President's opening address – 2021
President Debi Daviau presented her final opening address as PIPSC President via Zoom teleconference on November 5, 2021 in both official languages.
Hello! Bonjour tout le monde!
My fellow PIPSC members, it is with great pleasure that I join you today in celebrating our achievements from the past year, our accomplishments together over the last eight years, and to look forward to the amazing changes our union will bring in the years to come. (pause)
If I told you eight years ago that we would be facing our century’s greatest crisis, that we would close our office doors across the country, that we wouldn’t see each other in person for almost two years, that our entire organization would be remote, and shift to digital-first, would you have believed me?
My friends, like the first year of the pandemic, this year has not been easy. As a union and as individuals, we have experienced varying degrees of loss. We have fought hard against the injustices faced by our members. We have adapted into an impossible new climate because of COVID-19.
But as much as we have lost, we have gained so much more. We are resilient. We are adaptable. We are united.
And we are stronger than ever.
In the face of adversity, we have continued to protect and stand for our members, from ensuring access to vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers, to defending equity-seeking groups for better employment representation. We built strong relationships with our members, government decision makers, unions, NGOs, and the media.
We put scientific integrity, equity, and justice at the heart of our work for a better Canada.
In science, we have made great strides!
Our Science Advisory Committee worked diligently for public science in Canada and for the restoration of science-based departmental funding.
We launched the new Women in Public Sector Science Toolkit that equips women, non-binary members and allies to advance and support equity, diversity and inclusion in public sector science.
We are leading the fight against tax evasion
In May, I testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance over the CRA’s initiatives to combat tax evasion. We fought against Bill C-224, which would have transferred the processing of Quebec residents’ taxes from the CRA to Revenu Québec.
And we won.
We are delighted to have defeated this bill and made strides in the fight for tax fairness.
We also pushed back against outsourcing in the public sector.
We released the next report in our series of investigative reports unpacking the government’s reliance on outsourcing, which shines a light on how contracting out deepens gender inequities in public service employment.
We successfully completed our first year of the new PIPSC Pension Advisory Committee. Despite the pandemic, our team continued virtual training to help members with their pensions and benefits. Our teams worked hard to inform more than 20,000 members about their pensions.
We called on the federal government to facilitate talks between the Public Service Pension plan and health care ministries to move Revera long-term care facilities from private to public ownership because low-quality health care for our seniors must not be a source of profit for our pensions.
Despite this pandemic, negotiations have continued!
This year was all about implementing our wins, and keeping employers accountable. We implemented the revised Regulatory Science job descriptions at CFIA, coordinated the CS to IT conversion that will be implemented this December, implemented gender-inclusive language into our collective agreements, and much more.
After many years of pushing the government for a new pay system, we made big wins in our mission to nix Phoenix!
This past July, an exploratory pilot began, and we are on our way to building a better, more reliable pay system.
We’re proud that we pushed the government to see Phoenix replaced, and we remain vigilant to ensure our members are supported with any new or ongoing pay errors caused by Phoenix.
To defend equity-seeking members, I appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs to explain how the amendments to Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, may help eliminate the barriers that affect equity-seeking groups in the federal public service.
A long-standing history of alienation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) public servants needs to be recognized and addressed.
The pandemic has shown just how important every one of our public service workers are in the face of emergency. It has also shown that Canada’s ability to adapt to rapid change is vital. PIPSC has partnered with the Future Skills Centre to bring members a platform that will help address the challenges around reskilling and upskilling our public service.
This platform, Navigar, will help protect the jobs of our members as services and technology rapidly evolve. We are quickly developing Navigar, and are proud to be closing-in on our launch of the system in 2022.
Together, we can innovate and transform the public sector, while preparing all our members for future success in the workforce.
Now, eight years ago could you imagine that we would accomplish all of that in just a year?
Could you also imagine that in less than a decade we would turf Steven Harper? That scientific integrity would become a cornerstone of collective agreements in the public service? That we would make historic wins at our central table? That we would spearhead the creation of a chief science advisor? And shine a light on tax fairness, pay equity and contracting out in the halls of parliament?
Well, we did! You did it!
One key takeaway from my eight years as President is that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
It takes people from the east coast, people from the west coast, people from our territories, and people from our national capital region. It takes dedicated workers on farms, in hospitals, on vessels, in offices and laboratories. It takes ordinary people with a vision for a better future to make these changes happen. It takes you.
To my fellow PIPSC colleagues, thank you for your perseverance, professionalism, hard work, and support over the last eight years. Each and every one of you makes this union thrive. And in fact, you have helped me thrive.
I also want to give a special thanks to my partner, Rob Trudeau. This job is not always easy, and as union leaders we must often make difficult decisions. You have supported me, and stood by me as my rock over the last few years. Through every challenge and every triumph, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and friend to lean on. Thank you!
I know that as PIPSC moves forward you will all continue to do amazing things. You will defend the rights of our members. You will make extraordinary changes. You will move Canada forward into a brighter future. I know this, because as a union, it is what we do best.
Thank you everybody!