National Union-Management Committee (NUMC)

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

December 4, 2003

BETWEEN THE UNION OF TAXATION EMPLOYEES AND THE CANADA CUSTOMS AND REVENUE AGENCY

OPENING REMARKS

Betty Bannon, National President, Union of Taxation Employees, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone. The National President turned the chair over to Management for opening remarks.

Mr. David Miller, Assistant Commissioner, Assessment and Collections Branch, and the Management Co-Chair, also welcomed the participants and noted that 30 union-management meetings had taken place on various matters such as the MOU working groups, national health and safety issues and the Employee Assistance Program. Management would continue to build upon the strengths of union-management relations and looked forward to participating in the forthcoming discussions.

The National President agreed that good discussions had taken place during the past six months. However, the Union expressed continued frustration that the Commissioner was not in attendance for these NUMC meetings. Miss Bannon stressed the importance of his attendance, in that it provided the Commissioner with an opportunity to hear first hand the Union’s concerns and proposed solutions to workplace issues.

Mr. Dan Tucker, Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch, acknowledged the Union’s preference to have the Commissioner attend the NUMC meetings. However, while he fully appreciated the Union’s position, the size of the organization and the ever-increasing number of Agency initiatives and activities placed incredible demands on the Commissioner’s time. That being said, the Management representatives at the NUMCs are the key functional Assistant Commissioners who are best able to address the concerns of the respective union memberships. Management stated that this process had been in place for over two years and believed it had been working well. Furthermore, the Commissioner had met with the UTE President in July to discuss issues of concern and was willing to meet again as appropriate.

The National President expressed appreciation for the role that David Miller played not only as the NUMC co-chair but also at numerous other forums, and wished him good health and prosperity in his upcoming retirement.

On another note, the National President commented on the length of time it had taken to finalize the June minutes and thereby recommended that the draft Union-Management Consultation Agreement include specific timelines for the completion of the minutes. Management agreed to take it under advisement and suggested that the matter be discussed at the union-management consultation agreement follow-up meeting.

ACCESSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTS IN MULTIPLE FORMATS

The Committee was advised that the Union had been provided with a written response concerning its feedback on the draft communication approach for the accessibility of documents in multiple formats. Furthermore, the Policy and Guidelines regarding the conversion of CCRA documents in multiple formats had been made available on Infozone.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – PACE OF NEGOTIATIONS

Prior to the start of negotiations, the Union had asked for a quicker, more efficient collective bargaining process. In particular, the Union wanted all parties to remain at the negotiating table until a tentative agreement was reached. The Union stressed that although the progress to date had been slow, expectations for the January 2004 round of negotiations were high. Management was reminded that in order to make progress in the new year, the Union needed data on the salary bands for ACS, as well as the Agency’s response to the Union’s monetary package. The Union stated that without this information, discussions would reach an impasse. Furthermore, it was essential that the CCRA negotiating team have true decision making powers to ensure more meaningful and efficient discussions.

Management stated that the CCRA negotiator had been provided with a mandate to negotiate and that, like the Union, the Agency would like to conclude an agreement within a reasonable timeframe.

AGENCY CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS (ACS)

The Union expressed concern over the postponement of the ACS working group meeting scheduled for October. Equally important were the results of the qualitative review that had yet to be provided to the working group, for consultation. UTE went on to add that should the Union not be provided the opportunity to consult on the findings, it would have a definite impact on the next round of negotiations scheduled in January.

The Committee was informed that there were a number of issues that concerned the CCRA. As indicated to the National President during a November meeting on the status of the ACS-SP initiative, Management expressed concern with the following

  • the letter received from the Public Service Alliance of Canada stating that the Standard did not meet the Equal Wages Guidelines of 1986;

  • PSAC’s pay equity complaint against the ACS-MG Standard; and to

  • review the final gender neutrality report, which would be shared with the Unions in the near future.

Management took the opportunity to commend the union-management working group for the excellent work conducted to date on the ACS-SP initiative.

LEAVE WITH PAY FOR MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS

Management reiterated its agreement to meet to discuss the Union’s concerns regarding the matter of leave for recurring medical appointments for individuals with disabilities/terminal illness and asked UTE to provide a contact to begin discussions.

UTE agreed to do so, however, it went on to mention that although a meeting would take place to discuss this issue, the Union would continue to raise this item at the bargaining table, as it’s goal was to have the leave with pay for reoccurring medical appointments incorporated into the collective agreement.

UNION-MANAGEMENT CONSULTATION AGREEMENT

The National President proposed a follow-up meeting to discuss the revisions proposed by the Agency on the Union-Management Consultation Agreement. The Union would like further discussion on such issues as the attendance of the Commissioner and Regional Assistant Commissioners at the NUMC’s, and on Union preparation time.

The Union appreciated the efforts made on this item and believed that a mutually acceptable agreement could be reached before long. Management agreed to meet with the Union and would endeavour to finalize the Union-Management Consultation Agreement, as soon as possible.

ATLANTIC UNION-MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE (FORMERLY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – STATUS OF MOUS)

The Union expressed concerns over the delay in moving the MOUs forward, including the possibility of AMC or BOM putting a stop to the working group recommendations.

The Committee was informed that, following the AUMI Working Group Report presentation at the September 24th, Multi-Lateral National Union-Management Committee meeting, Management was preparing to go forward with the Working Group recommendations, to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) or the Board of Management (BOM), for consultation as appropriate. At the same time, Management was also ensuring that other stakeholders/unions were consulted on this initiative. A great deal of good work had been done on the initiative and Management committed to keeping the Union informed of the progress.

TERM EMPLOYMENT (FORMERLY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – STATUS OF MOUS)

The Committee was advised that before Management could move forward on this initiative, PIPSC would need to be consulted, as their members would be affected by any future decisions. The Union clarified that it did not want to duplicate Treasury Board Secretariat’s Policy, but rather work with Management in developing a CCRA policy for the rollover of terms.

BENEFITS RE LONG TERM ILLNESS (FORMERLY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – STATUS OF MOUS)

The Committee was reminded that the working group recommendations for this initiative focused on improving the current process. Coincidently, a review process had been undertaken as part of the Compensation Service Delivery Review Project (CSDRP), which resulted in the two-phase introduction in 2004, of Employee Self-Service and Manager Self-Service. These two initiatives would greatly contribute to improving the current process. Furthermore, the working group recommendations involved changes to CAS that would allow for the tracking and flagging of absences. Management stated that the CAS flagging function had been requested, however the earliest this could be addressed was in the 2004 fiscal year.

MOBILITY/BILINGUALISM BONUS POLICIES REVIEW COMMITTEE (FORMERLY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – STATUS OF MOUS)

The Committee was advised that the parties had signed off on the Terms of Reference and the Union-Management Committee was now in a position to meet, on an ad hoc basis, whenever changes to the CCRA Mobility and Bilingualism Bonus Policies, were contemplated or proposed.

PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH GRIEVANCES ON CCRA POLICIES (MOBILITY, OSH, AND BILINGUALISM BONUS POLICIES) (FORMERLY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – STATUS OF MOUS)

The Committee was informed that the working group developed procedures to support the redress process for the handling of grievances concerning the CCRA policies that replaced the former NJC directives. The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Branch and Nycole Turmel, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada jointly signed the procedures.

ELECTRONIC BULLETIN BOARDS

The Union asked for an update on the Electronic Bulletin Board initiative. Management agreed to do so, in a separate forum, given that the matter was absent from the agenda.

PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS (FORMERLY ACCOUNTABILITY AGREEMENTS)

The Committee was provided with an update on the Performance Evaluation Guidelines. Further to a previous request by the Union, consideration had been given to shortening the document prior to the rollout. However, while the document was comprehensive, it served to integrate learning plans, performance goals and objectives, tasks performed, and competencies. As a result, the initial product would continue to be comprehensive followed by targeted job-aide products, which would facilitate implementation.

The next steps would include another round of consultations in a variety of TSOs and other stakeholders. Upon completion of the next round of consultations, which would include the Union, Management expected to pilot the Performance Evaluation Guidelines for further validation prior to implementation. The Union agreed to provide any additional comments to the Labour Relations Division.

ASSESSMENT OF THE AGENCY’S RECOURSE – SECTION 59, CCRA ACT

The Committee was informed that although some setbacks had been experienced in completing the draft Phase I Report, the delays did not interfere with the rest of the assessment.

Early in July, the consultants met with the Union to provide information on the process, as well as to listen to UTE’s concerns on recourse. The next steps involved site visits by the consultants during which time Union representatives were interviewed either in person or through telephone interviews. Due to time and resource limitations the consultants did not have the opportunity to meet with every Union representative at each location. However, in many instances, a Union Shop Steward did attend the focus group sessions.

The Phase I Report would be provided to the Union, once the final interviews were completed. This same approach would be used with the final report in 2004.

TAX PROTESTERS (DETAX)

The Committee was informed that a meeting between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the CCRA counsels had taken place and that the parties agreed to follow-up discussions. There had been remarkable success in dismantling a number of tax protester websites, while continuing to monitor the Internet and other sources to identify any threats made against any CCRA employees.

As the current senior management representative recently accepted another appointment, the Union had put forward a recommendation to continue with a single point of contact for tax protester issues. Management agreed and would advise the Union as to the new contact person, as soon as it was known.

The Union reiterated the importance of keeping current on tax protester issues, and ensuring that employees were kept informed.

PRE-QUALIFIED POOL PROCESS

The Union expressed its continued frustration with the Pre-Qualified Pool Process. UTE wanted to see employees assessed in their current job, allowing for the transfer of those competencies to move with the individual during the employee’s career with the Agency.

Management acknowledged UTE’s concerns with the process and reminded the Union that a memorandum had been sent out to HR Regional Directors, PQP Advisory Group, Managers, and Unions on changes to the PQP process. The memo highlighted some of the short-term improvements such as including employee-friendly assessment tools and the reduction of the number of competencies assessed during staffing. Equally important, were long-term improvements, such as looking at ways to involve managers in the assessment process.

Furthermore, Union-Management meetings had taken place to discuss the proposed approach to adjust the PQP Process, including competency implementation. At the same time, detailed information regarding the basic competency profiles and the transition strategy had been shared with the Union. Management was encouraged to hear that the Union accepted to be part of the working group that would concentrate on the implementation of the proposed changes and strategy. Management agreed to provide the Union with a list of the working group members.

INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIRECTORATE – INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATIONS

The Committee was advised that Management met with the Union in August to discuss concerns regarding the investigation process. In light of those discussions, Management agreed to review the established procedures related to the conduct of interviews to ensure that the procedures were being uniformly applied. They would also continuously monitor the process to ensure that the procedures were being respected.

The Union appreciated the opportunity to exchange information during the meeting, as well as the good discussion that followed on the investigation process.

ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM AND RENEWAL

The Committee was provided with the following update on the status of the Administrative Reform and Renewal plan.

  • The 3-year Administrative Reform and Renewal plan was in its final year.

  • Approximately 60 initiatives had been identified to improve service, reduce costs and modernize the CCRA’s policies and infrastructure.

  • Over 90% of the initiatives had been completed.

  • Work would continue on the placement of the remaining affected employees from Phase I of the Warehouse Rationalization project, with 58 out of 202 employees remaining in affected status.

  • Seven initiatives remained outstanding: Warehouse Rationalization Phase II; the Balanced Scorecard (Functional Requirements, Service Standards and Client Survey); Regional Organization Structure; Shared Services; and Competency Shortfalls.

The Union asked if a plan had been established for the remaining affected employees resulting from the Phase I Warehouse Rationalization project. In response, Management agreed to schedule a full Union briefing on Administrative Reform and Renewal, including an update on the remaining affected employees.

COMPENSATION SERVICE DELIVERY RENEWAL PROJECT (CSDRP)

The Committee was advised that the Agency would be moving forward with preparations for the implementation of the Employee and Manager Self-Service initiatives, as well as the simplification of the CCRA’s business relationship with PWGSC. Through a combination of improvements, Management intended to modernize compensation service delivery within the CCRA. Consequently, an Agency Update on the purpose of Compensation Service Delivery Renewal had recently been issued.

The Committee was advised that a decision had not yet been made on the number and location of Compensation Client Service Centres. However, the Union would be informed once a decision had been reached.

The Union pointed out that employees affected by the CSDRP should be protected under WFA. Furthermore, they requested that WFA committees be established locally, regionally and nationally. Management responded by stating that the collective agreement would be respected.

WORK FORCE ADJUSTMENT

UTE expressed continued dissatisfaction with the Agency’s application of the Workforce Adjustment Appendix. The Union appreciated that specific cases would not be discussed at the NUMC, however a number of unsuccessful attempts had been made at each level to resolve particular regional issues and that the Union would now be seeking outside intervention. In response, Management suggested that further discussions be held at the local and regional levels before doing so. The Union agreed to provide the Agency with another opportunity at the regional levels for resolution.

Management replied that as per established procedures, employees are notified of their affected status once all business decisions to implement changes have been made. It was evident by the cases brought to the Agency’s attention that Management needed to be diligent in communicating this message throughout the Agency. In light of these situations, the Union stressed the need to establish regional WFA committees.

HEALTH CANADA ASSESSMENTS

The Committee was informed that a meeting had taken place in June to further discuss concerns related to obtaining Health Canada assessments. The meeting provided an opportunity for good discussion, allowing for the issues to be addressed. If future cases could not be addressed regionally, issues could be brought to the attention of the Labour Relations Division for further discussion.

INDEMNIFICATION OF AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR CCRA EMPLOYEES

The Committee was advised that further to an earlier commitment, a reminder would be issued to the regions on the Indemnification of and Legal Assistance for CCRA Employees policy. Management would also take this opportunity to include in the memo, the Abuse, Threats, Stalking and Assaults Against Employees Policy.

PREFERRED STATUS DIRECTIVE

The Committee was informed that in July, a written response had been provided to the Union further to its comments on the draft Preferred Status Directive. Later the same month, the final version of the directive had been made available to UTE. Although the Union agreed to remove this item from the agenda, they were not in agreement with the contents of the final product.

CLOSING REMARKS

The Union reiterated the importance of meeting at the national level to ensure that items are fully discussed and that information continued to be shared with employees, Unions and Management.

Both Union and Management wished the participants a safe and happy holiday season.

Original signed by ____________
David Miller
Assistant Commissioner
Assessment and Collections Branch
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Original signed by ____________
Betty Bannon
National President
Union of Taxation Employees
Date: 19/03/04______________________ Date: 10/03/04 ____________________