Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Staffing Committee Meeting

April 10-12, 2006
In attendance:   Linda Cassidy
Pamela Abbott
Madonna Gardiner
Alain Lachapelle
Shane O'Brien

1.  Agency Classification Standard (ACS)

Linda and Kent MacDonald attended a further ACS meeting on April 5, 2006.  The Beta II testing has now been completed and the quality review process now confirms that the standard is measuring the positions properly.  Unfortunately, discussions are still in the “contained consultation” mode and as a result, specific details cannot be communicated at this time.  Further information will be provided, however, to the Executive Council.

It has come to our attention that some managers are speculating where certain jobs may fall in the new standard and/or speculating about salary increases when meeting with employees.  The Committee asks that Locals advise us immediately where this occurs.

Finally, as the dates for the joint ACS-SP training draws near, we will be contacting the locals in order to solicit names to deliver the training.

2.  Work Description Review

The Committee identified a sample of ACS-SP Work Descriptions that we would review as a group to ensure consistency in our individual reviews as the job descriptions continue to be received.  The work descriptions were compared against the writer’s guide and were not reviewed in terms of their classification.

Shane will also speak with the employer about granting leave for some Committee members to continue to review these work descriptions as they are received.

3.  Finance and Administration (F&A) Work Descriptions

Several new F&A Work Descriptions have now been received and the remainder will be received in due course.  The Committee will review some of these work descriptions in order to ensure that they have been rewritten accurately and in proper form.  This item will now be dropped from our agenda for future meetings.

4.  Specified Period Employees

The CRA has now issued a communiqué advising that it has met its commitment to appoint a minimum of 25% of 1100 (275) term employees during the life of this collective agreement.  We agreed that we would pressure the CRA to continue to examine this issue as to date, only the minimum has been met.  The Committee also noted that there appears to be some discrepancies in the list of term employees whom the CRA maintains have been appointed.  Shane will ask for an updated list and will provide each RVP with the names for their respective region to confirm the information supplied by the Agency.

Madonna and Normand, further to our last meeting, sent an email to all locals asking them to validate the numbers provided by the Agency of permanent appointments of term employees.  Only 24 of 53 locals have responded. 

With respect to the issue of seasonal indeterminate employment, at the December 2005 NUMC, the Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources agreed that a further meeting would be scheduled in March 2006.  To date, this meeting has not been scheduled and as a result, Shane will follow up with the Agency.

Despite follow-up concerning the CRA’s Two Year Review Policy, the Agency has still not issued the revised policy.  Shane will follow up once again.  Locals are reminded again that long term members should request in writing that a review be conducted even if more than two years have elapsed.

As indicated in our last minutes, the Committee was granted time at the March 2006 Presidents’ Conference to explain the Agency’s progress on the action plan and the term commitment.

Madonna also followed up with locals concerning the use of generic jobs in Tax Centres for term employees.  The feedback received to date is that management is waiting for the finalization of ACS-SP before they commit to generic jobs.

The Committee did not issue the bulleting concerning our position on the use of generic jobs as more discussion was needed on this issue.  We agreed that our bulletin would indicate that we generally agree to generic job descriptions at this time only for certain term positions where combining jobs would create permanent positions.  For greater certainty, we would need to review all draft generic job descriptions before giving final agreement.

The Committee also reviewed the Agency document “Update on Manager’s Toolkit” and noted that no real action has been taken to date concerning this issue.  Shane will contact the Agency to request a meeting.

5. Changes to the PQP Process

Betty Bannon and Linda Cassidy attended a meeting with the CRA in November 2005 wherein potential changes to the PQP process were discussed.  A follow-up meeting was held on March 2, 2006.  On March 28, 2006, the Agency issued a Memorandum to the field outlining the following changes.  This memorandum was provided to UTE by the CRA on April 10, 2006.

  • The retest period is reduced from one year to six months for Targeted Behavioural Interviews (TBI’s), Portfolio of Competencies (POC’s), the Competency Based Organizational Questionnaire and the Competency Based Behavioural Questionnaire. 

  • The use of TBI’s to assess competencies will be encouraged, except when employees specifically request that POC’s be used. 

  • Employees may now request voluntary assessment of competencies outside of selection processes. 

  • An additional number of competency consultants will be hired for a one-year period. 

  • A framework and tools have been developed and are now available to create perpetual pools.  These tools will be implemented gradually on a regional/local level. 

  • Tools are being developed to assist employees in preparing for competency assessments. 

  • Training material is being developed to assist managers in providing Individual Feedback. 

  • A review of job competency profiles will be undertaken to ensure that the appropriate competencies are properly contained in the profiles.

The Committee also discussed the fact that complaints are being received from members and locals about individual competency consultants.  Alain and Madonna will contact all Locals seeking specific examples of problems encountered and will report back to the Committee.

6. Performance Management System

Shane conducted a review of the grievances in our current inventory in order to determine if there were any grievances against appraisals where quotas and/or competencies were being assessed.  Shane has also discussed with the PSAC the possibility of taking a test case to adjudication.  At this time, however, there is no persuasive case which could be identified to take forward.  Shane will continue to monitor the situation.  Furthermore, a bulletin will be issued to all locals outlining our position and suggesting grievance wording.  The bulletin will also suggest that members be vigilant for quotas or competencies being established for measurement when the duties, goals and expectations are set.

7. Access to Personnel Files

Further to our last meeting, this matter was again raised with the Agency, but again, no action has been taken to date.  Shane will follow up on this matter once more.

8. Revenue Collections Integrated Enforcement Teams

Alain will contact the Calgary, Sudbury, Trois-Rivieres and Halifax locals seeking an update concerning the pilot projects in these areas.  Shane will also ask the employer for a further meeting concerning these pilots.

9. Performance Assessment Scales

On February 10, 2006, while at an unrelated meeting, the CRA raised this matter with Linda.  Linda again vocalized our concerns with the expanded scales, and again requested a formal meeting on this subject.  To date, as well, the employer has not provided us with a copy of the regional reports and national summary.  Shane will follow up with the employer for these reports and a meeting.

10. Audit Harmonization Ranges

Further to our last meeting, Linda and Shane met with employer representatives of Audit on January 23, 2006.  During this meeting, additional information was requested from the employer for which they had to check with their field offices.  This information was provided to us on March 24, 2006.  A further meeting will be requested with the employer as the new information raises additional questions.

11. Student Hiring

Subsequent to our last meeting with the Agency on this initiative, the Agency agreed that its Directive on Student Hiring needed to be revised and were amenable to consultation with the Committee concerning this subject.  To date, we have heard nothing further.  Shane will follow up with the Agency on this matter.

12. Revenue Collections 2010

The CRA had previously agreed to quarterly meetings with our Committee concerning this issue.  To date, the next quarterly meeting has not been scheduled.  Shane will follow up with the Agency on this matter.

In addition, the Agency also committed to reviewing the pilot projects with respect to National and Regional Intake Centres and to making a final determination by the end of the last fiscal year.  Once again, no information has been communicated by the Agency and therefore, Shane will also follow up on this matter.

13. Internal Audit on Staffing

The Internal Audit on Staffing has not yet been completed and thus, we have not been provided with any additional information.  Shane will ask the Agency to provide an estimated timeframe for the completion of this audit.

14. Office Audit Job Description

Further to our last meeting, Madonna contacted the Tax Centre Local Presidents to obtain additional information concerning the process of combining job descriptions for the programs under the Office Audit Section.  Only Shawinigan and St. John’s Tax Centre (TC) Locals responded advising that no actions were taking place in those offices concerning this initiative.  No other TC Locals responded.  Madonna will reissue her email to all TC Locals, with copies to all Regional Vice-Presidents, asking the RVP’s to follow up with the Locals who did not respond.  We will also contact the employer to obtain further information concerning this initiative.

15. Annex C (Area of Selection) – CRA Staffing Program

The Committee reviewed the revised Annex C which was sent to us by the Agency for our comments.  Shane will respond with the following observations:

  • What is meant by the reference to “la relève” in point 5? 

  • In point 9.5, how will the term “live near an area of selection” be interpreted and defined?  This should also be reflected in the Directive on Preferred Status.  Furthermore, there is no need to discuss “placement priority” as this entitlement (or lack of entitlement) should be addressed in the Directive on Preferred Status. 

  • The headings “Internal staffing” and “External recruitment” should be deleted as the points that follow 9.2 may be misinterpreted as being applicable to external staffing only. 

  • In point 9.6, we submit that if an applicant with preferred status would normally be entitled to relocation costs as a result of a placement or appointment, then those costs should remain eligible for reimbursement. 

  • We also disagree with limiting the area of selection at the placement stage as indicated in point 3.

Our response will conclude by stating that our lack of commentary on other portions of the Directive does not constitute or imply agreement.

16. Aboriginal Tax Officer Apprenticeship Program

The Committee reviewed the above noted program that was provided to us for review and comments by the Agency.  The Committee noted the following observations and/or concerns:

  • While the policy states that this program can be used by Tax Services Offices, Call Centres and Technology Centres, it appears that it will be used primarily in TSO’s.  Also noteworthy is the fact that Headquarters is excluded from using this program, as well as Tax Centres.

  • The program is also targeted solely at the PM01 and PM02 occupational groups and ignores the gaps in all other occupational group.

  • Using the words “especially for Aboriginal peoples” and singling this equity group out may be view as being offensive to other equity groups or even the Aboriginal peoples themselves.

  • Recruitment under this program should be linked to under-representation and equity targets.

  • The last statement in the “Introduction” area is also untrue as the program does not necessarily facilitate the achievement of the Supporting Employment Equity and Diversity competency.

  • Rather than allowing local offices to dictate the duration of the program, a national standard should be set.

  • The rotation through six month assignments may not be enough time or experience for a candidate to meet the qualifications of the job or for the employer to determine if a candidate is satisfactorily performing the duties of the position.

  • In the “Infrastructure” area, it is an unreasonable expectation to state that “the host office will ensure that all employees have participated in Aboriginal Awareness training…”.

  • Under 3.1.2, it is unreasonable for a Director to guarantee appointments when there are possibilities of budget freezes, workforce adjustment situations, reorganizations and other such matters.  Such guarantees grant greater rights for external recruits than for employees covered by the Collective Agreement.

  • Under 3.1.4, if employees are to be “peer-coaches”, this requirement must be included in all job descriptions.

  • How did the author arrive at the conclusion that these items are considered best practices in area 3.2?

  • In part 4, what is meant by “the annual intake of PM-01 Tax Officers?

  • Also, it may not be possible, as suggested in part 4, to hire aboriginal peoples in groups, especially in smaller offices.

  • In section 5.2, it states that apprentices must have completed the accounting courses prior to commencing their final placement in Verification and Enforcement (V&E).  Does this mean that they can choose V&E in their other rotations without having their accounting courses?

  • Section 5.3 and 6.3 are inconsistent as 5.3 requires graduation from a recognized university or college and 6.3 requires that they “have or will receive”…

  • Section 5.3 also states that graduation from any field is acceptable, but the paragraph above requires completion of Introductory and Intermediate Accounting prior to commencing the final 6-month placement in Verification and Enforcement.

  • In Section 6.2 and 9.1, the Agency’s Recourse model is not conducive to the Aboriginal culture.  Studies of the Aboriginal culture show that aboriginal peoples will not utilize the Agency’s recourse and usually exercise any type of recourse/redress through a representative.

  • The last paragraph under 6.4 is unreasonable and illogical in light of the fact that graduation from a university or college is required.

  • In Section 6.1, the policy states that “aboriginal awareness training is also recommended” for selection board members.  This is inconsistent with section 3, where it requires all employees to have participated in awareness training.

  • What is the rationale for the learning structure and content being subject to change due to operational requirements?

  • In section 9, what is meant by “a representative assessment team” and what standards of assessment will be used?

  • In section 12.1.1, what is the position number for the “generic PM01 Tax Officer position”?  We would also appreciate receiving a copy of the job description for this position.

  • In section 12.3.3, it should also be noted that employees also have the right to grieve their release on probation (see Lundin v. CRA).

  • On pages 15 and 17, under Conditions of Employment, the sentence following “Willingness to Travel” should be deleted as this may constitute a systemic barrier.

17. PIPSC National Staffing Committee Presentation

PIPSC sent a presentation to the CRA with respect to their proposed changes to the Staffing Program.  As a result, the CRA scheduled a meeting subsequently with PIPSC and later with UTE to discuss the PIPSC presentation.  PIPSC had agreed to allow the CRA to share their presentation with us for our comments.  Linda and Betty attended a meeting with the CRA on March 3, 2006 and discussed with the Agency those areas where we agreed and those areas where we disagreed with the PIPSC position.  As this information was developed by PIPSC, we are unable to distribute it.

18. Observe and Attest

To date, the Agency has not relented in its position that employees cannot grieve matters related to Observe and Attest.  Shane will issue a bulletin outlining our position that these matters can and should be grieved.

19. Information from Locals

From time to time, the Staffing Committee, in order to deal with issues referred to us, contacts locals in order to obtain and/or validate information.  In two recent cases, critical information was requested from locals.  In the first case, only 24 of 53 locals responded and in the second case, only 2 of 9 locals responded.  If the Committee is going to be able to deal effectively with matters on a timely basis, greater cooperation from the locals will be necessary.  The Committee also agreed that Madonna and Alain would contact all Locals requesting that each local appoint a staffing liaison.

20. Follow-ups with CRA

On April 11, 2006, the Committee met with a representative from the Agency’s Headquarters Staff Relations in order to identify those areas where follow-up meetings are required or additional information needs to be provided.  The representative agreed to provide the requested information and to contact the other CRA representatives to schedule the necessary meetings.