SAC Zoom Meeting May 22 2020 12-1:15 pm

Present – VP Norma Domey (Chair), Kevin Jacobs, Mike Pauley, Deborah Danoff, Guillermo Castilla, Krista Gill, Katie Beach, Simon Zhou, Violina Thomas

 VP Norma Domey lead discussion on 3 major recent issues:

 We have three significant issues that arose over the course of the past week, along with several other issues on the radar. The larger issues were:

 1. Leave code 699 application in Québec

Québec is in the midst of a partial reopening, with some schools and childcare in certain areas reopening. On May 7, the federal Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) told us that they were essentially allowing management discretion for members who have children that can return to school in Québec (no medical conditions or other "identifiable risks" and school is available).

 We immediately pushed back on this, as we do not view it as acceptable in the midst of a pandemic to force parents to make the choice between paying bills and their children's safety.

 We also believe this inconsistent with the spirit of collaboration we've attained at the TBS consultation table. We were also provided exceedingly little information. We were advised that further consultation would occur; however, they subsequently rolled out their guidance without further engagement.

 This came as a surprise to all federal Bargaining Agents (BAs), as we had a common understanding that we would continue to work with the TBS. We sent a letter to the CHRO with respect to what transpired and the unacceptability of the approach. Other BAs have shared similar perspectives and it was the subject of discussion on the May 12 TBS call as well.

 There was no resolution to this issue and PIPSC asked that the previous directive remain in place, while this is sorted out over the coming weeks. We do not have a response to this request yet. 

 2. Return to Work (RTW) Guideline

On May 13, the Treasury Board Secretariat sent us their guideline for Return to Work. They gave us 24 hours to review the 77 page document. We were able to provide this in time; however, we noted numerous concerns in the framework, to the extent that the Rapid Response Team and I do not recommend this proceed as is. 



The combination of points 1 and 2 above has resulted in the Bargaining Agents (BAs) unanimously agreeing that the lack of national union consultation on both the 699 code and the Return to Work document is unacceptable. As such, late last week, the Bargaining Agents sent a shared letter to the President of the Treasury Board, Minister Duclos, asking him to address what has happened and establish a productive path moving forward. We do not accept the disregard for our members and their BAs and we're encouraged by the solidarity of the BAs on these crucial issues.

 If you have any members with an issue surrounding Return to Work or leave code 699, please advise your ERO.

 3. Correctional Service Canada (CSC) Attestation Form

The CSC attestation form continues to be a source of contention. This form includes an inference that a Fitness to Work Evaluation may occur as a result of the process. It is not a consent form, but it goes too far and some members have been coerced into signing.

We tried to resolve this through national consultation, but the CSC was not willing to remove this portion. As such, we asked the Treasury Board Secretariat to have Correctional Service Canada remove this portion of the form.

TBS worked with CSC and we've come to the final outcome- they are not removing the paragraph but will no longer reject forms where it is struck out. We are waiting on the written confirmation of this. We will continue to advise members to strike this paragraph and CSC will accept the form as complete, as per TBS direction.

Ontario Radiation Therapists 

PIPSC has been working hard and lobbying the Ontario government to have our Ontario group radiation therapy members included in the province’s pandemic pay.  They are working on the front lines and deserve this top up for critical workers.  

Question from VP Domey:

Should PIPSC Provide PPE? … Majority felt responsibility of Employer to provide.  If not provided then PIPSC could force their hand by supplying PPE.

Update on our ad campaign


VP Domey explained that the ad spots aim to reinforce the public goodwill for our members and their performance in the midst of the pandemic. They will enhance the Institute’s brand recognition, preparing us for winning hearts and minds in a potential battle against cuts and austerity in the coming years. The target of the ads are Canadian news watchers. The ads will be featured on Canadian news networks: Global, CTV and CBC in English, Radio-Canada and TVA in French.

You will see some images of our members at work in these ads. Those images are from previous profiles of members that we shot over the past three years. The voices on the ads are Canadian actors who are unionized by ACTRA.

The ads will be released on our social channels and website this week and will hit airwaves in late May and will play until the end of June.

Discussion followed on pros/cons of ads


Kevin –

·         DFO Regional Management survey to employees with questions such as (). Deputy not too happy survey sent.

·         Manitoba has had flattened curve ahead of other provinces so 25% employees Return to Work resulting in equipment requests e.g. sit-stand desks


Simon –

·         One concern is the job security which had been briefly discussed in the Tower Hall Meeting yesterday. Since COVID-19 has been significantly impacted on the economy, some employees are worrying about the job security. The COVID-19 related research projects are of importance with the priority, and should be secured. However, it is difficult to predict other science related projects and job positions.


·         Other concerns are PPE and public transportation when it is time to go to work. Although the reviewers and evaluators are able to work at home, it may be unfeasible for most of the laboratory staff.


Violina –

·         Management survey to employees with questions such as ().

·         Slido comments/polls


Mike –

·         Likes PIPSC ads as Canadians aren’t aware all PS do and how we were able to pivot during COVID and still deliver


Deborah –

·         Our jobs may not necessarily be under attach.  Question optics of promoting ourselves given Canadian job losses



·         The Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP). These new measures are designed to help plan members and their eligible dependents access healthcare benefits, while at the same time, minimizing their social interaction with healthcare professionals as well as supporting the social distancing directive e.g. removing the requirement for a prescription for mental health and physiotherapy services

·         many members would like this flexibility to become permanent change to PSHCP

·         Norma mentioned that this fell to the NJC and would bring up for discussion at her next PIPSC Executive Committee Meeting


Action Items

1) (ALL):  Submit recommendations on how to protect science and research jobs by Friday May 29th

 2) Violina/Kevin – forward workplace surveys

 3) VP Domey – forward sample of PIPSC ads/tweets to SAC members

4) VP Domey – ask COO how we are measuring the response of Canadians to the ads?

5) VP Domey - would bring up for discussion members desire to make COVID PSHCP flexibility permanent going forward at her next PIPSC Executive Committee Meeting