately, the Chair will be requesting advances for all Committee members when a meeting is scheduled, unless a member that does not require one advises prior to the scheduled meeting.

Agenda for Meetings – Advance Notification

Committee members should receive the agenda in advance for them to be able to research information before the meeting to discuss the issue. Also, committee members will provide subjects as they arise.

UTE Newsletter / Articles Related to Staffing

While the content of the Newsletter is entirely up to the Communication Committee, the Staffing Committee discussed that articles related to Staffing should be reviewed by the Staffing Committee before publication. Jerome will discuss this with the Chair of the Communications Committee.

The Committee also agreed that we would all attempt to be proactive by regularly producing articles of interest to our members with respect to staffing.

Review and Reply Timeframes for Work Descriptions and Job Competencies

In accordance with the procedure established with the employer many years ago, the Union should provide comments within two weeks for minor changes to existing work descriptions or 4 weeks for major changes or new work description. Committee members will advise the Chair if they have too much work pending and an additional delay could be requested by the Chair to the Agency.

Well-being - MG Job Descriptions

UTE has been pushing for a well- being excerpt to be included in the job descriptions for MG positions. Initially, CRA would reply to our suggestion by stating it is not applicable. CRA appears to be now taking the position that they are looking at a generic statement to be included in every Team Leader job description. Jennifer will send the last email exchange with the employer on this matter to the Chair who will follow-up with the employer.

Generic Job Descriptions

In correspondence recently received from the CRA with respect to our comments concerning a draft work description, the CRA refers to generic work descriptions as employees may not be performing all aspects of a work description. They state that by using generic work descriptions, the duties can be customized for local and regional positions.

UTE supports a complete and accurate job description for all positions as outlined in the collective agreement. Only the duties pertaining to a specific position should be contained in the employee’s job description. Moreover, many year sago, UTE supported the employer’s position in moving away from local and regional work descriptions in favour of national work descriptions. Those duties that will not be assigned to the local or regional position should not be contained in the job description. The Chair will write to the employer on the matter.

Job Competency Training

In 2017, the Committee asked the employer to provide job description and job competency training for the Committee members. Due to an oversight by the employer, while the work description training was provided, the job competency training was not scheduled.

Shane will do a follow-up for the job competency training part we have yet to receive. Shane will try and ask for dates that Committee members are already in Ottawa if possible to save costs.

Specified Period Employees (Term Employees)

This still remains a standing item for our Committee. The Committee remains vigilant in monitoring situations that are brought to its attention and we also closely review the quarterly list from the CRA for term employees. Relatedly, these lists are sent to RVPs as they are received and RVPs should be providing these lists to their locals for them to review and to report any discrepancies to Brother O’Brien at the National Office.

At its last meeting, the Committee identified a number of bargaining proposals on behalf of term employees that will be advanced during this round of bargaining.

One of the issues we discussed was term conversion and it was suggested that we write an article for the next UTE Newsletter.

Pre-populated Performance Expectations

As indicated in our last minutes, the CRA continues to send draft copies of pre-populated performance expectations for our review and comments.  As UTE has now returned to consultation, we are now again providing comments and suggestions to the CRA.

While there is no specific checklist for issues that we need to review, we should ensure that there are no quotas, that the expectations are as objective as possible, that the expectations are significantly related to the position, that the expectations relate to the assigned tasks and that the expectations are reasonable and clearly enunciated. Committee members should ensure that they are well versed and consult with incumbents of the positions should it be necessary.

It is becoming evident that CRA is moving towards an increase use of pre-populated performance expectations for many of their positions.

Staffing Projects and Activities (SPA)

Three times a year, the CRA holds meetings with Shane on behalf of UTE to talk about different initiatives being considered by the employer and to deal with issues raised by UTE. Shane reported on the items from the last SPA meeting:

Non-advertised Appointments

Shane raised that CRA is using a lot of non-advertised appointments. CRA has responded that they had looked it and that most non-advertised were for lateral moves (not specified if temporary or permanent – CRA could not provide an answer) and acting appointments. Shane made it clear that UTE does not agree with the use of non-advertised staffing process, except in specific cases where UTE has been consulted and indicated its agreement.

Locally Developed Tools

Shane reiterated that CRA should not be using locally developed tools if a standardized tool already exists.

The employer advised that Regions are providing a sample tool each per quarter to help create a national database of locally developed tools. Thus far, 38 locally developed tools have been provided to Headquarters.

Shane also reminded the employer that as this constitutes a Pilot Project, that the Union should be consulted.

Shane also asked for a breakdown of locally developed tools for the SP group and requested that these tools be approved by senior management from the functional authority in order to be used, notwithstanding our position.

New Form for Recourse

Shane asked the employer to remove career development from the Recourse forms as career development should not be considered recourse. Instead, he suggested that a new process should be created to allow employees an opportunity for a post - selection process interview to obtain career development information and advice.

The employer agreed to consider this proposal.

IF For Acting Appointments

Shane asked the employer to confirm or deny the rumour that it is considering removing any recourse for acting appointments. Management stated that it does not have the intention to remove IF at this time.

Long Term Acting Appointments

The issue of long term acting appointments has been on our agenda for quite some time. Our minutes of January 2017 stated the following:

‘’The issues of long-term acting appointments and the extension of pools beyond three years appear to still be issues in some Locals. UTE has been vigilant in this matter and we have achieved some success in having the employer address the matter by issuing direction to the field and by instituting a monitoring program to continuously review the matter. Where Locals still encounter problems, the matter should be raised with local management and escalated to the regional level through the RVPs should the issues remain unresolved. Similarly, issues unresolved at the regional level should be brought to the attention of the National Office. Moreover, members adversely affected by the use of long-term acting appointments should consider filing grievances where the circumstances warrant it’’.

While we suspect that we are still experiencing problems with long term acting appointments, very little, if any, feedback has been received from the RVPs.

In addition, the staffing committee has formulated a bargaining proposal surrounding this matter for consideration by the National Bargaining Team.

Student Hiring

In discussions with the Employer, they have indicated that there will be an increase in student hiring as a result of the current government commitment to this recruitment strategy.

As of this date, there are no firm projections for the numbers.

CRA has publicly stated, however, that they will be using student recruitment and student bridging due to the projected retirement and departures of employees in the SP group.

This is surprising, however, in light of CRA’s position during the Binding Conciliation on the Wage Re-opener, where they stated officially that there is no recruitment or retention problem in the SP group.

From time to time, locals have raised issues concerning student employment, but frequently there appears to be a misunderstanding in differentiating between student employment and term employment. According, we suggest that the locals review the student hiring policy within CRA.

Revised Recourse Procedures

The issue of recourse was assigned by the former National President to Shane to deal with. However, as it is closely related to the business of the Committee, Shane shared an update of the ongoing discussion with CRA about recourse procedures.

Shane explained that about once a year, CRA conducts a review of the recourse procedures. He explained that a while ago, he explained what problems we had with recourse and outlined areas for improvement. One of the things that he brought forward was the recourse forms that were changed. UTE’s position is that employees should be able to get feedback on how they have done in a selection process for their career development without having to request recourse with the employer. Employees should be able to get post-board interviews. From there, there may be instances where employees would like to exercise recourse and should be able to request it at that time. CRA said that they would consider this proposal, but they have not made a commitment yet.

CRA is currently considering removing recourse against temporary lateral moves for any length of time. Also, they would like to remove recourse for temporary and permanent appointments for lower level positions.

Shane advocated that ITPR should be offered for long-term acting appointments for certain lengths of time.

The general message that he got is that they are looking at removing as much recourse as possible because it is causing delays when doing staffing. Shane pointed out that delays should be minimal if management adhered to the time limits already outlined in the staffing procedures.

Call Centre Assessment Rehire Tool (CCART)

For the purpose of the current minutes, Shane was tasked, as the Technical Advisor for the National Staffing Committee, to overview this initiative because portions of it relate to staffing. Shane is sharing documents with the committee members for discussion.

CCART is to be utilized for SP04s and SP05s in Call Centres and it has been in use in Calgary since 2015. They piloted the tool from January to June 2017 in Calgary and the Calgary local was engaged in the process, according to the employer.

Shane advised CRA that while they can engage the local for fact finding purposes and consultation, but consultation must take place at the National level for re-hire tools.

CRA surveyed employees at the SP04 and SP05 level (in Calgary only), and the feedback received was mostly positive according to CRA.

Shane has requested copies of the surveys with the questions and the employer provided them.

The CCART uses numerical scores to assess candidates and this is what they use to re-hire employees. Joanne Coish added that CCART is also used for performance appraisal for permanent employees in her office.

UTE disagrees with the use of the CCART in its current form.

Shane explained that on a staffing standpoint, UTE has voiced its concerns.

CRA is currently rolling out this initiative nationally.

UTE is closely monitoring the CCART initiative, has voiced its concerns and will follow-up shortly.

The UTE National Office is currently collaborating with the National Call Centre Committee concerning the CCART initiative.

Merit Assignment Protocol (MAP)

The Staffing Committee was asked by the RVP of Southwestern Ontario to review and provide comments on a term re-hire assessment tool used at the Kitchener office.

According to the employer, the local has been engaged in the process. The Chair and Technical Advisor of the UTE National Staffing Committee have provided comments on it and confirmed that UTE did not accept the use of MAP protocol for rehire or promotions. We suggested that rehire pools should only be utilized for permanent but temporary workload (for example, Call Centres and income tax processing where a high number of employees are needed every year for a definite period of time).

We also responded that pursuant to CRA Staffing Program, past performance of employees should be the factor used for re-hire.

Since we received no further feedback on this matter, no further action is necessary at this time.

Appendix G Report

During the last round of bargaining, there were two MOUs with CRA concerning different issues including: vacations, staffing, student hiring, etc.

Shane has just received the final version of the Appendix G report and we are waiting for CRA to confirm when we will jointly release the Appendix G report.

With respect to the LOU sub-committee concerning staffing, it became obvious that the employer representatives were not living up to the spirit and intent of the LOU. They actually stated that they did not have a mandate to discuss some of the issues critical to UTE (e.g. Term Conversion, Seasonal Employment), as a result, UTE advised the employer that we would no longer participate in this sub-committee and would bring our issues to this round of negotiations.

Staffing Program Review

CRA has advised that a working group will be put in place for a complete review of the staffing program. The idea is to review everything from the ground up.

David Conabree is the new Director General for Resourcing and he has toured the country promoting this initiative.

CRA’s biggest concerns appear to be how long does it takes to staff a position and creating greater flexibility for managers.

The average number of days to staff a position is excessive from the start of a competition.

UTE’s concerns center around meaningful recourse, fairness of the process, transparency, efficiency and accountability for managers.

The working group is formed of managers mostly, but UTE and PIPSC have each been allowed two participants.

Discussion on the 12 Staffing Irritants (Identified on October 20, 2017 when we met for bargaining proposals)

The 12 irritants were already identified and a discussion took place to determine what actions we should undertake related to these proposals.

Part-time Versus Full-time Employees in Call Centres

  •  This issue will be addressed at the bargaining table and the issue has also been discussed when discussing Appendix G with CRA.
  • Discussions are ongoing with CRA concerning pensionable hours for part-time employees who are working full-time hours. UTE is advocating that the WSA (Work Schedule agreements) should be revised where this occurs.
  • The committee will monitor this matter closely and will deal with it in future if it is not resolved satisfactory.

Terms Extensions

  • The way CRA is currently dealing with term extensions is detrimental to the employees and affect their retention ability. Often, term employees are not advised of their extension in a timely manner and frequently, the extension is offered after their terms have expired.
  • It causes employees stress, pay problems and job insecurity.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Re-hire Pool Eligibility

  • UTE has concerns concerning the way that employees are negatively affected for re-hire pools because they are deemed not eligible and dependable for the approved time off they take.
  • We also have problems in re-hire where employees are deemed ineligible for re-hire due to issues that should have been addressed in the employer’s performance or disciplinary process
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Performance Review Should Not Be Used to Determine the Competency or Qualification of the Position

  • Performance reviews are not being completed consistently and could be biased.
  • Performance reviews related to employees’ current positions are not a reasonable tool to predict competency or performance in other positions.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Locally Developed Tools

  • UTE advocates that locally developed tools should not be used where a standardized test exists.
  • UTE also believes that locally developed tools should be approved by the functional responsibility at HQ before than can be included in a pool for use by the other Regions/Branches.
  • If approved by the functional authority, locally developed tools should be portable to other processes.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues

Notice of Job Opportunity ‘’Production of High School Diploma’’

  • Educational qualifications should only be entered once in the ISS unless there a change to the employee’s educational qualifications.

Resourcing Advisors

  • Make sure the Advisors are properly trained in resourcing.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Decision Review

  • UTE will raise the fact that only the parties in dispute and their representative should be in attendance and that the union perceives that managers involving other individuals not involved in dispute is a breach of the Privacy Act.
  • UTE will also raise issues concerning disclosure of information at all stages of recourse, including information with respect to placed candidates.
  • These issues will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, these irritants will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Candidates should be given a post-board interview upon request to receive feedback on areas of improvement and performance feedback during the selection process

  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Standardized Tests

  • Standardized tests must be reviewed and we should determine if they are still relevant.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Peer Reference Checks

  • Peer reference checks should not be used in a staffing process.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Area of Selection

  • Management should allow sufficient time for posting to allow candidates to apply in selection processes. Often, the timeframe is very short.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Dependability Check

  • Dependability should not include attendance at work and should not rely on authorized absences.
  • Dependability is far too subjective and is often biased. Other times, dependability is influenced on some particular supervisor’s writing skills.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Term Employees – Continuous Service

  • Periods of service where employees have been absent related to illness, family related leave, maternity leave, parental leave and other discriminatory provisions recognized under the Canadian Human Rights Act should not be excluded from the calculation of the continuous service.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Term Employees – Rehire

  • Compatibility with co-workers and clients should be changed to effective interpersonal relationships.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Staffing Recourse

  • UTE requests that internal employees be offered recourse for external staffing process.
  • Also, UTE would like 9 calendar days to be amended to 10 working days.
  • These issues will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, these irritants will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Seniority

   Seniority to be considered when staffing vacant positions.

  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Call Centres – Part-time vs Full-time Employees 

  • UTE will advocate for higher percentage of full-time employees hired in Call Centres as opposed to part-time employees.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Talent Management Program

  • UTE opposes the CRA’s Talent Management Program in its current form.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Availability for a Position

  • The availability of an employee shall be determined by the employee and not the manager.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Recourse – Individual Feedback

  • IF should be available to all employees in the normal area of selection for all appointments without competition regardless of the duration.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.

Recourse – ITPR

  • ITPR should be allowed for appointments following corrective measures.
  • ITPR reviewer jurisdiction should be expended to enable them to revoke or confirm appointments or to order corrections to errors in the process as necessary.
  • This issue will be brought forward during the staffing program review by Shane and Jerome. If not successful, this irritant will be brought back and will be addressed with CRA using other avenues.