A Look Back at Our Accomplishments During the Last Parliament
Canada’s 42nd Parliament, whose members were elected in October 2015, has adjourned. All federal parties are now actively preparing for the next national election, which is scheduled to be held on October 21, 2019.
This is a good time to look back at the past four years, and to take stock of the Institute’s accomplishments over this period.
Overall, we can be very proud of the leading role PIPSC has played within the labour 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, we can point to:
- The return of the long-form census (on which key federal government policies and decisions are based);
- The protection of our members’ sick leave;
- The repeal of anti-labour Bills C-4, C-59, C-377 and C-525;
- 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 most federal departments and agencies;
- The introduction of proactive pay equity legislation;
- Substantial reinvestments in the Canada Revenue Agency’s capabilities;
- The recent signing of collective agreements for many of our Groups;
- The finalization of a Phoenix damages agreement with the Employer.
- The upcoming replacement of Phoenix with a new, functional system developed in collaboration with our CS professionals.
These are all significant successes, and they are the result of the development of a productive relationship between the Institute, Canada’s elected leaders, and the Treasury Board over the past four years. It is very gratifying to see our professional members once again being taken seriously by the Employer, following years of neglect. The government now considers PIPSC an invaluable partner in the rebuilding of our national public services, particularly when it comes to the country’s Information Technology infrastructure.
But it took a lot of effort on our part to get to this point.
Over the past few years, I have repeatedly met face-to-face with key government ministers and top public servants, for example Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, to discuss issues of importance to our membership. Along with other members of the PIPSC Board of Directors, I have also testified before a number of Parliamentary and Senate Committees on critical issues including Phoenix, Tax Fairness, Outsourcing, Scientific Integrity, Human rights and Diversity in the workplace, the role of Women in Science, Pensions, and Pay Equity.
Concurrently, over the same period PIPSC submitted a number of written briefs and participated in several public consultations conducted by the government on these and other issues that directly impact our members and the delivery of services to Canadians, such as Official Languages and Racism in the federal workplace.
In addition, 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 Labour 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.
This proactive approach to government relations has led to very high visibility for the Institute on the national political front. We now enjoy the active support of many Members of Parliament, including Manitoba’s Daniel Blaikie, who presented a Motion to protect the pensions of our members at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.
I am very proud of the significant results we have achieved for our public service professionals over the past four years. But much work remains to be done. The next government must restore funding for research and development in public science, must increase training and technology funding for the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure that it can really go after tax cheats, and must curb the costly and wasteful outsourcing of work best performed by public service professionals.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will be rolling out tools for our members to use to ensure that the issues that matter to them remain top of mind with candidates in the lead-up to the October election.
Though the Phoenix pay system fiasco will never be forgotten by Canada’s civil servants, overall the past four years have seen many positive developments for the federal public sector. I look forward to our union maintaining a productive relationship with future Ministers and Parliamentarians.