Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Staffing Committee Meeting

April 17-19, 2007
In attendance:  Sabri Khayat, Chairperson
Pamela Abbott
Madonna Gardiner
Marc Brière
Linda Cassidy

Sabri opened by welcoming Marc Brière as a new member of the Committee. 

1. Agency Classification Standard (ACS)

A brief presentation was made at the Presidents’ Conference to update the locals as to the status of what was happening with ACS.  A summary of that presentation will be issued with the minutes of the Presidents’ Conference.

The employer will be training the PSAC on the ACS Standard and has agreed to provide UTE with three seats for Pamela, Sabri and Marc.  The dates for the training will be sometime in May.

The employer was supposed to send the “Thank you” letter to the SP contacts.  Sabri will follow up to ensure this was done.  The Committee, on behalf of UTE, also wishes to thank the SP contacts for all the work they did.

2. Work Description Review

The submissions on the Short Format Work Description (SFWD) have all been received and must be consolidated and submitted to the employer by May 1, 2007.  Although Linda and Kent were assigned the task of reviewing the submissions, it was thought to be a prudent time to include Madonna Gardiner and Marc Brière (TC & TSO representatives) in the process.  Madonna and Marc were brought in to Ottawa prior to the Staffing meeting to assist in the submission review.  In the future, the task of work descriptions review will revert back to the Staffing Committee and in particular the TC & TSO representatives.

3. Specified Period Employees

Sabri and Linda attended a meeting with the employer on April 16, 2007 concerning the recommendations flowing from the Joint Term Study.  We discussed the discrepancies in the updated term list provided by the Agency as compared to the information we received from some locals.  Sabri will contact the respective locals to advise them of the results of the discrepancies

During the meeting, the employer updated the union on the progress of the recommendations.

The action plan for the recommendations will be issued under separate cover.

One of the major issues raised regarding the pay system was the frequent changes in hours of work and the fact that these increased hours are not pensionable.  The employer has advised that when the employer indicates the charges of hours in advance or if it is included in the letter of offer, the time will be considered pensionable but if the schedule deviates from what was in the offer, this is not pensionable. The change to make this time pensionable would actually take an amendment to the Act and we have been advised that Treasury Board is reviewing this. The Committee believes that this information needs to be communicated to the Locals.  A Bulletin will be issued under Sabri’s signature.

Linda and Madonna attended the training session in December on the Managers Guide for Term Employment.  Management advised that the training is currently ongoing in the regions and they have been asked to provide a summary back by May 31, 2007.  We have been advised that the union has been invited to all local sessions.  Sabri will contact the Regional Vice-Presidents to ensure the training has started in their respective regions and to ensure that the unions have been invited.  The employer has committed to provide the union with a summary of what the regions have done.

Although the employer had advised that seasonal employment was not feasible, they did accept the union’s position that this item should be discussed.  The employer did ask for a list of divisions where the union believes seasonal employment was feasible.  The employer will set up individual meetings with each division so that a discussion can take place.  Taxpayer Services, Debit Management has met with the union to discuss why we believe seasonal employment is viable.  They have taken our comments under advisement and have committed to reviewing this alternative.

The next meeting for Term Study has been scheduled for October 15, 2007.

4. Changes to the PQP Process

Further to our last meeting, an additional call went out to the Locals seeking information regarding inappropriate behaviours or actions by the Competency Consultants.  To date, no additional information has been received, thus we will no longer pursue this issue.  This item will be dropped from our agenda.  Therefore, there is no further action required by the Staffing Committee.

5. Performance Management System

The adjudication decision related to Performance Management has been issued.  Unfortunately, we were not successful.  The Committee maintains the position that the collective agreement is very clear that an employee is to be evaluated on their assigned tasks, not on competencies or production quotas.  The recommendation remains when a member has a concern regarding competencies or quotas in their performance evaluation or expectations, they should be advised to grieve.

6. Revenue Collections Integrated Enforcement Teams

Further to our last meeting, there have been several meetings with the employer to advise the union of the status of this initiative.  In November, the employer advised that the pilot had commenced in 3 locations in November 2005 and in December a fourth site was added.  Each site had a team of eleven employees:  5 PM01 Collection Officers, five PM01 Non-Filer Agents and one Team Leader.  The pilot sites ceased operations as follows:

  • Calgary and Trois-Rivières on June 9, 2006
  • Sudbury on June 23, 2006
  • Halifax on July 14, 2006

The employer had advised in November that they were in the process of gathering the data and preparing a final report.  The employer did not mention this report during the April meeting; therefore, we will follow up with the employer.

7. Performance Assessment Scales

Further to our last meeting, we still have not received the regional reports and national summary.  Unfortunately, the employer is proceeding with an expanded performance assessment scale.  The Committee believes there are still many concerns regarding the rollout of this initiative and will request a meeting with the employer  to discuss the communications strategy and implementation plan.

8. Audit Harmonization Ranges

Shane’s discussions with the PSAC indicate that as we originally thought Classification grievances will likely be unsuccessful.  Based on this information and coupled with the fact that there is a potential adverse affect to the PM03 classification, we cannot recommend pursuing this avenue.  Consequently, there is no further action required and this item will be removed from our agenda.

9. Student Hiring – Annex J

On February 16, 2007, the employer sent the union the draft Annex J (Student Hiring) for consultation.  The union was asked to respond by March 9, 2007.  The Staffing Committee provided the following comments to the employer:

2.4 Although it is commendable that the Agency is indicating a preference for Employment Equity can be done, it is suggested that by mentioning one specific program it then leads to the belief that it is the only allowable program.  We would prefer that the mentioning of the Aboriginal Student Hiring Program not be mentioned in isolation, either eliminate the reference or include all applicable programs

3.3 The Unions position on non-paid students is there should not be any.  There is a concern that including this statement could lead to an abuse.

5.5.1 Although this section is referring to bridging it appears that scenario one is nothing more than an Internal Selection Process. Bridging is supposed to be a mechanism to allow students who have been brought in under student programs to then be hired indeterminately, not to be allowed to apply on a competition

On April 17th, the employer provided a response to our comments.  The Committee will issue the final version as soon as it is received.

10. Revenue Collections 2010

The Agency continues to meet with the unions quarterly on this initiative.  A briefing document is sent out after each meeting.  Linda and Sabri met with the Agency on April 3rd.  A summary of that meeting will be sent under separate cover.

11. Internal Audit on Staffing

The Internal Audit report is now completed.  The union attended a meeting on April 12, 2007 with the Auditors and the employer to discuss the results and the recommendations.  A summary of the meeting and the report has been issued to the Locals and Executive Council.  The Staffing Committee will continue to follow up with the employer on the Actions Plans and will report back on the respective items.  There is no further action required under this particular item.

12. Office Audit Job Description

Subsequent to the last meeting, there have been some modifications for the applicable description.  Comments have been received from the field.  Madonna and Linda will follow up on the original query to see if more action is required and report back at the next meeting.

13. Annex C (Area of Selection)

Further to the last meeting, the employer did provide a response back and has subsequently issued an amended directive. As per the request at the Presidents’ Conference, a Bulletin will be issued advising of the amended policy. The Committee also reviewed which Annex’s have been amended and posted on the Infozone and will attach this list to the Bulletin. In the future, the Committee, under the Chair’s signature, will issue a Bulletin with each amended policy.

14. Aboriginal Tax Officer Apprenticeship Program

As the employer responded to our comments and the amended Program has subsequently been issued, this item will no longer be required on our agenda.

15. Observe and Attest

In November, the Chair of the Committee requested a meeting with the employer as a result of being informed on changes to the program.  The information was received from the field, not from the employer.  A summary of this meeting was issued in November.  As a result of the discussions, the employer committed to keeping the union informed in advance of changes to this program.

Although there are not currently any outstanding issues, the Committee will keep this as a standing agenda item.

16. Information from Locals

Madonna and Alain Lachapelle did contact each Local to appoint a Staffing Liaison.  Unfortunately, all the Locals have still not provided a name.  The Committee cannot stress enough the importance of each Local having a Liaison person.

As a result of Annual General Membership meetings and elections, it was decided that we will try and update this list once every six months.

Madonna and Marc will reestablish the local contact list as well as requesting verification of each location’s liaison.  Madonna and Marc will then issue the Staffing Bulletin to the Liaison to establish the network.

Locals are also asked to update Madonna or Marc of any changes so that we continue to maintain a valid network list.

17. Work Assessment Checklist

The employer did report back on the pilots and confirmed this initiative will be rolled out nationally.  The Staff Advisor met with the Tax Services Debt Management Branch (TSDMB) in February and a summary was sent out.

The majority of the meeting was about the actual roll out and proposed recommendations for how this would take place.  As the employer wishes the use of these documents to be consistent across the country (and they stressed no more pilots), it was determined that September 2007, which is the beginning of the next Performance cycle, would be the appropriate time for the roll out to start.

I suggested, and management agreed, that the opportunity would be for each team leader to sit down with their employees individually and when they are going over the expectations for the upcoming Performance Cycle, they could then introduce this new tool and explain how it will be used.  Management has also decided that the Training Coordinator Network would be used to facilitate communications on this tool.

Communication strategy will be that the initial message will be sent out from Guy Proulx, Assistant Commissioner, and then a message in August to be sent out jointly by Guy Proulx and Betty Bannon. The message is strictly for Collectors as this form will be restricted to their use.  They expect to have the draft ready for Betty to sign at the June UMC.  There will be no local or regional adjustment to the message.  The expectation is that by the end of the cycle in August 2008, every Collector will know about these forms and will have had a review completed.  The implementation window is the fall of 2007.

This initiative is rolling out as expected and the Committee will continue to be consulted.  In addition, a conference call was held April 12th and the summary was issued.

Revenue Collections are having some concerns regarding the adaptability checklist and wanted to talk to us. The concerns are that the definitions of three of the adaptability skills closely resemble three competencies and they believe this needs to be fixed in order for the information to be consistent.

The problem is they will not be able to fix it prior to the distribution of Guys Proulx’s communiqué so they wanted to look at postponing the distribution of that checklist going out. I had some reservations about that concept.  In the discussions, Mike Snaaw advised that the following items are of concern:

  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Acts as  a Team Player
  • Training and Learning

They stated that the definitions they are using are not consistent with the competencies and perhaps they should be.  I concurred with the exception of Training and Learning as I have insider information that we have recommended that Commitment to Learning no longer be part of the Profiles so this would eliminate that problem. I also advised Mike that we had never supported the Acts as a team player so they could remove it and then it would not be an issue.

The preferred option is to fix these elements so that it is consistent and that may help with Observe and Attest in the future.  I concurred so they will revisit the communiqué being sent from Guy Proulx to amend to see if they can indicate if the Adaptive Skills Checklist gets fixed.  If it does, it will be utilized and if there is a problem with timing, it will be rolled out in stage two.

The Committee was sent a copy of the two communiqués to review.  We agree with the content on the 1st communiqué but there is a small change we would like to see in the joint communiqué. 

The Committee will respond to the employer requesting that the 3rd paragraph be amended to place more emphasis on the fact that this checklist is to complement and strengthen the assessment process, not to replace it.

The Committee will continue to update the Locals as information becomes available.

18. Term Offer

During the Presidents’ Conference, the National President, Betty Bannon, referred this item to the Staffing Committee.

Several Locals have indicated that the new letters of offer that are being issued state:  “You must be able to commit to the contract offer, which runs until ________.  You will be considered not available for another offer from any other pool until after the end of the contract date.”

We asked the Locals to advise us as to what was happening in their locations before April 18th so we could address it at the Term meeting on April 16th.  The Locals did not get the information to the Committee.

Madonna and Marc will contact the Locals to see if this paragraph is being used in their locations.  If this is widespread, then we will set up a meeting with the employer.  If this is isolated to Surrey and Sudbury, then we will refer it back to the respective Locals to deal with.

19. Guidelines on Promotions and External Recruitment without Selection Process

The Committee reviewed the Guidelines which were sent to us by the Agency for our comments.  Linda will respond with the following observations:

  • There should be separate Guidelines for “Selection without process” and “External Recruitment”

  • The term “Pool” should not be used as the Agency is moving away from this concept.

  • In French, they don’t use “Pool”, they use “répertoire”.  The meaning is not the same.

  • Page 5 – Why is the footnote 1 included?

  • Under item 6, Recourse, it should be clearly indicated how those in the “Area of Selection” will be notified of their recourse rights

20. Client Services vs. Accounts Receivable

The Committee discussed the situation that had occurred in Edmonton where Non Call Center PM01 Client Service Agents were making payment arrangements on accounts less than $25,000 and carrying inventories.  The concerns raised by the member and the RVP were that this initiative was not covered under the current work description.

This issue was raised with TSDMB and they advised that there had been a special pilot project in Edmonton to see how this would work but the pilot is now over.

The RVP will be advised that management mislead them when they indicated this was part of the work description and they should have been advised there was a pilot.

21. Working Groups – Competency Consultants

Job Competency profiles

Both these groups were reported on during the Presidents’ Conference.  As of the writing of these minutes, the representatives from these Committees were meeting with the CBHRMAC to get the recommendations approved.  Once the decision is rendered, the Committee will issue the information to the field.