Training and Education Committee

Meeting Minutes

Friday, July 7, 2017

Present: Kimberley Skanes, Chair

Nancy Lamarche, Director of Regional Labour Relation Services

Gordon Bulmer, National Capital Region

Peter MacDougall, British Columbia / Yukon

Peter S. Jozsa, Ontario

Kieth L. Laing, Prairie / NWT

Carolyn Hynes, Atlantic Region

Robert Tellier, Quebec Region

Ivana Saula, Education Officer

Audrey Joyal, Education Officer

Karisa Karmali, Staff Resource

1. Call to Order

K. Skanes called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m. (EST) on July 7th, 2017 at the Hilton

Lac-Leamy, Gatineau, Québec.

2. Approval Agenda

The agenda items were approved; however, new items were discussed.

K. Skanes explained that the main purpose of this meeting was to ensure that

everything is ready for her presentation to the Board, taking place in August. The

documents generated from today’s meeting will also need to be translated in time.

The Agenda was approved. Moved by P. Josza, Seconded by R. Tellier – Carried.

3. Approval of minutes from last meeting

The Minutes from the April 1, 2017 Training and Education Committee meeting were

approved. Moved by K. Laing , Seconded by P. Josza – Carried.

4. Business arising from the last meeting

4. a) Review Action Items

Action Items were reviewed and added to the List of Action Items. 

4. b) Kim Skanes’ Overview of Survey Results

K. Skanes discussed the results and I. Saula explained that the survey stemmed from a random sample. The research firm ensured that the sample was representative of the demographics and that it was representative of PIPSC as a whole.

G. Bulmer suggested that there be a prize / draw involved in rewarding members for completion of courses, rather than incentives being reserved only for sign-ups.

R. Tellier highlighted the importance of keeping in-house training, despite the introduction of e-Learning, especially for training courses which are political in nature and require mobilisation.

I. Saula affirmed that E-Learning is meant to be combined with in house-facilitation (when appropriate) rather than replacing it. E-Learning complements Labour Schools.

Despite certain members being fond of the weekend schools, P. Josza touched upon the logistical obstacles of Saturdays as part of the Thursday to Saturday training sessions. Half-hour sessions of training could supplement in-house training in order to accommodate busy schedules. This is likely to be an ongoing topic of discussion.

In closing the discussion around survey results, I. Saula reiterated that the survey results reflect a variety of voices including the ones that are never heard in the membership. The sample selected by Viewpoints is a reflective one.

Course structure:

K. Skanes stated that the three day course structure may need to be reviewed. In the Atlantic, some do not want to do the three day courses and prefer to limit training to two days. Due to the travel component, there is a need to provide training over two and one half day.

G. Bulmer stated that, in the NCR, there are exceptions made for those requesting a two-day attendance to training. However, these are the exceptions and not the rule. Priority should be given to the (prospective) stewards who are able to attend the entirety of the training. 

P. MacDougall stated that every class in the BC/Yukon Region has been filled to capacity; therefore, they haven’t encountered these issues.

The importance of mentorship as shown in the survey results:

R. Tellier stated that in October, in the Quebec region, the advanced training session will run at the same time as the Basic Steward Training. This approach should encourage and increase the mentoring of new stewards.

G. Bulmer suggested that criteria to become a mentor be set.

Social media policy:

A brief discussion on the need for a Social Media Policy took place and P. Josza cited the example of the CS Facebook page, as it is one that is not PIPSC run.

K. Skanes closed the discussion with stating that a policy would not be TEC’s responsibility.

4. c) Current Model and New Model – K. Skanes

The current model includes Regional Labour Schools, Basic and Online Training.

K. Skanes stated that once the Board approves the new model, the criteria for participant selection will be addressed. The vision is to have selection criteria for training that is applicable across the regions and appropriate for national training.

Understandably, there will be nuances regionally which will need to be factored in. The starting point is to develop encompassing criteria.

G. Bulmer suggested that leveraging the online application for the AGM would facilitate the process of selection.

K. Laing reminded the Committee of a matrix that was discussed in a previous meeting. This matrix would demonstrate which training the member (at any given level) is permitted to take while outlining the pre-requisites involved.

The New Education Model was agreed upon unanimously by the Committee and will be presented to the Board in August.

Guiding Principles

The document was edited in real-time; the final version is in Appendix A.[1]

4. d) Liberated Stewards - K. Laing

K. Laing explained that when it was presented in the Prairies, the majority thought that Regional Liberated Stewards should make themselves known to PIPSC; otherwise, it could create a trust issue and lack of transparency. He explained that it would be ideal for it to go back to the Board as feedback.

K. Skanes will work on this further and get the notes from S. Bittman

4. e) Steward: Levels / Role of a Steward

K. Skanes stated that policies need to be looked at in terms of how they can be adapted. If the Board approves, the next step would be to set aside an hour near / during Steward Councils for this Training Revamp. The hour would consist of the Role of a Steward Presentation, which will be developed in advance and standardized to ensure it is consistent when delivered across the country.

The document was edited in real-time; the final version is in Appendix B.[2]

The presentation will introduce the changes in levels and allow Stewards to self-identify.

Presentation / specifics:

K. Skanes suggested that self-identifying cards be distributed to Stewards during the presentation. The scales "1-2-3" will help the steward identify where they place themselves on the levels. Having levels would be identified in the profile as to whether they want to stay as a “1” or if they want to have progressive training. This will help determine part of the criterion (i.e. who gets to what training). This would be the next step after the Board, which should happen expeditiously.

Who will present / how it will be presented:

Although most of the Regions have full schedules for their Steward Councils, one hour is to be incorporated in their agendas for the presentation, Q&A, and Steward Self-Identification exercise.  K. Skanes / I. Saula / N. Lamarche will be giving the presentations when possible. The end goal would be for the messaging to be as consistent as possible.

4. f) Status: Lunch and Learn Process - K. Laing

The discussion on Lunch and Learn Process was left at the Action Item of brainstorming a landing page for the special requests (K. Laing and P. Josza).

4. g) Status: Online Training Modules - K. Laing

There is consensus among stewards in the Prairie/NWT Region, K. Laing notes, that in-class training unifies the stewardship and promotes activism. That being said, there is also increasing interest in short online training modules as they accommodate family obligations and are more manageable as a whole.

4. h) Notification to members / event notices / attendance outside normal hours is voluntary

K. Laing suggested that there be a notice reminding members that training on Saturdays is voluntary. Further, R. Tellier notes that while members are not paid to attend, lost salary is reimbursed.

An example of a notice was sent by C. Hynes and can be found in Appendix C.[3] This can be used as a template and modified.

5. New Business

5. a) Separate Employers: Regional / Provincial Territorial Legislation

K. Skanes mentioned that group-specific training would be run at a National Level for AFS and CS; however, SE training would only be run regionally, as some aren’t.

Regional Differences:

Action Item: The Committee members are to identify which Provincial Legislation applies to their regions. This will aid in identifying which courses can be all inclusive and which need to be customized.

K. Skanes mentioned that as part of the consultation, the SE’s expressed the need for inclusive training while catering to their particular legislation. In order to accommodate the Separate Employers’ request, there may be changes required for existing training and new modules developed specifically to suit their needs.

K. Laing agreed that SE’s are an area of growth and that their needs must be addressed if the Institute wants to continue recruiting non-TBS members.

6. Regional Reports


P. MacDougall informed that the Pacific Region had their Advanced Training in April 2017; it was a full course and there was a stand-by list. There were also lunch and learns, which were all successful.


K. Laing stated that, similarly to the Pacific Region, the Prairies Spring Advanced Labour School and Basic Training were successful. The presentation K. Laing shared with the Committee was well received at the Regional Council. Additionally, the recruitment rate for stewards is increasing.


P. Josza touched upon the rate at which New Stewards are signing up. New Stewards are signing up at an unprecedented rate and every Basic Training and Labour School has a waiting list. 

National Capital Region:

G. Bulmer forewarned that the NCR School structure may need to change. The Fall school is only going to be given in two streams, as opposed to the traditional three stream setup. There will only be one Basic, not two, as there are not sufficient resources. Doing three small events may be an idea, rather than doing two larger events. The idea of new stewards meeting advanced stewards remains valid. National trainings will be reviewed as it is preferable for there to be a month of OSH. The NCR is also planning their Steward Council.

Québec Region:

R. Tellier mentioned the planning of the Basic Training for the Fall. OSH training is going to be the same as last year, with the exception that the School will be one module.

Atlantic Region:

C. Hynes mentioned that the schools were successful this year. The Constituent Body training had lower attendance than expected due to a storm. The Region is in its planning phases for the Steward Council and the ARC was a success. The Resolution Workout exercise was well received. In terms of Basic Steward Training for September, the class is full and there is a waitlist.

7. Roundtable

7. a) PIPSC Mental Health Resource Guide (Complete) – Education

A. Joyal introduced the completion of the Mental Health Resource guide, the first ever official resource on Mental Health for PIPSC. For the production aspect, it would be in magazine format and a discussion on the best distribution method membership-wide took place.

It was decided that it would be marketed via all possible channels, social media, Steward Councils, and the AGM.

P. Josza suggested that D. Daviau mention it in the media and that it be taken back to his Branch Liaison to further help with a social media strategy.

G. Bulmer suggested adding “211” as a resource and K. Skanes mentioned adding the link to the “211” website, listing the regions covered by the service. 

Whether it is printed or online, or both, K. Skanes suggested to have the guide in the packages for Steward Council, or to have a card with the link to the Mental Health Resource Guide on it.

G. Bulmer suggested that the link to the Mental Health Resource Guide could be on bookmarks, which could go in the Steward packages.

K. Laing mentioned that due to the Mental Health Resource Guide, the demand for mental health courses is now created.

I. Saula confirmed that mental health related training is being worked on by the Education section.

9. Frequency of TEC meetings

A discussion on frequency of TEC meetings took place and the Committee was tasked with identifying their availabilities.

10. Next Meeting

K. Skanes stated that the next TEC meeting is to take place in September or October on a Monday, Friday or Saturday.

All members are to have an alternate in the event that they are unable to attend.

11. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 17:00 p.m. EST.


Guiding Principles Edit no.3

The Institute’s Training and Education Program is guided by the following overarching principles;

1. Accountability: Learning must serve a goal.

  • The objective of member training is to support them in their role as professionals in the workplace. The goal of steward training is to support and develop them in their role as Institute Representatives.
  • The aim of the training program is application of knowledge through action. In order to uphold this principle, processes need to be in place to ensure consistency of training and education materials, and regular assessment of both stewards and member learning outcomes.

2. Empowerment, Inclusivity and Flexibility:

  • Providing a learning path to build confidence through education and experience.
  • In order for learners to attain their objectives, they must be stakeholders in their learning process.
  • Through a self-paced and self-directed E-Learning  platform, and areas of specialization, learners are enabled to control their learning progress in a way that is compatible with their abilities, availability and interests.
  • Learning is premised on concepts of diversity, opportunities for full participation and flexibility.
  • The program offers flexibility by delivering training through various learning platforms, and Labour Schools, making it available to a broader and diverse population of the Institute’s membership.

3. Evergreen: The Training and Education Program is responsive to diverse and emerging needs.

  • Regular meetings between the National Office and the Training and Education

Committee, membership surveys, Regional Offices and various cross-sections of the

membership, help to determine and set priority training needs ensuring that the program

is responsive to and abreast of emerging needs.


Role of a Steward

The role of the steward within PIPSC is multifaceted and supports most, if not all, of the union’s activities. A steward is likely the first exposure to PIPSC that a member has in the workplace and often provides the first and lasting impression of the union.

Within PIPSC, there are various roles that a steward can perform. To identify the roles of a steward, we have categorized a steward into the following 3 types of a steward.

Steward 1: Information

Steward 2: Intermediate

Steward 3: Advanced

One or more of the following elements are part of being a steward within PIPSC:

1. Educator

2. Communicator

3. Representative

4. Leader

5. Mobilizer

6. Organizer / Planner

Steward 1: Information

Be available and / or visible in the workplace. As a Communications/Information steward, you are the first face of the union to the member. It is expected that you will help to distribute materials to the members, meet with new members and assist in them in becoming a member, have a working knowledge of the webpage so that you are able to direct members to the information they require, be able to answer questions on the structure of PIPSC, have some understanding of the collective bargaining process and be able to interpret the collective agreement.

Steward 2: Intermediate

An Intermediate/Representative steward, in addition to the role of the information steward, will represent a member in an informal dispute resolution process, file a grievance for a member, sit on workplace committees as a union representative, may be part of a consultation team whether locally or regionally and take part in lobbying efforts of the union.

Steward 3: Advanced

An advanced/Lead steward has many more expectations. At this level, a steward will represent members in a discipline, harassment or duty to accommodate issues, in addition to grievances, will mentor other stewards, assist in training either in a formal or informal setting, may be part of a national consultation team, and can volunteer for the committees of the board.


Notification to Members - example from the Atlantic Region:

74th ARC Delegates:

“At its March 2017 meeting, the Atlantic Regional Training Committee discussed the issue of participants leaving PIPSC Training, Councils and meetings prior to the scheduled ending.

When you attend a PIPSC event, there is an expectation you will participate fully for the scheduled time allotted. If you are unable to make that commitment please do not register for the event or discuss your circumstances with the administrator in advance in order to allow someone else to attend so they can receive the full benefit of the organized program.

Start and end times for PIPSC Training, Councils and meetings are communicated in advance and available for viewing on the online calendar on the PIPSC website. Return travel should be arranged taking into consideration the posted end time of the event.

We do understand that circumstances arise during an event where exceptions must be made. Should you encounter a situation requiring your early departure, please advise the meeting administrator or a member of the Regional Executive.

In situations where participants depart early without explanation, it may affect the coverage of associated expenses and participation at future PIPSC events.

Safe travels and see you next week”.


PIPSC Education Resource Group (ERG)

The ERG is composed of Officers and Regional Managers, appointed by their section to act as liaison between the Education Section and Labour Relations Services.

In an effort to formalize the feedback mechanism, these representatives serve as spokespersons for training and educational materials pertaining to labour relations. The majority of course amendment requests take place following a labour school and facilitation. By streamlining feedback, the ERG representative can review the feedback and discern what should be taken to the group. The Education Section will share pertinent information with the ERG in an effort to inform the sections of developments in the Education and Training Program. In turn, members are expected to share updates on legislation and case law, which may be used for course development.

Members of the ERG 2017:

John Ehinger – Employment Relations Officer, Vancouver (BC/Yukon Region)

Sean Kemball - Employment Relations Officer, Winnipeg (Prairies/NWT)

Sandra Guéric - Employment Relations Officer, Montreal (Quebec)

Sara Boulé-Perroni - Employment Relations Officer, Ottawa (National Capital Region)

Émilie Gagné – Classification Officer, Ottawa (National Capital Region)

Tony Jones - Employment Relations Officer, Toronto (Ontario)

Max Way - Employment Relations Officer, Halifax (Atlantic Region)

Ivana Saula - Education Officer

Audrey Joyal - Education Officer, Term


[1] Appendix A: Guiding Principles

[2] Appendix B: Role of a Steward

[3] Appendix C: Notification to Members template