Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Staffing Committee Meeting

January 25-26, 2017

In attendance:
K. Bye
D. Camara
H. Bolduc
J. MacPherson
S. O’Brien

1. Terms of Reference of Committee

Further to our last meeting, Terms of Reference were developed and approved by Executive Council at its December 2015 meeting.

2. Methods of Operation of the Committee

This is a standing item on the agenda to remind Committee members that we may only officially deal with items referred to us from Convention, Executive Council or the National President.

3. Work Descriptions and Job Competency Profiles

The Committee continues to receive draft work descriptions and job competency profiles for our review.  As UTE has now returned to consultation with the employer at this time, comments and proposed revisions are now being regularly provided to the employer.

4. Specified Period Employees

Although this item remains as a standing item on our agenda and the Committee continues to meet as required with the CRA on matters related to specified period employees, there is nothing to report at this time. In light of the employer’s Service Renewal initiative, however, the Committee recognizes that many specified period employees may be adversely affected and thus, further discussions within UTE and with the employer will be held to in order to attempt to ameliorate this matter.

5. Pre-populated Performance Expectations

The CRA continues to send draft copies of pre-populated performance expectations for our review and comments.  As UTE has now returned to consultation at this time, we are now again providing comments and suggestions to the CRA.

While there is no specific checklist for issues that we need to review, we should ensure that there are no quotas, that the expectations are as objective as possible, that the expectations are significantly related to the position, that the expectations relate to the assigned tasks and that the expectations are reasonable and clearly enunciated.  Committee members should ensure that they are well versed and consult with incumbents of the positions should it be necessary.

6. Staffing Policy Simplification and Blueprint 2020

As UTE has now returned to consultation with the employer, the Committee will now again advance issues with the employer concerning its Staffing Program.

Since our last meeting, the employer has also revised its Workplace Management Policy which includes Discrimination & Harassment, Duty to Accommodate, Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code, Discipline, Recourse for Labour Relations, Grievance Procedure, Complaints and Third Party Procedures, Telework, Employee Assistance Program, Conflict Resolution, Exclusions, Termination/Demotion Guidelines, Union Management Consultation Guidelines & Occupational Safety and Health.

7. Staffing Projects and Activities (SPA)

Shane provided the Committee with an update of the items being discussed in these SPA meeting since our last Staffing Committee meeting. Topics included the Integrated Staffing System, Recourse for Change in Tenure, Review of Staffing Procedures, CRA Recruitment Strategy, Veteran’s Hiring Act, Student Hiring, Unsupervised Internet Testing, AU Development Program, and PSTAR Classification Review.

8. Human Resources (HR) To Go Shops

Further to our last meeting, Shane advised that a follow up with Locals through their RVPs was conducted. Little additional information was obtained on this matter, and while it appears that some of our members may be performing Human Resource functions outside of their work descriptions, these members are unwilling to file grievances and UTE is unable to file a Policy Grievance on this matter. Notwithstanding this, we have advocated UTE’s position to the employer that we adamantly oppose the use of these HR To Go Shops.  As no further action can be taken at this time, this item will now be removed from our agenda.

9. Y Splitters

A pilot project concerning the use of Y Splitters started in September 2014 in Saint John, N.B. UTE initially opposed this initiative and also advocated that this listening initiative should not be used for performance management, discipline or competency reviews.  The CRA stated that employees and Team Leaders were asking that Team Leaders be able to listen in on phone calls to identify coaching and learning needs.  The CRA agreed to issue a voluntary survey to participants to gauge the results of the pilot.  Survey results revealed that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of this initiative. As a result, the Committee has agreed that no further action is required at this time and this item will be removed from our agenda.

10. Long-term Acting Appointments

The issues of long-term acting appointments and the extension of pools beyond three years appear to still be issues in some Locals. UTE has been vigilant in this matter and we have achieved some success in having the employer address the matter by issuing direction to the field and by instituting a monitoring program to continuously review the matter. Where Locals still encounter problems, the matter should be raised with local management and escalated to the regional level through the RVPs should the issues remain unresolved. Similarly, issues unresolved at the regional level should be brought to the attention of the National Office. Moreover, members adversely affected by the use of long-term acting appointments should consider filing grievances where the circumstances warrant it.

11. Student Hiring

This item was referred to the Committee by the National President as a result of discussions at several Presidents Conferences. During these conferences, a number of participants raised concerns about alleged abuses of the student hiring process and spoke of significant increases in student hiring. Shane advised that he issued a communiqué to Locals seeking statistical and other information about student hiring each Local. Based on the information received, there did not appear to be any real evidence of any significant increase.

Shane also raised the matter at the Headquarters level of the CRA who also confirmed that there had been no significant increase over the last several years. The employer did concede, however, that the current government has made a commitment to the hiring of more students and the former CRA Commissioner has reinforced the commitment. Notwithstanding this, there was no real significant increase to date. The employer also advised that the projections for next fiscal period have not been finalized yet, but they will share this information as soon as it becomes available.

One Local President stated that a reliable source had advised that there would be a massive number of students hired and bridged in one Region. Shane has also raised this at the Headquarters level and the employer responded that they were not aware of any such undertaking.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will await the projections in March.

12. Meeting with Representatives of CRA's Collections and Verification Branch (CVB)

The Committee prepared for a meeting with senior management with CVB that was scheduled for the afternoon of January 26, 2017. Agenda topics included:

  • Service Renewal (CRA Item)
  • Debt Management Compliance Split into Individual Compliance and Business Compliance (CRA Item)
  • Quality Assurance Framework Modernization (CRA Item)
  • Budget 2016 (CRA Item)
  • Use of Hiring Expos (UTE Item)
  • Student Employment (UTE Item).