Equal Opportunities Committee

Minutes of the Equal Opportunities (EO) Committee

September 8, 2002

In attendance:

Linda Cassidy (chairperson)
Terry Dupuis
Darlene Bembridge
Michel Cimon
Gerard Ennis
Lan Cheu Lee
Chantale Theriault
Ken Long
Lina Ruel

Previous minutes – June 2, 2002

The minutes were adopted as presented.

Review of the resolutions adopted at Convention pertaining to Equal Opportunities

Some of the resolutions adopted at Convention give directions to our committee to carry out very specific activities. Preliminary discussions on these resolutions can be summarized as follows:

  • Regional and National Equal Opportunities Conferences (418)
    These conferences are now entrenched in our By-law. This is a great victory for equal opportunities activists as it provides an assurance that conferences will be held on a regular basis in a three year cycle.
    The committee prepared a proposal for the combination of regions and locations. A decision will be made once we have determined an approximate cost. At the next meeting, the committee will decide on the dates and the agenda.
  • Training module on equity issues (321)
    The resolution asks for a training module for stewards and executive officers. Following a long discussion, it was agreed that we would look at preparing a three hour module and the objectives would be to sensitize our activists to diversity / equity issues and to give them the tools to better represent and involve members from diverse background.
    Members of the committee are to reflect on ideas for the module and should contact their network to inquire as to what are their needs and expectations for the module. Public Service International (PSI) has a training module entitled “Unions and Diversity”. We will review the document to see if it can be modified to our needs. We will also contact PSI to ensure that their document is available for public use and distribution.
  • Joint Employment Equity / Diversity Training (322)
    This resolution is asking the Employer to provide mandatory training on Employment Equity and to have the Union help develop the training. We have no control over the training program in CCRA. We will however write a letter to the Employer informing them that the lack of training in EE was discussed at our Convention and that a resolution was adopted to this effect. We will reiterate our position that EE training should be provided to all local EE / diversity committee members. A copy of the letter will be sent to Executive Council and to the locals.
  • CCRA Accountability in Employment Equity (323)
    The intent of the resolution is to make the Employer accountable for providing the Employment Equity goals and objectives by the end of December to the local EE committee members.
    We will ask the Regional vice-presidents to ask the Assistant Commissioners and the Directors to make this information available to the committees. We are aware that the regional EE Plans are available on the info zone (not always on a timely fashion) but the intent of this resolution is to be informed of the EE goals and objectives on a local basis.
    We will also reinforce the need to include in the Performance Agreement of AC and Managers an obligation to make this information available by the end of December.
  • Employment Equity Plans (324)
    This resolution is asking the union to acquire from the Employer the EE Plans at least three months prior to their effective dates and to develop a strategy to ensure the Employer institute its EE staffing objectives on a timely basis.
    As EE plans are prepared on a regional basis and in some locations, on a local basis, we will ask Regional Vice-presidents and Local presidents to request their respective plans at least three months in advance. As for the strategy, we will address this issue after the Employment Equity Summit (CCRA)
  • EE Act- interpretation of section 15
    We will ask the PSAC to write to the Canadian Human Rights Commission requesting an interpretation of section 15 of the EE Act. This section deals with “consultation with employee representatives”. We are looking for a clarification as to what level consultation is to take place. It is our position that consultation should take place at all levels since Employment Equity plans are prepared at the local and regional levels and the national level oversees the overall operation of the Program. (see letter attached).

UTE Standing Committees

A resolution was adopted extending the term of office UTE Standing committee members from one year to two years. This applies to the committee members elected at the September Presidents’ conferences.

The Terms of reference for our committee do not refer to the terms of office for members representing equity seeking groups. The chairperson will inquire as to what procedure we would have to follow to select our committee members for a term of two years.

Employment Equity Program – Compliance Audit

The CHRC has started the compliance audit of CCRA Employment Equity Program. The first step in the audit process is a questionnaire addressing each legislated requirement. CCRA has submitted their answers along with the supporting documentation. An electronic copy of this document was provided to the committee members, the Executive Council and the Local presidents.

We will ask the CHRC for an approximate time as to when the union will be consulted. It is very important that we are part of the audit process (consultation) at the local, regional and national levels.

CCRA Employment Equity Summit

Linda, Terry and Lina will be attending the CCRA Employment Equity Summit on September 17-19. The theme for the summit is “Toward the Future, Building on our Successes”. The agenda includes a presentation on the CHRC Audit of CCRA Employment Equity Program, workshops on the HR Regime with focus on EE as placement criteria, panel discussions on Diversity in the workplace and a presentation on the upcoming self-identification survey (workforce analysis).

Self-identification Survey

The need to conduct a new self-identification survey (workforce profile) was identified. The data on the internal workforce is no longer reliable as the return rate of self-identification survey forms from new employees is very low. In a conference call, we were informed that CCRA will put in place a national electronic survey process for self-identification. It will include a pre-programmed automatic reminder in the intranet system to new employees. Correctional Services of Canada have a model for the electronic survey and will share their experience with CCRA.

UTE supports this initiative and will inform the presidents at the upcoming Presidents’ conference.

“Just Ask Me” workshop

This workshop deals with the Employer’s duty to accommodate persons who have special needs. Twenty seven (27) participants received the train the trainer session. This workshop is now available in all the regions except Quebec . The French training will be given in the fall.

Regional Employment Equity Action Plans (2002-2003)

Linda will follow up with the Regional Vice-presidents who did not submit the regional EE plan on to our committee.

PSAC Access Conference

Ken Long from our committee attended the above-mentioned conference and gave a brief report to the committee. He found the conference very educational and a very good networking experience. Issues such as the effects of contracting out and globalization on persons with disabilities and the proposed new Ontario Disability Act were discussed.

PSAC National Women Conference

Approximately 24 UTE members will be attending. There will be a UTE caucus on the Saturday (September 14) at 5:30 PM .

PSAC Unity Conference

Two members from our committee will be attending the conference in Winnipeg . They will report at our next meeting.

National Action Committee on the Status of Women

NAC has been fighting for women’s rights for decades. Over the years, the federal government has drastically their funding formula and NAC now has to do some fundraising. The Canadian Labour Congress is passing on the message on their behalf.

Unfortunately, UTE has no money left in the “donation” account and will not be able to make a gift. The women representative on our committee will pass on the message to her network.

Input Call for Members of the UTE Equal Opportunities Committee

The input call will sent out in early October with a deadline of November 15th.

Next meeting

The chairperson will advise the members of the dates for the next meeting.