Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Staffing Committee Meeting

April 18-20, 2005
In attendance: Kent MacDonald
Linda Cassidy
Madonna Gardiner
Shane O'Brien

Regrets: Normand Pelletier

1. Agency Classification Standard (ACS)

In March 2005, a resolution was adopted by the Executive Council for the Staffing Committee to examine “ways and means to force the CCRA to implement a proper classification system”. In April 2005, the Commissioner advised that the Agency is proceeding with ACS with a view to implementing it by March 2006. As a result, Brother MacDonald will speak with the mover of the resolution to determine if any further action is required by the Committee at this time.

2. Work Description Review

On behalf of the Committee, Linda Cassidy, is still receiving and reviewing draft work descriptions from the Agency. During Kent and Linda’s participation on the ACS-SP working group in 2002-2003, the employer decided to rewrite all job descriptions under a “Short Format Work Description” encompassing the four factors of Skills, Effort, Responsibility and Working Conditions as outlined in the Committee minutes of February 21-23, 2004. Shane and Kent attended a briefing session on March 3, 2005 wherein the Agency advised that they were continuing to proceed with the new short format. The Committee was scheduled to meet with the Agency on April 19, 2005 for a demonstration of this new format. The meeting was cancelled, however, due to the Commissioner’s recent decision to proceed with ACS-SP.

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

Further to our last meeting, Shane contacted the Agency requesting a meeting concerning the ongoing national work description process. The Agency has still not scheduled this meeting to date. We will once again insist on a meeting to bring closure to this issue.

4. Specified Period Employees

During the last round of bargaining, as a result of discussions that took place with the Agency outside the bargaining process, the former Commissioner, Alan Nymark on December 16, 2004 signed a document titled “Management Commitment Regarding Term Employees” (see attached). In this document, a series of Commitments were made.

With respect to Commitment 1, the Agency agreed to develop an action plan to deal with the recommendations which were mutually agreed upon during the Joint PSAC-CCRA Term Study Committee. Shane and Kent met with the Agency on March 2, 2005 during which the action plan was finalized and was to be signed off by March 14, 2005. We have yet to be advised if this action plan was signed off, but Kent and Shane will be attending a meeting on April 19, 2005 and will raise this issue.

With respect to Commitment 2, the employer has advised that they have now completed their analysis of seasonal indeterminate employment and will provide the results at the meeting of April 19, 2005.

No new information has been received concerning the use of generic jobs (Commitment 3), but the deadline for this analysis has been set for September 30, 2005.

With respect to Commitments 4, 5 and 6, the Agency has thus far failed to consult with us on these issues. At a meeting held on March 2, 2005, however, Kent and Shane were advised that 92 term employees had been made permanent throughout the country through various selection processes. As a result, Kent and Shane strongly objected to the lack of consultation and insisted that change of tenure through appointments without competition should be used where possible. Due to the failure to resolve this issue at the March 2, 2005 meeting, a further meeting was scheduled with the Assistant Commissioner, Dan Tucker on March 11, 2005. Pursuant to this meeting, the Agency agreed to revisit their position on this issue and a further meeting has been scheduled for April 19, 2005.

Kent, Betty and Shane attended a meeting with the CRA on April 19, 2005 to discuss the document signed by the former Commissioner with respect to the “Management Commitment Concerning Term Employees”. The Agency provided the final action plan concerning the recommendations that were received from the Joint PSAC-CCRA Term Study concerning which Kent and Shane had met with the Agency previously. This action plan will now be issued to the field by the Agency. The Staffing Committee will send this action plan to the Executive Council and Locals electronically and we will post it on the UTE website. Kent will also draft a bulletin to our members concerning recommendation #19 (Review of Long-Term Terms).

The Agency also, during the meeting of April 19, 2005, provided to Kent and Shane an analysis of seasonal employment throughout the Agency. Headquarters, in conducting this analysis, asked the functional authorities to provide the current number of seasonal indeterminate employees and to identify by Branch where seasonal employment is feasible. The only seasonal indeterminate employees identified were 34 at the Shawinigan Tax Centre and 17 at the Montreal Call Centre. We also asked the employer to provide us with confirmation as to whether these were seasonal full-time or seasonal part-time employees.

The Agency also identified where seasonal employment may or may not be feasible and asked for our feedback. In reviewing the Agency’s submission, the Committee decided additional information is required as to the specified periods of employment for employees in Business Returns and Payments Processing over the last 5 years, if this information is available.

The Committee also disagreed with the statement by the Revenue Collections Branch that it “does not have peak periods each year”. To the best of our knowledge, there appears to be large pockets of term hiring between October and March each fiscal year. Furthermore, the Committee feels that it is unreasonable for all Branches to complete their reviews by January 2006 as this time frame is excessive.

During the April 19, 2005 meeting, the Agency also provided a document summarizing the number of long-term term employees by region, a breakdown by region and by office of permanent appointments of term employees with and without a selection process and a list of those long-term term employees who were identified for consideration at the time of bargaining. The Agency also agreed to provide us with updated statistical information every quarter.

For greater certainty, the Agency would not agree to include any employees who had accumulated three years of continuous service after the list was prepared and would not agree to any further commitment. Instead, any employees not included on this list would be dealt with under the Management of Term Employment Policy and the Two Year Review Policy. The Agency also indicated that they would be issuing to the field the list of term employees who are to be considered.

The statistical data will be provided to Executive Council and all Locals. Locals will be asked to review the statistical information pertaining to their specific Local and to confirm the numbers indicated by contacting Brother MacDonald by email.

Further to recommendation #17 of the Joint Term Study Action Plan, Madonna will also send an email to all Tax Centre Local Presidents suggesting that these Locals put an agenda item on their next local union-management consultation meeting concerning the use of generic jobs for term employees.

5. Agency Staffing and Recourse

There is no further action required at this time. As a result, this item will be removed from our standing agenda.

6. PQP and Other Staffing Abuses

Further to our previous minutes, the Agency has still failed to substantively and significantly address the various abuses which the Committee raised. As a result, there is no further action to be taken at this time. We will, however, deal with issues on a case by case basis as matters are brought to our attention.

7. Assessment of CCRA Recourse

Deloitte and Touche issued their final report to the CRA which was distributed to the unions at a much later date. In our opinion, this report failed to deal substantively with the serious inadequacies of the Agency’s systems of recourse. No further action is required with respect to this issue.

8. Changes to the PQP Process

Further to our last minutes, the CRA has appointed a Competency Based Human Resources Management Advisory Committee (CBHRMAC) to oversee the competency based staffing regime, amongst other things. Two meetings have been held to date with this Advisory Committee to discuss the PQP process and other issues. As a result, there is no longer a need to meet with Bob Russell.

The new focus of the CBHRMAC is the Agency’s new Observe and Attest Initiative which is aimed at allowing managers and Team Leaders to observe employees’ performance and attesting that employees either meet or do not meet the threshold levels for Client Services Orientation (CSO), Effective Interactive Communication (EIC) and Teamwork and Cooperation (T&C). The Agency expects that most employees will be able to meet the levels required for their jobs. For those employees found not to demonstrate the required levels, the necessary support will be provided to assist them in their development. Members of the MG Group will be required to meet the threshold levels for Conflict Management, Team Leadership and Developing Others before they are trained and authorized to Observe and Attest the aforementioned (CS0,EIR,T&C) competencies for their employees. Those members of the MG Group who do not meet the threshold levels and are therefore not authorized to Observe and Attest will be assisted in their development.

The Staffing Committee recognizes that there are some benefits to this initiative for our members, but there are still a number of unresolved issues. The Committee will continue to discuss these concerns with the CBHRMAC.

Based on the information provided at our last meeting, training for managers and Team Leaders will commence in the fall of 2006.

9. Quotas – Article 58 of the Collective Agreement

Further to our last meeting, the Committee’s position with respect to the application of article 58 was explained to the Agency. Once again, however, the employer has failed to address and resolve our concerns.

One grievance challenging a performance evaluation in the context of article 58 was dismissed at the final level of the grievance procedure and the Alliance decided not to proceed to adjudication with respect to this grievance.

Kent will consult with the National President in order to determine if there are any similar grievances in our inventory which may be advanced to adjudication as a test case.

10. Performance Management System

In light of the fact that the National Office issued a bulletin on August 13, 2005 (Bulletin 16/04) advising that the PSAC would not proceed to adjudication with respect to cases of the application of article 58 in the context of the performance evaluation process, it was decided that Kent would not draft the bulletin referred to in our previous minutes. Kent will discuss this matter with the National President.

Also, further to our last meeting, Kent sent an email requesting that the Agency provide the locations for the PM02 Trust Accounts Examination Officer/Collections pilot. The Agency identified the pilot locations as Vancouver and Windsor.

The Committee also received the draft for the PM01 Collector positions in Revenue Collections and responded to the Agency, noting no significant concerns with the draft.

11. Access to Personnel Files

On March 29, 2004, the Committee raised with the Agency concerns surrounding the fact that personnel files are being reviewed during staffing processes by those who may not have a right to this access. Despite a follow-up on this matter, the Agency has still not responded. Shane will raise this with the Agency once again.

12. Equal Opportunities (EO) Conference Workshop

Linda Cassidy reported that the evaluations completed by the participants to the EO Conference revealed that the workshop prepared and delivered by the Staffing Committee was very well received.

13. FI Educational Standard

The Agency recently provided to the Committee the draft revised FI Educational Standard for review and feedback. Shane responded on behalf of the Committee that we did not believe that it was necessary to create an educational standard for this group that is higher than the rest of the public service. No response has been received from the Agency to our submission.

14. Revenue Collections Integrated Enforcement Teams

The Staffing Committee, in previous meetings with the Agency some time ago, was provided with information concerning this initiative. Sister Bannon attended a meeting with the Assistant Commissioner of Revenue Collections, Guy Proulx in early March wherein she was advised that Revenue Collections was moving forward with combining collections and compliance workloads under one Team Leader. She was advised that this was limited to Headquarters and would not affect the Tax Services Offices at this time. On March 16, 2005, however, the Halifax Local President advised the Committee by email that this initiative was being introduced as a pilot in Halifax, as well as Southern Ontario Region and other regions to be determined. The Committee requests that if any Locals or Regional Vice-Presidents become aware of this initiative being introduced in their Locals/Regions, they contact Kent MacDonald or Shane O’Brien with details.