Presented to the 100th Annual General Meeting
It has been a truly inspiring and exciting time for me as one of your Full-time Vice-Presidents at PIPSC, with many challenges and opportunities to serve you. I am honored that you gave me the opportunity to work on your behalf, and I continue to work hard for YOU!
In the report that follows, I have tried to capture the key highlights in my “state of the union address” with respect to those portfolios under my responsibility:
One Big Union
Scientific Integrity Implementation Committee
Science Advisory Committee
Women in Science
Federal Black Employee Caucus
Psychological Health Standard Implementation
Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) Coordination
CLC Women's Advisory Committee
More details on these issues can be found in my reports and briefing notes submitted to the Executive Committee, and Board of Directors or I invite you to contact me directly with your questions and or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org
As I write this, I am cognizant that by the time you read my report it will already be out of date as a new government will have been elected, and the Institute and our members will be dealing with a new reality. Having said that, many of the same challenges will persist for our members and the Canadian public.
Whoever the new government is, and whoever our members elect as their new leaders, I remain committed to assisting our Institute to work on behalf of our members to promote healthy workplaces and to restore a federal public service we can make us all proud!
In order to properly update our membership let’s first reflect on the 2019 Federal Budget and key announcements which have had a direct impact on our union representing 15,000 public service scientists …
Budgets are about choices. While Budget 2018 had announced $1.7 billion of new funding for science research, federal scientists were not quick to rejoice, as much of the money allotted was in direct responses to the findings of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, which completely ignored government science and its pool of public science talents. And yes, our government continued to engage in replenishing the ranks of federal scientists, engineers and researchers over the past three years by hiring 1,500 positions in an attempt to fill the science gap left by the previous government’s waves of cuts. However, once again, the 2019-20 Budget is no different than the last one when comes to significant new funding for public science. Spending on R&D by government scientists declined by $891 million compared to 2010-11 under the Harper government. Budget 2019 chose to continue the underfunding of public science capacity in Canada.
Think about some of the most fundamental needs of Canadians and our economy. We rely on public scientists to ensure the safety of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume. As our communities grapple with the impact of climate change, the importance of public scientific capacity cannot be overstated. And yet, with a couple of small exceptions, basic research and government regulatory science are mostly absent from Budget 2019.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and Transport Canada are getting a total of $219.1 million over five years pertaining to the consolidated regulatory roadmap, though the announcement remains vague. New processes involving the digitalization of CFIA regulation work and standards could impact the work of our food-safety scientists. They should be consulted on these changes so their important service to Canadians is not disrupted.
Another glimmer of hope is the establishment of a new Strategic Science Fund, scheduled for 2022-23 after lengthy consultation with third-party research and non-government science organizations. The commitment remains vulnerable to the results of the next election. Should the government push ahead with a strategic funding agenda in the coming years, public scientists should be at the center of these consultations.
Whether it’s R&D or science-based regulation, PIPSC believes there is a need for Canadians to have increased access to public science. The dangerous trend of underfunding public science should be and can be turned around. The Chief Science Advisor must develop metrics to assess and report on the government’s scientific capacity.
As the union representing 15,000 public service scientists, PIPSC is ready to help.
One Big Union
PIPSC wants to ensure we serve ALL our members … not only those in core regions. To that end, the One Big Union initiative was born and I’ve been asked to travel to remote/less freequented areas of Canada to connect with our members. To date, we have:
- Worked with Board colleagues to promote the One Big Union initiative.
- Lead or participated in events, presentations or other activities related to this initiative
- Reported on the outcome of such activities.
We can be very proud of the leading role PIPSC has played within the labor movement in fighting back and to a great extent reversing the effects of the former Harper government’s unabashed attacks on Canada’s public service.
Most notably, in the science area we can point to:
- The hiring of some 1500 government scientists to replace those previously lost through cuts to Canada’s public science infrastructure;
- The enshrinement in their collective agreements of our science members’ right to speak freely about their work.
- The introduction of Scientific Integrity policies in federal departments and agencies.
- PIPSC also welcomed the new Departmental Science Advisor at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dr. Shawn Marshall.
- We are also pleased that other Departmental Science Advisors have been appointed, including at the National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency. We look forward to further announcements of new Science Advisors at other Departments and Agencies.
Latest call to Action – Climate Change March/Strike:
Students asked Canada’s unions to stand with them for a Global Climate Strike, Friday, September 20, and culminating with a global day of action on Friday, September 27, to coincide with the UN Secretary General’s climate summit, Monday, September 23.
Many of us across the country joined the March! March/Strike postings https://www.facebook.com/norma.domey
Not all workers were able to join the marches and rallies in person, but there are many ways to demonstrate solidarity and support for this critical call to action, including showing solidarity on social media, participating in actions on your lunch break, starting a conversation about reducing emissions in your own workplace, or raising climate action with your local candidates in the federal election.
PIPSC stood in support of this important call to action.
As always, more work remains to be done. The next government must restore funding for research and development in public science.
It is an honor to act as your senior liaison between the Board and members who are active on science-related matters.
Scientific Integrity Implementation Committee
The Chief Science Advisor of Canada, Dr. Mona Nemer, recently released her 2018 Annual Report, in which she highlights the close working relationship she enjoys with the Professional Institute.
Dr. Nemer is particularly proud of our joint work on the Model Policy on Scientific Integrity, which provides a framework for science-based decision-making in the federal government, and guidelines for the unmuzzled public discussion of the research our members are conducting.
- A Scientific Integrity Implementation Committee was struck and continue to work with CSA and Consultation Team Presidents on the implementation process. The following guidelines have been issued or are in the development stage:
- Communication and dissemination of science
- Employee Training
- Attribution and acknowledgement of science contributions
- In development - report and performance
- In Development - Indigenous acknowledgement
- Science Integrity Course is also under development on SI & the Right to Speak as EROs/Stewards will need to know how to deal with SI cases and Right to Speak cases.
Science Advisory Committee
- Continuing to Champion the work of the committee and act as Board liaison I’m happy to report on the activities of the committee.
- The Science Advisory Committee continue to advise and make recommendations to the Board on how to address concerns or issues identified in the Workplace which related to science and public science issues, and the Institute’s efforts to present itself as an advocate for public science in Canada and for restoration of a science based departmental funding (A-base budgets).
- Key Activity Areas of the 2017-2019 Science Strategic Plan:
1. Science Membership Survey & Associated Reports;
2. Departmental Scientific Integrity Teams Working on Science Integrity Policies with Ministries and Treasury Board;
3. Women in Science Initiative;
4. Conference Attendance Initiative;
5. State of Government Science Monitoring; and,
6. Government & External Relations Strategy Developed targeting Ministers, MPs, Chief Science Advisor and other Senior Government Officials.
Please go to our SAC website to view progress on these initiatives at: https://pipsc.ca/about/governance/committees/sac
Note: A final report detailing the outcomes of the 2017-2019 Science Strategic Plan and associated initiatives is under development and is expected to be available early 2020.
The Science Advisory Committee is currently drafting the 2020-2022 Science Strategic Plan. The following was taken into consideration in its conception:
- On-going Key Activity Areas from the 2017-2019 Science Strategic Plan
- Key Activity Areas identified during the drafting of the 2017-2019 Science Strategic Plan which did not get included in our last 3 year plan. The activities that were discussed and not pursued included the following:
1) Conference Attendance Initiative
2) Career Consultation Committee with Treasury Board and Six largest SBDAs
3) Endangered Research Stations Research and Advocacy Project
4) Departmental Scientific Integrity Reports
5) Report Card on state of science in the federal government produced annually
6) Identification of external organizations relevant to PIPSC Goals.
- Science issues brought to SAC over 2019:
Women in Science
As Champion for the work of the Women in Science initiative and Board liaison for the group, I’m happy to report on our progress in this area.
The results of a 2017 survey of federal scientists and engineers who are PIPSC members reveal challenges that are holding women back from fully contributing their unique perspectives and expertise to federal public science. The following is an overview of the resulting report Women in Public Sector Science: From Analysis to Action. More details on the report may be found at: https://pipsc.ca/sites/default/files/comms/womeninsciencefullen.pdf
Under-representation in Science Groups
In general, women are under-represented in the Institute’s core science groups. There is a low availability of women in scientific professions, and beyond this, the number of women in two major science groups (RE and NRC-RO/CO) is lower than the number of qualified women in the workforce. Also, in many cases, there is a diminishing proportion of women to men occupying higher-level positions. Fewer women than men hold government science positions, fewer women scientists are in the labor market, and fewer women apply to high-level science jobs. It’s 2019 – why is this still the case?
Diminishing Concern for Women’s Rights
Members under 30 were twice as likely as older members to believe that men are favored and get better treatment in recruitment and selection processes. Older generations may perceive less gender bias today compared with their past experiences. The belief that gender discrimination has declined more rapidly than data shows can cause diminishing concern for women’s rights and fewer resources allocated to alleviating gender inequality.
Gender Bias and Equality
Overall, 42% of women said that gender bias is a barrier to their career progression, and one in four women (27%) believed that men are favored in opportunities for leadership roles. In 2017, some 73% of those surveyed by the Joint Union-Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service identified bias as a top barrier to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To mitigate bias, we need to critically reflect on the notion of ‘fit,’ and become cognizant of our desire for sameness.
Dependent Care Responsibilities
Women were significantly more likely than men to identify dependent care responsibilities as a barrier to their career progression. Significantly fewer women than men believe they are able to satisfy both their job and family or personal responsibilities. Women continue to disproportionately bear the burden of dependent care. More could be done to evoke a cultural change, not only inside the workplace but in the wider community.
Mentorship and Leadership
One in four women (23%) said lack of access to mentors was a major barrier to their career progression. While female mentorship and role models are vital for encouraging young women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers, men’s participation in mentorship programs for women is also critically important.
PIPSC is looking to influence change for women in science by:
- conducting advocacy and activism campaigns aimed at new or better workplace legislation;
- collective bargaining for new and better workplace rights;
- supporting consultation presidents at union-management consultation for new and improved human resources policies; and
- developing and conducting awareness and education campaigns for PIPSC members.
The institute continues to action the Women in Science (WiS) report recommendations and build capacity more broadly in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion. A strategic agenda and work plan for our WiS project was drafted and is currently underway.
This project will consist of a learning lab held in October 2019 for approximately 16 members. Interest was so high that a second round is being considered. Members will develop projects to take back and implement in their departments and agencies. The members’ projects will be supported by PIPSC.
This project proposal is part of a bigger effort between March 2019 and 2020 in which PIPSC will help to build sustainable efforts with our activists in the area of women and science to continue to embed the recommended areas of action.
The role of women in science is now a major focus for many stakeholders in Canada and around the world because diverse perspectives enhance research excellence and innovation.
The value of diversity in science extends beyond the benefits to diverse groups themselves; indeed “removing gender bias can open science and engineering to new perspectives, new questions, and new missions.” Diversity is a fact and inclusion is a choice, and PIPSC is prepared to work with the federal government to make the right choice.
PIPSC is a non-partisan organization and will not be endorsing one political party over another. Yet, we know that the decisions made by the political party in power can have direct and potentially harmful impacts on our lives as employees and union members.
- We represented the Institute in presentations to you and activities, such as leafleting in front of your building, related to the federal election.
- We have rolled out tools for you to use to ensure that the issues that matter to you remain top of mind with candidates in the lead-up to the October election.
- We worked collaboratively with members and staff to increase member engagement in the Institute’s election activities.
With that in mind, we developed this online Election Toolkit that will help you make an informed choice in electing a government that will protect public services and respect the people who provide them.
In this Toolkit, members found:
Their rights as public service employees during the federal election.
Fact sheets on key public service issues that directly affect them.
A one-click tool for emailing their candidates to ask them where they stand on these issues.
A guide to asking questions at candidate meetings.
Our election campaign ad to share with their network.
In addition, we published the results of our survey asking the four main federal political parties about their positions on public services.
We need to elect a government that protects public services and respects the people who provide them.
Federal Black Employee Caucus (FBEC)
PIPSC participated in the Inaugural 2019 Symposium of the Federal Black Employee Caucus, to discuss the priorities of Black public servants in the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent, which spans from 2015 to 2024.
June 2019 PIPSC participated in a FBEC members meeting with Treasury Board President, Joyce Murray and Parliamentary Secretary, Greg Fergus. This event provided an opportunity for open dialogue between FBEC members, affiliates and senior officials. Here is the survey.
Subsequently, PIPSC sent a letter to Treasury Board President, Joyce Murray endorsing FBEC and it’s key asks:
· That data gaps must be filled and that a support network be created permitting Black community members to accomplish their professional goals, i.e. to obtain senior government positions.
· That the federal government should assign Champions in each of its Departments.
· And of course that the federal government continue to show respect for the International Decade for People of African Descent.
More recently, PIPSC met with FBEC leaders to identify ways in which we can foster inclusivity across the system.
As a union, we believe that we have an active role to play in identifying and removing barriers that prevent any public servant from fully participating in all workplace activities and fulfilling their personal and professional goals. As such, we are committed to working with the federal government to create workplaces that are inclusive and barrier-free. We were therefore pleased when the government announced the establishment of a Centre of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness. The Institute will be happy to work with the Treasury Board and FBEC to ensure that the proposed Centre is action-oriented and that all employees, particularly Black employees, benefit from tangible results.
We look forward to working with you and FBEC and allies to achieve these objectives in federal workplaces across Canada.
Psychological Health Standard Implementation
We look forward to initiating this important work in 2020, if not before!
PIPSC Staff Bargaining
It is fair to say that any labor act that governs the relationship between unions and employers is about creating rules that are intended to be fair to both sides. That being said, the following is an update on our 2019 activities:
- Overall Goal: Participate in staff bargaining with the Institute Bargaining Team. Work with the COO to inform the Board of tentative agreements and other bargaining developments.
- May, June, July Pre-Bargaining Meetings for Unifor & PIREC
- July Pre-Bargaining Meeting with COO
- September UNIFOR 3011 canvassed PIPSC to establish date to initiate Collective Bargaining
- UNIFOR 3011 Collective Bargaining – anticipated to be initiated late November 2019
IAMAW (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers)-PIREC Local 907 (PIPSC regional office staff excluding the NCR)
I’m pleased to report that on November 20, 2020 the Institute’s Board of Directors ratified the tentative agreement between PIPSC and IAMAW/PIREC! Highlights include annual wage increases retroactive to March 2019, pension and benefits improvements, and several other monetary and language enhancements.
Congratulations to the leadership of both the management and staff committees for an excellent job in maintaining their focus during these very challenging negotiations!
Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) Coordination
Our Objectives are to:
- Lead and report on the activities of Institute members and staff on committees, campaigns and other activities related to the CLC.
- Work with the President to ensure Professional Institute strategic participation and representation at the Canadian Labor Congress and ensure the best value for our members through our engagement;
- Contribute to the Institute Key Result area of “Influential Leaders”, build stronger relationships with affiliates of the CLC.
PIPSC has Leads on the following CLC Committees:
Aboriginal Worker Caucus
Electoral Reform Working Group
EI Ad Hoc Committee
Health & Safety Committee
Legal Challenges Coordinating Committee
Solidarity & Pride
Training & Technology
Tripartite Roundtable on International Labor Issues
Women’s Advisory Committee
Workers of Color
Young Workers Advisory Committee (YWAC)
I’m happy to report that I initiated and Chaired our Inaugural CLC Meeting with all our PIPSC committee Leads. Discussions centered on:
- a possible PIPSC webpage for CLC committee reports, actions, representatives, issues, links to other unions’ websites, CLC website, campaigns, information, posters
- how best to take advantage of all CLC has to offer (training, education, relevant campaigns, resources)
- mechanisms for strengthening our relationship with the CLC and affiliated unions
As you may know, PIPSC Lobby Days have been held annually since 2017 on Parliament Hill here in Ottawa, where we have held discussions with hundreds of Members of Parliament and Senators. These meetings have proven to be a very effective way of communicating our members’ concerns to the nation’s decision makers.
We also participated in similar events as part of the Canadian Labor Congress’ efforts to raise awareness of issues of great importance to all Canadians, such as the introduction of a national Pharmacare plan and the protection of retirement security.
In general the CLC does very good work and we would benefit greatly by leveraging what they are already doing. They have a big voice and we can use that strength on some of our advocacy. I was very impressed by what I saw at the women’s committee and would like to do even more with them on their projects to leverage our projects.
CLC Women's Advisory Committee
Our objective is to represent the Institute on the committee and report regularly on the committee’s activities.
Initial topics of discussion at our April 2019 Meeting were the CLC’s analysis on the federal budget, the recent United Nations, Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), and work on developing the International Labor Organization (ILO) standard on harassment and violence, the rise of right wing governments, their coordination and growing voice in both domestic and international fora, and the normalization of hate.
Update – Progress on Convention Resolutions and Policy Papers
- Updates on the key convention resolutions and policy papers related to the Women’s Advisory Committee’s work.
- Progress has been made with many resolutions. The CLC is working on how to best implement the mental health resolution.
- CLC provided updates on resolutions related to Indigenous rights and discussed the first CLC Indigenous Lobby Day.
CLC and ally Campaigns were discussed, Gender-based Violence, Child Care Now - Affordable Child Care for All to name a few. For more details please click here to view the minutes from the April 25-26, 2019 Women’s Advisory Committee meeting. Also discussed was:
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW63)
At the Debrief Meeting (January 21, 2019) we learned the following:
The annual UNCSW event looks at women’s issues, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Each year focuses on a specific theme and reviews the outcome of a previous discussion. Member States discuss the issues and negotiate an outcome document by consensus.
It is a unique opportunity for women labor leaders to engage on issues in the global context and to access provincial, territorial and federal ministers who will also be in attendance.
There are three layers of engagement: the official events (organized by Member States and UN agencies), the official side events and the NGO parallel conference.
The above meetings and logistics were discussed along with our participant and communication strategy and liaising with NGOs and women’s rights caucuses.
In March 2019, UNCSW saw the biggest ever delegation of Canadian trade unionists, with 75 participants from 25 different unions including PIPSC. This year’s theme was social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure.
In addition, the CLC held a standing-room-only parallel event on child care and decent work, moderated two sessions organized by global union federations, and presented our work on domestic violence at an event organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UN Women. The CLC took part in this year’s negotiations with an expert advisor to the Canadian delegation. The CLC reported that the negotiations were particularly challenging because of the efforts of religious fundamentalists and conservative governments, which objected to the inclusion of the term “gender” as they believe it promotes a pro-LGBTQ2SI “ideology.” There were challenges around decent work and right to work. This hostile climate gets worse every year and impacts many international bodies, not just the CSW.
For a full report on PIPSC involvement, please go to March postings https://www.facebook.com/norma.domey tweets @DomeyNorma #unwomen #csw63 #ngocsw63 #UNCSW63 #CLC #PIPSC, Check out the blog I submitted to CSW63 the Commision on the Status of Women ...ENHANCING WOMEN'S ROLE IN NEGOTIATION PROCESSES AND BUILDING PEACE AND SECURITY www.https://unioncsw.world-psi.org/news/enhancing-womens-role-in-negotiation-processes-and-building-peace-and-security?lang=en
and to the 14 page report submitted to the PIPSC Board of Directors
Women Deliver (June 3 to 6, 2019) and Unions Deliver (June 2, 2019)
Women Deliver included a symposium, plenaries, and keynote speakers on the main stage, a number of concurrent sessions with live streaming, a cultural night, and many opportunities for networking built into the agenda. PIPSC had 10 women from across Canada in attendance.
The evening before, the CLC will be held Unions Deliver at the Vancouver Public Library, a public event highlighting how union women provide better workplaces. It was an energizing event without any outcome documents. At Women Deliver, the CLC was involved in two different events: ITUC Women in the Workplace, and an event on domestic workers’ rights organized by Oxfam. The conference has been criticized as being cost-prohibitive and excludes many grassroots and community organizations; however, live streaming was available to those that could not attend.
The conference presented an opportunity to highlight the #DoneWaiting campaign, and the possibility of digital or physical ad space, op ads, and demonstration stunts that grabs media attention.
To see PIPSC on the ground involvement, please go to June postings https://www.facebook.com/norma.domey
Our next CLC Women's Advisory Committee Meeting will take place November 2019
As you have read and seen, it has been a truly inspiring and exciting time for me as one of your Full-time Vice-Presidents at PIPSC, with many challenges and opportunities to serve you. I am honored that you gave me the opportunity to work on your behalf, and I am thrilled to continue to work hard for YOU!
Norma Domey, M.Sc., DTM
Vice President PIPSC