Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the PIPSC’s Québec City Chapter of the Retired Members Guild, held Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at Le Rascal Restaurant, 5050 Wilfrid-Hamel Boulevard, Québec City, QC G2E 5X5.
1.0 Call to Order
After verification of the quorum, Jean-Pierre Morency, President of Québec City Chapter of the Retired Members Guild (RMG), called the meeting to order at 11:11 a.m. He welcomed all participants.
2.0 Review and Approval of the Agenda
Michel Bédard, seconded by Roch Carrier, moved that the agenda be approved.
3.0 Review and Approval of the October 24, 2018, AGM Minutes
Michel Bédard, seconded by Élie Ahad, moved that the minutes of the AGM of October 24, 2018, be approved.
4.0 Business arising from the Minutes
Item 10.0. Michel Bédard spoke with Lysanne Racine, Secretary of the Québec City Branch. She informed him that she would take care of having the minutes of the Québec City Branch Executive published on the PIPSC website.
Item 11.0. Denis Arsenault sent us the documentation on travel insurance offered by ServicePlus.
Item 12.0. a) Jean-Pierre Morency sent a censure motion to the National Executive of the RMG regarding the mess at their last election. Don Burns resigned following this motion. The RMG’s National Executive passed a first resolution to exonerate Don Burns from any censure and a second resolution to reappoint him Election Committee Chair.
Item 12.0. c) André Cantin released a newsletter in November 2018.
Item 12.0. d) Jean-Pierre Morency contacted the National Office staff to inform them of members’ concerns regarding problems with the Phoenix pay system. Despite all their efforts, there is not much they can do.
That being said, PIPSC reached an agreement with the Treasury Board with regard to employees being compensated for the harm caused by the Phoenix pay system. To obtain this compensation, retired members will have to complete a form, which is not yet available.
Lyne Larocque wondered why retired members had to complete a form when the Treasury Board already had the list of retired members. The evidence is that retired members receive their retroactive payments and then their pension is adjusted following the signing of a collective agreement.
Jean-Pierre Morency will ask Yvon Brodeur to speak to the Board of Directors about whether it is necessary to have retired members complete a form when the Treasury Board already has the list of these members.
Action: Jean-Pierre Morency
5.0 Report by Jean-Pierre Morency, President
2019 will certainly not go down in history for its achievements, at least not for the RMG. There were few actions and decisions endorsed by our central authorities in Ottawa, which had an impact on the Chapter’s executive. We held only two executive meetings in 2019: one in February and the other in September. One action taken by the Chapter’s Executive was to request that the minutes of the RMG’s National Executive meetings be published on the PIPSC website, a matter that had remained unsettled for several months. After difficult discussions and the intervention of our new Regional Representative, Luc Carrière, the minutes are now being published. This will help us better assess the ins and outs of the RMG’s interventions.
We noted that several important issues are being considered by PIPSC that sometimes affect RMG members, namely the difficulties of the Phoenix pay system which continues to affect members and even, by extension, newly retired members who do not receive their severance pay and therefore face significant delays in completing their transition to retirement since this impacts their pension payments. PIPSC put a process in place to assist affected members that can be found on its website https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/phoenix-pay-system.
Similarly, the collective bargaining processes of many groups are still as inefficient and ineffective as ever given the employer’s reluctance to make serious and suitable offers. To date, only 14 of the 35 groups have ratified a total or partial agreement with the TB. The fact that this is an election year is undoubtedly an important factor since Treasury Board negotiators do not seem to have a clear mandate for the offers they are likely to make. The guiding principle seems to be “wait and see,” as they say. However, on a positive note, a few groups have nevertheless succeeded in initialling agreements in principle that will be submitted to their members. But these agreements are nothing to write home about since, among other things, salary increases are around 2% or less, which is about the equivalent of inflation or the increase in the cost of living and often applicable to contracts lasting several years. For more details, please visit: https://pipsc.ca/labour-relations/collective-bargaining
Another subject we have heard little about is the infamous Bill C-27 on pension reform. According to bits of information gleaned here and there, it would seem that this it is still on the order paper of the House of Commons, but hidden in the shadows. The question remains whether it will re-emerge after the elections. Quite clever when you think about it, but one thing is certain, the current Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, is keeping it in his back pocket. Another reason for this may be the legal challenge this approach imposes on New Brunswick public service employees. The federal government is probably waiting for the result of this legal action before bringing the bill back to the forefront.
Another important file likely to affect our members is the well-known Canada-wide Pharmacare project. It is being promoted both internally and externally to PIPSC, but I remain skeptical about the results it will obtain. More information available on the PIPSC website, https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/national-public-drug-plan-all. There is currently pressure to modernize the health insurance system given its obsolescence. It is over 35 years old, but stakeholders remain silent on this necessary modernization. So the question is, if the current health care system is working more or less, what will happen with a new one that disrupts the provincial drug insurance systems already in place? This is yet another opportunity for a federal-provincial “dispute” in the political arena regarding respective jurisdictions. Who will live, will either see or pay…
Several other topics are pending or have been denied by the employer, including the health and dental plans, the disability insurance plan managed by Sun-Life, parental leave, whistleblower protection, etc.
Internally, there are also some important files regarding the future of PIPSC. Of these, one of the most contentious is undoubtedly the one that is referred to as “Professionals Canada.” You’ll probably want to know more on that. For more information, please visit the following website: https://pipsc.ca/about/governance/agm/2019/professionals-canada-task-force-preliminary-report.
In a nutshell, here are the reasons behind this group’s existence as outlined in the document published on the PIPSC website:
Professionals Canada is being proposed as a way for PIPSC to connect with these precarious professionals to accomplish several goals:
· To advance union principles by providing a community, advocacy, expert advice and access to employee-paid benefits. This will advance workers’ rights and help them to protect themselves and their families.
· To enhance the influence of PIPSC by becoming a voice for both unionized and nonunionized professionals, recognizing that there is little opportunity for traditional union growth in either the public or private sectors.
· Create a new revenue stream for PIPSC as a buffer against threats to the Rand Formula
In summary, this is an approach to recruiting professionals from across Canada who, for various reasons, are not unionized or unionizable. It’s more or less—but be careful here. this is just my interpretation—a return to our roots or, rather, a “back to the past”. We’re not talking about unionization, but about a kind of parallel professional organization integrated into PIPSC that could bring these professionals together to help them progress, and defend their jobs and working conditions. I have to admit that it’s a little weird, but as I mentioned earlier, this is my interpretation. The file is complex and voluminous. If you are interested, please consult the previous link. You may be asking what the rationale or logic is behind this approach. I think there is an interesting and relevant indication that our PIPSC leaders are not pushing, or at least not promoting sufficiently, and perhaps rightly so. It seems that there is a fear, as in the USA with the “right to work”, that the government will make the famous RAND formula disappear. If that happened, PIPSC would risk losing more than 50% of its members, and therefore, its income. As you can imagine, this would jeopardize the very existence of the organization.
A different and much less risky approach could have been considered, but for rather obscure and unknown reasons, it was not. If PIPSC lost more than 50% of its members, the same would apply to all public service unions (PSAC, CUPE, NUPGE, etc.). So why not consider a coalition or amalgamation or even a merger of these into a global union organization and put our motto into practice: Better Together! PIPSC would certainly lose its independence in this coalition, but isn’t the most important thing the well-being and advocacy of unionized members? So the real question is: the existence of PIPSC or the rights of members?
Another topic of interest, particularly for retired members, is ServicePlus, where travel insurance has attracted the attention of members in regions like ours, as many of the other services are more concentrated in the Capitale-Nationale Region. An important point was the extension of travel insurance coverage to persons over 70 years of age who will be insurable until their 80th birthday. I believe this is an important asset for recruiting and retaining retired members within the RMG. To this end, we suggested that the National Executive develop a recruitment and retention plan for retired members highlighting this interesting feature. We are still waiting for some feedback or a draft.
On another much simpler and friendlier note, PIPSC is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary. This association was officially founded on February 6, 1920. The official launch of festivities will take place at the November 2019 AGM and will continue through to the 2020 AGM. We hope members will participate by organizing local activities in their areas. I was asked to be one of the collaborators for the Quebec Region. Coincidentally, it is also the 20th anniversary of the RMG’s creation. The two events will be celebrated simultaneously, although RMG celebrations will be much more modest. If you are interested in the details, you can consult the information available on your PIPSC portal under the 100th anniversary tab. Is this one of the reasons it seems that some internal problems have been resolved or do they still exist and are now simply relegated to the past, as often happens in some political circles? According to our sources, it seems that a new collaborative approach has developed within the Board following the December 2018 elections and the arrival of new personalities in office. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that this is indeed the case, but here and there we’ve noted signs of dissatisfaction from some individuals and members.
And speaking of the November 2019 AGM, there doesn’t seem to be, at least to date, any resolution by any of the constituents calling for retired members to be excluded from certain “political” or administrative positions as in the past. Have they finally understood that we are working TOGETHER for the well-being of the organization? File ongoing…
On another note, you will recall that in my report last year, I mentioned that we had a meeting with Terry Sing, RMG President, on May 4, 2018. We expected tangible results following the meeting—at least that’s what Terry promised us. However, we’re still waiting for a follow-up. Unfortunately, I must admit there is inaction among our leaders in addressing our demands. The proof is that we had to fight to get them to finally agree to publish the minutes of their meetings on the PIPSC website, as we do ourselves on a regular basis. This is probably the result of a very different vision of RMG’s mission. We would like it if the goal were not simply to be a “social club”. Although we have no problem with this type of organization, but this is certainly not our approach. Oh! I admit we did get a reaction, however, when we sent them our censure motion regarding the RMG’s last election process in Quebec. It of course seems that we erred in writing this motion because no one ended up being responsible for this state of affairs but, as if by chance, the Election Committee Chair resigned immediately after the motion was denied by the National Executive. In exchange, we received a beautiful letter penned in French from our National President explaining the errors that occurred and the circumstances surrounding them, but again they refused to identify those responsible, probably because these errors were undoubtedly the result of a divine will outside anyone’s jurisdiction.
On a side note, members of the Chapter’s Executive do participate in some related groups and associations. In particular, we have an excellent relationship with the PIPSC Québec City Branch and we attend its AGM. As well, some of us attend the NAFR Québec City Chapter meetings and AGMs. We are also participating members of the Table de concertation des aînés de la Capitale nationale, an organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of seniors in the Québec City, Charlevoix and Portneuf regions.
To conclude, I would say that if we want to have a say in the future of PIPSC we must stay vigilant and above all involved in the various constituents. The guiding principle is therefore “let us be present, participate and get involved to pave the way for the next hundred years of our association.”
Réjean Michaud moved that the President’s report be made available, seconded by André Cantin.
As the points discussed above took longer than expected, we suspended the meeting to have lunch.
6.0 Report by Madeleine Lapointe, Treasurer
Madeleine Lapointe presented the report on the sources and use of the RMG Québec City Chapter’s funds for the period from September 30, 2018 to September 30, 2019.
Jean-Pierre Morency moved that the report be approved, seconded by Denis Arsenault.
7.0 Report by. Luc Carrière, RMG Regional Representative for Quebec
Mr. Carrière created the CS subgroup in Sherbrooke, which has 20 members. He was also involved in the Sherbrooke Branch.
He served as FTQ-RSR ESTRIE Vice-President. The RSR is a network of retired unionists. At the moment, there are eight members, who are all part of the Executive Committee. Their next action is to draft an action plan to recruit members.
Luc Carrière sits on the Board of Directors of Sherbrooke’s AQDR and FADOQ Estrie. He also sits on the Board of Age-Friendly Cities, whose mission it is to improve the living conditions and environments of seniors.
He is a NAFR member.
He attended four RMG National Executive meetings and one RMG Québec City Chapter meeting.
Since Patrick Kinnear lost his position as RMG National Executive President, meeting minutes were no longer posted on the PIPSC website. Following his representations, they are now online. Élie Ahad informed him that the minutes of the RMG’s AGMs are still not posted. He will bring it up at the RMG’s next National Executive meeting.
Action: Luc Carrière
Élie Ahad pointed out that the minutes of the March 2019 meeting on the RMG’s strategic plan had not been published. Luc Carrière will send them to the members of the RMG Québec City Chapter’s Executive.
Action: Luc Carrière
The RMG National Executive cannot force RMG Chapters to publish their minutes on the PIPSC website. Michel Bédard suggested that the by-laws be changed so that only RMG Chapters that have published their minutes on the PIPSC website receive funding. Luc Carrière noted this suggestion.
He noticed that the groups and sub-groups do not want retired members. The RMG is, however, tolerated at the PIPSC level.
Since the RMG is not a constituent entity, the budget is limited. At the next RMG National Executive meeting, they will take a look at funding issues.
As part of PIPSC’s 100th anniversary and the RMG’s 20th anniversary, discussions are underway to bring together all the Presidents of PIPSC constituent entities and the RMG.
Registration with ServicePlus is required to obtain the services offered to members. You must be a PIPSC member to register with ServicePlus. PIPSC should do more to retain retired members.
Michel Bédard suggested that the Québec City Chapter conduct a survey on member satisfaction with the travel insurance offered by ServicePlus at their AGM. Denis Arsenault explained that although the idea was a good one, the members of the Chapter’s Executive received the suggestion too late. Michel Bédard will take care of conducting this survey.
Action: Michel Bédard
Regarding the problems with Phoenix, retired members must first call their former department representative and if that doesn’t work, they must talk to a Steward from their former department. The RMG cannot do anything.
8.0 News from the Quebec Regional Director
In the absence of Yvon Brodeur, Réjean Michaud gave us the Regional update.
A meeting was held last Thursday, where they adopted two resolutions:
. Bilingualism in the region
. Environmental measures (e.g., carpooling, reducing paper consumption)
The treasurer’s report is positive.
PIPSC’s finances are sound. The building in Ottawa is fully leased.
Claims will now be made online rather than on paper.
The Region will offer two $1,000 scholarships to CEGEP students.
Anne Renaud from the regional office is on leave, so there may be delays if we have any requests.
9.0 Report by the Québec City Branch Representative
Réjean Michaud is the Branch’s spokesperson.
The Branch’s AGM was held on October 24 at Espace St-Grégoire. The AGM was supposed to be held at the Aquarium at first, but because SÉPAQ employees were on strike, they had to move to a new location. There were parking problems at Espace St-Grégoire.
The Branch’s financial report is positive.
There were no elections this year, but two people showed interest in sitting on the Executive: a CS and an agronomist.
Participation in the Branch’s summer activity was disappointing.
The Québec City Branch will be offering metal bottles at the PIPSC AGM next week.
Michel Bédard expressed the hope that relations with the Branch remain good.
11.0 Presentation on PIPSC’s 100th and RMG’s 20th anniversaries
Jean-Pierre Morency delivered the presentation.
PIPSC’s 100th anniversary activities will begin at the PIPSC AGM next week and end at next year’s AGM. A big party is planned for next week to celebrate the milestone.
Each regional agency is responsible for their activity.
A contract was given to a historian to write about the past 50 years at PIPSC. The book “Serving the State” highlights PIPSC’s first 50 years. Unfortunately, this book is available in English only. The new book will tell the story of the organization’s 100 years. There will be a French and an English version.
Information on the 100th anniversary celebrations are starting to pop up on the PIPSC website.
More information forthcoming next week.
The RMG’s 20th anniversary will not be very elaborate.
The RMG proposes to give $1,000 in scholarships to members’ grandchildren.
12.0 Other Business and Miscellaneous
a) Old Age Security Pension
Johanne Tremblay told us that she made a large RRSP withdrawal in 2018. As a result of this withdrawal, her Old Age Security pension cheque was cut for three months. She received a letter on the Monday notifying her of the social benefits repayment (tax measure) and on Tuesday, the amount was cut.
b) Payment by Phoenix
Sylvie Lacoursière explained that she retired in 2018. Later, she found that she had deposits in her bank account for which she hadn’t received any supporting documents. For each deposit made by Phoenix, she had to call to obtain the supporting document.
She thought it was a serious problem that a supporting document was not automatically issued when a payment was made by Phoenix because if there were a dispute over the amounts received afterwards, no recourse would be possible without the supporting documents.
She checked with PIPSC but got no answer.
She spoke to Valérie Charrette from the Regional Office about the problem at the last AGM of the Québec City Branch. Valérie Charette contacted Isabelle Roy, PIPSC General Counsel & Chief of Labour Relations Services, who will raise the issue at the Phoenix consultation table.
Réjean Michaud retired in 2019. He received four cheques without supporting documents. He phoned Phoenix but never received the supporting documents. He called back three times and on the third call, the person on the line gave him the requested information over the phone. He filed a grievance on the matter. He still hasn’t received the supporting documents.
Jean-Pierre Morency asked Luc Carrière if he could discuss the issue with the RMG National Executive. Luc Carrière informed us that the RMG National Executive does not handle members’ issues with Phoenix.
Jean-Pierre Morency proposed the issue be addressed at next week’s PIPSC AGM.
Action: Jean-Pierre Morency
c) PAIR Program (Association des proches-aidants de la Capitale-Nationale—the Capitale-Nationale’s caregiver’s association)
Denis Arsenault talked about this organization.
He is a team leader and dispatcher for the PAIR Quebec 03 Agency.
The purpose of this association is to help people confidently remain in their homes. It is a remote telephone monitoring service that ensures the health of the subscriber through a daily telephone call. PAIR also offers services for medication reminders or blood glucose tests, etc. as well as four-hour blocks of respite for family caregivers.
The service is free of charge and available to anyone who requests it. (e.g., seniors, people living alone, couples, etc.).
The organization is subsidized by the City of Québec.
Michel Bédard moved to adjourn the meeting at 3:10 p.m., seconded by Léandre Sévigny.
Québec City Chapter of the Retired Members Guild