Message from the President
I hope all of you are doing well and enjoyed the past Summer and took some time to rest with family, friends or simply by yourself. A reminder that using all of your annual leave allocation every fiscal year is important. Unused leave weakens our bargaining position when requesting better or additional leave provisions for our members at the bargaining table. If you are experiencing difficultly with your manager approving your leave, please contact a Steward without delay.
I would like to thank all members that attended our events that occurred in the past few months. We had our first in-person event since the pandemic on June 6 at The Bridge Public House, it was a good occasion for our members to reconnect and meet with several distinguished guests from the NR Group Executive & Bargaining Team and the PIPSC Board of Directors. We also had a great Virtual Lunch & Learn on the Duty to Accommodate with guest speaker from PIPSC Christopher Schultz on September 26.
Following the recent announcement by Treasury Board on an upcoming Refocusing of Government Spending, PIPSC has immediately came out to ask to be consulted on any spending reduction plans and strategies. We believe our members are the best positioned to provide advice and recommendations to find efficiencies while avoiding negative impacts on Canadians. The PSPC Consultation Team has requested a special meeting on this topic with our Senior Management. We strongly believe that reduction in the use of external contractors for work that can be done by public servants is a key solution in achieving those efficiencies.
I’m sure many of you have been affected by the recent and ongoing chaotic transition of the Public Service Healthcare Plan (PSHCP) provider from Sun Life to Canada Life. The number of issues have been numerous and unfortunately there seems to be no end in sight. The Institute calls on the Treasury Board as the administrator of this contract to ensure Canada Life provides an adequate level of service to the PSHCP beneficiaries and their dependants without delay.
Our NR Bargaining Team as well as the Central Bargaining Team continue their hard work, make sure to regularly check the website and you inbox for updates. We will welcome Hugo Buttau, NR Bargaining Coordinator as a guest speaker at our Sub-Group AGM where he will provide us with a bargaining update.
The NR Group has created a Working Group dedicated to the issue of Contracting Out. The initial focus is on the Department of National Defence (DND) in collaboration with the local Consultation Team. We hope to be able to use some lessons learned from this initiative in PSPC in the future. I know many of you are highly concerned by the use of contractors instead of public servants, this has many negative impacts including loss of corporate knowledge, loss of training and skills development opportunities and reduced morale of staff. If you witness any inappropriate and/or excessive use of outside contractors for work that should be done by public servants, please reach out to your Sub-Group Executive. Examples will be an important part of building our case to PSPC Senior Management.
Finally, the Sub-Group will be holding it’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) virtually on Tuesday December 5th from 12:00 to 1:00 PM. A formal notice and registration will be sent out by email soon. I hope that you will join us as we conduct our annual business. We will also be holding an election for all eleven (11) positions. I invite you to consider putting your name forward. Don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or one of the current members of the executive if you have any questions on what this entails.
I hope to see you all at our AGM on December 5. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any questions, concerns, or suggestions. I would love to hear from you.
Charles Nellis (he/him), CEP, PMP, LEED Green Associate
PIPSC Resources & News
GCWCC - Choose the Professional Institute Legacy Foundation
The Legacy Foundation is committed to supporting the next generation of professionals. The foundation’s sole purpose is to support the education of deserving young people across Canada. The mission of the Legacy Foundation is to promote the intertwined values of professionalism and service, both to community and to country. This mission is accomplished by awarding scholarships for post-secondary education.
The pursuit of knowledge is a cornerstone value for PIPSC. We have always understood the importance of education to our members and to Canadian society.
Our scholarship program began in 1999 with an endowment from PIPSC members to form a scholarship fund. Since then, corporate sponsors and the PIPSC community have contributed funding for additional scholarships. The Legacy Foundation offers scholarships to children and grandchildren of regular or retired PIPSC members.
As we are in the midst of the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC), the Institute invites it’s members to consider the The Professional Institute Legacy Foundation when making their ePledge donation. You can also make a donation directly to the Foundation on it’s website.
Public service dental plan review to begin soon
PIPSC is eager to begin the long-awaited review of the Public Service Dental Plan (PDSP) in collaboration with our National Joint Council (NJC) partners. This endeavour reflects our ongoing dedication to the well-being and satisfaction of our members.
Our NJC partners’ Dental Plan covers most workers in the federal public service. But, it has not been reviewed since 2018. It requires important updates to secure its value to members.
Health benefits are not negotiable under the Treasury Board’s interpretation of federal public section labour legislation. However, the Government has adopted a collaborative approach to reviewing the benefit plans. We continue to call on Minister Anand to issue a mandate to review the PSDP. We are hoping to enter into a plan review this year.
Most members of the Core Public Administration and members at separate agencies are covered by the PSDP. The NJC dental plan is reviewed concurrently with the identical, but separate, PSAC dental plan (which only covers PSAC members).
The NJC Dental Plan union representatives believe changes to the plan are needed to:
- reflect the increased cost of dental services and include advances in preventative dental care
- ensure the plan can meet the needs of members in difficult life situations and remain competitive in comparison to other major dental plans
- adequately protect members from unneeded treatment
- extend coverage to certain conditions (i.e., provide care for bruxism)
PIPSC is proud to participate in collaborative efforts with the government through the NJC and our plan sponsor. We recognize the important role that good oral health plays in overall well-being, and the significance of comprehensive coverage for our members.
We know our members expect evidence-based plan enhancements that maximize plan value and member health. This includes improving preventative care and expanding treatments for plan members with certain challenging health conditions.
We also appreciate the impact that recent inflation has had on Canadian's pocketbooks. We know that dental services continue to rise along with the cost of living.
By pooling our expertise and resources, we can explore new opportunities and strategies to improve the PSDP for our members. This approach enables us to leverage the collective knowledge and insights of our organizations, producing a more comprehensive and robust dental benefits package.
If you have new suggestions for changes to the plan beyond coverage rates and caps, we invite you to email email@example.com with your specific suggestions.
PIPSC calls on Treasury Board to balance the books by increasing tax revenue and decreasing contracting out
Treasury Board President Anita Anand has given her fellow Cabinet Ministers six weeks to find $15 billion in savings across the federal government. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) President Jennifer Carr is concerned about the impacts these cuts will have on the public services Canadians rely on.
“There are many opportunities for this government to be spending money more responsibly,” Carr said. “But our fear is that we are going to see austerity where we should be seeing innovation – with a focus on short term spending cuts rather than investments that will increase revenue in the long term.”
For years, PIPSC members working in the Canada Revenue Agency have been flagging concerns about the cost to Canadians from international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that every $1 invested in combating this evasion yields $5.75 in tax revenue.
In a 2021 poll, 92% of respondents supported changes to the tax system to make it harder for corporations to game the system and avoid paying their fair share.
“To keep delivering essential services to Canadians, the government must protect its revenue sources,” said Carr. “We represent brilliant CRA auditors and investigators who would love this government’s support in conducting that work.”
Another way this government could get spending under control would be to move away from its reliance on external consultants and contractors.
“This government seems to prefer bringing in expensive consultants rather than hiring full-time staff, and all of us are paying the price,” Carr continued. “In IT departments alone, the federal government outsourced over $24 billion in work to IT consultants, management consultants and temporary help contractors from 2012 to 2021.”
Since the announcement about the cuts, there has been no outreach to public sector unions – or the front line workers they represent – about ways the federal government could be cutting costs.
“PIPSC members are eager to work with Minister Anand to balance this country’s books in a responsible way,” said Carr. “The key first steps will be to address issues like outsourcing and tax fairness.”
Updates to Public Service Healthcare Plan (PSHCP)
On Canada Day (July 1st), Canada Life took over from Sun Life as the administrator of the employer-sponsored Public Service Healthcare Plan. This plan covers most active and retired federal public service workers, as well as their families. At the same time of the changeover, a number of plan improvements and changes were implemented. This transition has resulted in Canada Life’s customer service centre and web portal being overwhelmed - with members reporting excessive wait times and crashed websites. While some hiccups during such a large-scale transfer are expected, it appears that the plan administrator and Treasury Board did not dedicate sufficient resources to facilitate this transition. Canada Life is taking remedial actions to improve plan member experience and the Administrative Authority continues to monitor the situation to ensure Canada Life meets its contractual obligations.
While Canada Life continues to address these issues, plan members are asked to exercise an abundance of patience. If your concern is not urgent, we suggest waiting a couple weeks before reaching out. Most plan provisions remain unchanged, meaning that members will continue to benefit from the same or improved coverage for most medical products and services. Many issues can be corrected retroactively. Information on the updated plan, including an explanation of the legacy protections for medication, is provided in the PIPSC PSHCP member handbook and FAQs. Plan members with legacy protections do not need to contact Canada Life to maintain eligibility for reimbursement. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for some support.
ServicePlus is your member benefits program where you can take advantage of preferential rates, discounts and savings on a variety of products and services available exclusively to members such insurance, retail, travel services, medical services, entertainment and many more. Make sure to check the website often as new partners and promotions appear regularly.
ServicePlus has partnered with an innovative Canadian company to bring you something that helps both today you and future you.
MedNow is a fully-licensed online pharmacy with truly exceptional pricing, (we checked), service and a network of pharmacies that can usually get your medications to you the same day. They offer a secure, simple to use app and website for ordering, optional automatic refills and renewals and a proprietary PillSmart system at no extra cost to make daily medications easy to take and hard to forget.
“But why?” you might ask, your medications are covered by your health insurance through your employer.
Well, first of all, costs will go down with Mednow, which is good.
Rising healthcare costs affect us all, so beyond being the right thing to do, reducing overall plan costs on medication means that there can be more money available to
Update your Contact Information
Have you recently moved or changed your phone number? Or just unsure if we have the most recent contact information? If so, please ensure to Update your Contact Information. If you receive communication from PIPSC on a professional email address, please consider changing it to your personal email. Our emails are often blocked by the employer’s email system.
If you have colleagues that are currently not a member of PIPSC or new employees within your team, please make sure to share this link to sign up with them. New employees are not automatically members of PIPSC, they must sign up.
More PISPC News
Stay current on the latest News & Issues that is of concern to PIPSC visiting this web page.
Upcoming Sub-Group Events
You Sub-Group Executive is very excited to present of series of events this coming year, both virtual and in person. Separate invitations will be sent by email for each of them, please ensure to check your inbox and register.
- 5 December 2023 12:00 to 1:00 PM – Virtual - Annual General Meeting (AGM)
We need your help!
We always need help to organize events and conduct other initiatives for the Sub-Group. Members can also attend our monthly Executive Meetings as observers. If this is of interest to you, please reach out to email@example.com.
We are also always looking for Stewards to join our team to support members. We are especially looking for Stewards that come from equity seeking groups including women, visual minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous individuals, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community. If this is of interest to you, please consult this link and don’t hesitate to reach to a fellow Steward to get a better understanding of the role and determine if it suits you.
We are also in need of volunteers to become members of local Occupational Health & Safety Committees as PIPSC Representatives. This is a great way to become more familiar with an important aspect of the workplace and contribute to improve the safety of the workplace in collaboration with management. Please note that you can only become a member of the Committee of your official place of work. Training is available and offered by the Department. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact anyone on the sub-group executive. We also look forward to your suggestions for lunch-and-learns, or any other type of event that would benefit the members of our sub-group.
If your question is of a personal nature, please contact one of our stewards NR Group Stewards | The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (pipsc.ca)