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Summer Newsletter 2021


Message from the RO RCO Group President

Dear ROs and RCOs,

It has been a long time since we last sent out a group newsletter. I sincerely hope that you, your family and loved ones are all keeping well during the pandemic. It is so important to take vacation and step away from work responsibilities to rest, recharge, and relax – I hope this summer has provided an opportunity for you to do so.


Looking back at 2020, it was a very busy year for the RO RCO group exec, particularly engaging in consultation activities. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, we’ve been meeting regularly with senior management. Meetings were initially 3 times a week in March, then dropped to twice weekly through April and May, then weekly meetings were sufficient from June till early this year when we switched to biweekly meetings. Senior management representatives at these regular briefings include VP Human Resources, VP Corporate Services, Director Labour Relations, Exec Director Health and Safety, and a standing invite to the NRC President (all 3 of them) who has each joined a handful of these meetings. 


There are four main topics that I want to update you on.

         1. Group exec members

The group executive has continued to meet by zoom. We held a successful virtual group AGM in December 2020 with over 100 participants and also carried out an election for group exec positions. This election was the first in recent memory, so I want to thank all the candidates who were interested in contributing to the executive, including many new faces. Following the election, we welcomed Jewelle Johnson-Smith (IRAP Mississauga), Simon Drouin (HHT Royalmount), and Louis Poirier (OCRE Ottawa) as new RO RCO group executive members. They join myself, Cathy Cheung (AERO Ottawa), Stephan Grosse (ACRD Royalmount), Alex Ko (MD Winnipeg), Mary Zborowski (Ottawa), Carsen Banister (CONST Ottawa), Frank Zhang (AEP Ottawa), Dongfang Yang (AST London), and Dev Pinto (HHT Halifax).


There will be a new call for nominations for the group executive appearing in your inbox soon, if not already, for the 2022 executive. Please consider submitting your nomination and becoming more active in the activities of the RO RCO group.


          2. New PIPSC NRC consultation president 

After many years devotedly and effectively serving as Consultation President, Patricia Loder has hung up her consultation president hat, although she remains very active in consultation and other steward activities. A huge thank you, Pat, for your unwavering commitment all these years to improve consultation at NRC to be more collaborative and meaningful. We welcome Louis Poirier who has taken over the helm of Consultation activities at NRC, which is one of the most critical and impactful functions that PIPSC RO RCO representatives engage in on behalf of the group.


          3. MOU RO RCO

The last bargaining round which led to our current collective agreement included a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly review the RO RCO compensation system ( and A joint committee between NRC and PIPSC RO RCO members was struck in Nov 2019 and has been meeting regularly since then. The email that Dan Wayner sent out in April 2021 on changes to the July round of the Human Resources Promotion Committee (HRPC) is one example of the outcomes of the discussions of this committee. Two subcommittees are currently in progress looking at RCO criteria (led by Pat Loder and Dev Pinto) as well as improving the guidance and support to employees and supervisors in the promotion process (led by Cathy Cheung and Stephan Grosse). Stay tuned for more updates on this important work.


          4. Bargaining coming up

Our current collective agreement expires in July 2022. Preparations are underway at PIPSC in anticipation of the upcoming bargaining round. Our group will be assembling our bargaining team in the coming months. We expect that surveys related to bargaining topics will be sent out later in 2021 and early 2022 to help us establish our bargaining priorities.


Finally, we are pleased to announce that the group has updated its logo. The group exec is excited about the refreshed look, we hope you are too!

Be well and stay safe!

Cathy Cheung


NRC Consultation Team update:

This spring Louis Poirier was named the new PIPSC consultation president for the National Research Council. Louis and a team of stewards have been working with Labour Relations staff on a number of files. The most regular item has been our meetings with management to discuss all things COVID-19 and how the pandemic is impacting employees working in the workplace or at home. The team has been working on the Future of Work file which will help to lay the foundation of how staff will work in a post COVID environment. We have also helped the NRC by consulting on both their Wellness and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies. We continue to hold our quarterly Joint Consultation Committee meetings with management and our union partners from the Research Council Employee Association to raise issues and address concerns raised from members through our network of stewards. Looking forward, our team has also begun working with consultation teams from other science based departments and agencies in an effort to engage with the government on four of the five science hubs (Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre, Regulatory and Security Science, TerraCanada Science and Innovation and Tranportation Safety and Technology Science). If you would like more details on anything that we are doing feel free to reach out to our team or contact your local steward.