National Union-Management Committee (NUMC)

Minutes of the National Union-Management Consultation Committee (NUMCC)

December 10, 2009

 BETWEEN THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES (UTE) AND THE CANADA REVENUE AGENCY (CRA)

opening remarks

Betty Bannon, National President, Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) chaired the meeting and began by welcoming everyone, and in particular, the Commissioner and other senior management new to the National Union-Management Consultation Committee (NUMCC). She mentioned that the NUMCC meetings were scheduled and planned well in advance, allowing for the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioners to be present. The National President was pleased that the Commissioner was able to attend the meeting, as the NUMCC forum was an integral part of the Union-Management foundation.

The National President went on to state that the agenda was uncharacteristically short; however, that was due in large part by the good work conducted in-between meetings by Union and Management representatives. UTE emphasized that the NUMCC agenda consisted of issues that were normally national in nature and had been addressed through the appropriate channels.

The National President then drew attention to the fact that, historically, UTE has a solid working relationship with the CRA and has a reputation for being trustworthy. She also stressed the importance of collective bargaining, particularly given the CRA’s Separate Employer status. That being said, the National President was looking forward to meeting with the Commissioner on December 16, 2009.

Mrs. Lizotte-MacPherson, Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), also welcomed everyone to the meeting. The Commissioner took the opportunity to recognize the good work conducted by Mr. Bill Baker, during his term as Commissioner of the CRA. He believed in the importance of good Union-Management relations and was committed to the consultation process by encouraging both parties to keep the lines of communication open.

As this was her first NUMCC meeting with UTE, the Commissioner confirmed her personal commitment to Union-Management consultation and to the CRA’s longstanding tradition of maintaining a solid working relationship with the Union. The Commissioner would continue to attend the NUMCC meetings with all the Assistant Commissioners to take stock of the progress made in-between NUMCC meetings. She also believed that ongoing communication, at the lowest possible level, was essential to ensure a healthy and productive workplace.

The Commissioner then stated that since June 2009, 35 ad hoc meetings had taken place on issues such as Employment Equity, Migration to End-State PQP, Employee Assistance Program, Hours of Service, and the CRA Service Strategy.

Lastly, the Commissioner was proud to report that CRA employees from the National Capital Region alone had raised a total of $1,326,362 as part of the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC).  She acknowledged and recognized UTE’s valuable support by encouraging its members to get involved in the Campaign. She also thanked the National President for her attendance each year at the Ottawa GCWCC Launch, as well as being an advocate of this initiative.

AGENCY PRIORITIES

Management provided the Union with an update on the implementation of the CRA Service Strategy which was launched in June 2009, as well as the status of service standards.

Management stated that the Agency had developed an approach for measuring progress in implementing the Strategy through three identified service objectives. The Standards for Service objective was measured using a blend of 16 internal and external standards. Data from 2008-2009 which showed that the CRA exceeded in 15 of the 16 standards was used to establish the baseline.

The second objective to be met included the uptake of self-service initiatives such as telephone or electronic filing. In 2008-2009, 61% of interactions and transactions undertaken by taxpayers used self-service options. As for the third objective, Management stated that taxpayer satisfaction was measured by feedback received from the CRA Annual Corporate Survey. In 2008-2009, there was an overall 62% satisfaction rate among taxpayers that contacted the CRA within the past year to obtain or receive service. Further to the Union’s request, Management would provide UTE with a list of the current self-service initiatives.

Management also clarified that 56% to 58% of files were filed electronically. 

Management went on to mention that the performance measurement standard objectives would be populated this year, and a progress report of the results would be prepared in 2010-2011.

Management took the opportunity to thank UTE for its comments on the Strategy and stated that it would be pleased to meet with the Union to provide information on any further developments as the Agency moved forward with implementation.

UNION-MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE

Management stated that the National Union-Management Initiative (UMI) Steering Committee (SC) had established a working group composed of a subset of committee members and employees from the National Conflict Resolution Office (NCRO) to look at the question of UMI sustainability. The recommendations presented by the Working Group, and supported by the Steering Committee, included the continuation of UMI training, taking the UMI pulse via the Regional Steering Committees, and developing communiqués to the field that clearly articulated the importance of resolving local and regional issues, at the lowest possible level.

Management further stated that since both the CRA and UTE had invested a great deal of good work and resources into UMI, it was important to continue to move forward with this initiative. The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch expressed an interest in attending a UMI training session given that she was new to the CRA. The Commissioner was fully supportive of the initiative that encouraged good Union-Management relations. 

The Union drew attention to the fact that while the UMI philosophy had been adopted across the country, there were still a few areas that needed some additional support in understanding that this approach was for everyone’s benefit.  

The National President appreciated senior management’s support and recommended that the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and any other new Assistant Commissioner be scheduled for a UMI training session with UTE national representatives. Management agreed to look into scheduling a session in the new year.

COMPENSATION SERVICES

Management was pleased to note that, since June 2009, significant improvements continued to be made regarding workload management and the level of service provided to clients. Furthermore, Management also noted that the established communication protocol involving the UTE Regional Vice-Presidents was functioning well, and the lines of communication between the Union and Management were effective. Management would continue to monitor compensation services.

The Union stated that Management was scheduled to meet with UTE on December 16, 2009, to provide an update on the compensation statistics. UTE also noted that while a statistical analysis was important, it was also necessary to analyse the nature of the complaints from employees.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Management was pleased to note the success of the last round of collective bargaining with UTE and was hopeful that both parties would be able to establish the same expeditious and cooperative process for future bargaining sessions.

Management went on to state that the fall meeting to discuss the collective bargaining process with UTE was postponed due to various unforeseen circumstances such as the appointment of a new negotiator. That being said, the CRA Negotiator had already made contact with the National President and a meeting would take place in the new year.

The Union was encouraged by the Agency’s commitment to the collective bargaining process and looked forward to the meeting.

On another note, the CRA, UTE and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) had met regarding the PSAC’s concerns regarding the inclusion of the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) program in the Essential Services Agreement. However, an impasse had been reached and the CRA would endeavour to obtain the inclusion of the GSTC program through a ruling from the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB). Management confirmed that a letter requesting a decision will be sent shortly to the PSLRB and a copy would be shared with UTE.

MIGRATION TO END-STATE PQPs

Management stated that there were currently – 96 competency consultants on staff to handle the competency assessments during the Migration to End-State PQP. In addition, Union consultation on the End-State Project Plans would take place at the regional level and any unresolved issues would be raised at the national level. That being said, the Agency was on target to be ready for End-State PQP, by April 1, 2010.

Management further stated that as of October 1, 2009, 66 End-State PQPs had been completed; the time to staff a position, in at least 53% of the cases was less than 100 days, and in some instances the trend was between 60 to 80 days. In addition, approximately 75% of managers had received training for the additional competencies to be assessed through Observe and Attest (O&A), and, throughout the Agency, there were around 80 to 90 ongoing and planned End-State PQPs leading up to April 1, 2010. Management was pleased to mention that many of the branches and regions had established a dedicated End-State PQP website, which included the posting of staffing plans, and had encouraged employees to use the voluntary assessment program. Furthermore, the Assistant Commissioners were working closely with their management teams to address issues as they arose.

UTE stated that it had appreciated the opportunity to participate on a number of working groups relating to Resource and Recourse initiatives; however, it would remain vigilant in its monitoring of the Migration to End-State PQPs. The Union went on to mention that Observe & Attest should not be mandatory, and asked that consideration be given to employees who were not interested in career advancement or were close to retirement. UTE further took the opportunity to reiterate its view that CRA employees should have been grandfathered when Observe & Attest was first introduced.

PHASED RETIREMENT

Management stated that there had not been any movement with respect to the issue of phased retirement.

Management and the Union would continue to monitor the status of the Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) regarding any potential changes to the legislation related to phased retirement.

CLOSING REMARKS

The National President thanked Management for providing the Executive Council with a presentation on Preventing Harassment, as well as a briefing on the Illness and Injury Tool. Both were well received.

The Commissioner and the UTE National President wished everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Original signed by     

Linda Lizotte-MacPherson
Commissioner
Canada Revenue Agency

Original signed by

Betty Bannon
National President
Union of Taxation Employees

February 22, 2010

February 12, 2010

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