The 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, November 24, 2021, at Le Rascal Restaurant, 5050 Wilfrid-Hamel Boulevard, Québec City, QC G2E 5X5
- Call to Order
After verification of the quorum, Élie Ahad, standing in for Jean-Pierre Morency, President of Québec City Chapter of the Retired Members Guild (RMG), called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m. He welcomed all participants.
2.0 Review and Approval of the Agenda
Moved by Gédéon Drouin and seconded by Réjean Michaud that the Agenda be approved.
3.0 Review and Approval of the October 30, 2019, AGM Minutes
Moved by Réjean Michaud and seconded by Johanne Tremblay that the minutes of the October 30, 2019, AGM be approved.
4.0 Matters Arising from the October 30, 2019, AGM Minutes
Item 4. Jean-Pierre Morency had undertaken to ask Yvon Brodeur to speak to the PIPSC 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. In the absence of Jean-Pierre Morency and Yvon Brodeur, we were unable to get a response. We will not be taking any action on this item as it is no longer relevant.
Item 7.0. Luc Carrière had undertaken to speak about posting the RMG National Executive minutes on the PIPSC website at the next RMG National Executive meeting. Luc Carrière said that these minutes will no longer be posted.
Item 7.0 Luc Carrière had undertaken to send the RMG Québec City Chapter Executive members the minutes of the RMG National Executive meetings.
Item 7.0 Michel Bédard was to ask the Québec City Chapter to conduct a survey on member satisfaction regarding the travel insurance offered by ServicePlus at their 2020 AGM. Michel Bédard was unable to make this request as the Québec City Chapter held no AGM in 2020. We will not be taking any further action on this item as it is no longer relevant.
Item 12.0. b) Jean-Pierre Morency was to speak at the next PIPSC AGM on the matter of supporting documents not being issued when payments are made through the Phoenix system. He was told that the employer has no obligation to provide supporting documents.
5.0 Report by Jean-Pierre Morency, President, presented by Élie Ahad
It is pretty clear that the last two years have been rather uneventful in terms of our chapter’s activities given the circumstances that we are all well aware of. We are no exception in this regard, likewise for the National Guild and the PIPSC.
We have only had one virtual Executive meeting since 2019. Our 2020 AGM was cancelled as were the local Executive elections. Let’s hope we will see a near-normal return to our activities in the coming months. A look at the PIPSC website shows that few, if any, in-person activities were held for all constituent bodies and that even the PIPSC AGM was held virtually. In fact, the same was true for the 2021 event held on November 5 and 6.
The pandemic has also had an indirect impact on the Guild in general and our Chapter in particular. One specific impact was the resignation of our Regional Representative Luc Carrière, who struggled to see the value of participating in virtual meetings that lacked consistency and results. It must be said that actions, or more precisely the lack of them, contributed to some people leaving the Guild. The pandemic was undoubtedly a key factor in such decisions.
On a more positive note, the PIPSC finally agreed to one of our repeated requests over the past several years—the creation of an internal PIPSC committee on the ins and outs of pension plans. Well, it may only be an advisory committee for now, but it’s still a step in the right direction. Réjean Michaud is a member of this committee and will speak to us about it later. For those of you who are interested, here is the link to the site: https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/announcements/pension-advisory-committee. Unfortunately, you will notice that there is not much information except the fact that this committee exists, at least on paper.
As for the Phoenix “pandemic”, it appears that its effects are slowly easing for everyone, including retired members. A new system has been developed to take over and is currently undergoing preliminary testing with some federal public service organizations. Let’s hope that the mistakes of the past will have served as a lesson and that the various steps of its implementation will be followed and well supervised, but especially that its users will be able to give feedback and be heard and listened to. If there are any retired members who continue to struggle with the complexities of this saga, they are invited to contact the PIPSC, which should be able to help and guide them through this intricate maze.
Another item of importance to members, and particularly retirees, is the status of the federal public service pension or retirement fund. For the moment, it seems that the government has forgotten the changes that it has advocated for in recent years. The actuarial balance is positive and its liquidity is sufficient to cover short- and medium-term expenses, i.e. 5 to 10 years. Those who are interested can find more information here: https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/announcements/protecting-pensions-faqs as well as in the OSFI’s report at https://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/Docs/PSSA2017.pdf. However, one should be watchful as the employer may revisit its previous illusions. Note that the most recent report was released in 2017, with the scheduled 2020 report seemingly postponed due to the pandemic. In the meantime, those interested can obtain an update on the Treasury Board of Canada website at https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/tbs-sct/documents/psm-fpfm/pensions/publications/reports-rapports/pspp-rrfp/2020/pspp-eng.pdf
Another topic of interest is the public service death benefit; details can be obtained at https://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/Docs/PSDB2017.pdf. Again, these are results as of March 31, 2017, but what is notable and of primary importance is the fact that this account has a surplus of nearly $3B. In other words, neither the employer nor the employees should contribute to the plan for several years to come. One of the priorities of the new advisory committee should be adjusting the benefits paid to recipients. In the current context, the amount paid at the time of death of a claimant over 75 years of age could easily be doubled, from $10,000 to $20,000. Other options are possible, such as a reduction in premiums paid or a combination of the two previous suggestions. The PIPSC Pension Advisory Committee and the Guild have their work cut out for them if they truly want to be involved in helping members and retirees.
Now, a word on collective bargaining. The situation is hardly encouraging, as the TB sticks with its traditional modus operandi by ignoring the demands of the public service unions—PSAC and PIPSC—as well as the other partners involved. We should at least recognize some gains made by a minority of groups who chose to bargain together, including a “fantastic” 7% increase over 4 years (sic). For more details, please visit: https://pipsc.ca/labour-relations/collective-bargaining. For information on related topics see the President’s Report here: https://pipsc.ca/about/office-of-the-president/presidents-reports/presidents-evaluation-report-2021.
In closing on the national situation, it is important to note that PIPSC finances are in surplus due to the current situation and the fact that no AGMs, costing approximately $1M each, were held in 2020 and 2021. Below is a brief summary of key financial results for 2021 as at June 30, 2021:
Total Revenues were $58.1M, +/- $5.3M more than budgeted.
Contribution revenue was $4.3M more than budgeted. This surplus was due to the arrival of new members and the collection of arrears.
Investment income was higher than expected due to healthy returns on our investments, which meant we could transfer additional funds to Investments. The amount includes the 6% return on the loans to the Building Trust ($780K). A portion of the investment income was allocated to the Strike Fund.
As for the actions or lack thereof by the Guild, I refer you to a typical example of updates provided to retirees: https://pipsc.ca/groups/rmg. As you can see, it speaks volumes. For all intents and purposes, nothing has happened over the past two years, except for the exceptional fact that a sum of some $333.33 is “supposed” to have been sent to Moisson Québec by the Guild in the name of the Québec City Chapter given that the annual allocations to the chapters were cancelled due to the lack of in-person activities. I wrote “supposed” because after having personally contacted Moisson Québec, they could not find this contribution or donation that should have been made, according to Richard Rice, toward the end of December 2020. After contacting Richard for more details, this was his reply: “The RMG did make a charitable donation to the Québec region at the end of 2020. There are no plans yet for 2021. I have no more information than that.” As the saying goes, it’s a mystery to me.
The PIPSC AGM was held virtually on November 5 and 6. There was a lot of dithering and back and forth in the hope that something positive would come out of it. This year there is a changing of the guard at the highest levels of our organization. Debi has decided not to seek reappointment as President, opening up the position for someone new. Since you probably voted, you were aware of the candidates on the list. The new President, Jennifer Carr, will have her work cut out for her since Debi—whether or not you agreed with her decisions and policies—served her three terms in office in a professional manner and left her mark on the organization in both its current form and moving forward. Quebec has a new Regional Director, Pierre Potvin, replacing Yvon Brodeur who was running for one of the full-time VP positions. Unfortunately, the latter could not be elected and will leave his positions on December 31. Yvon has been a leading figure in federal professional unionism in the region for over 23 years and his absence will certainly be a loss to us all. Let’s hope his replacement will be able to pick up where he left off and propel us into the future with new challenges.
There is no doubt that PIPSC needed a changing of the guard at the political level and probably even among some at the management level. The stakes will be high as some people are deeply rooted in the union and will certainly try to save their own skin. Here’s hoping it all goes relatively smoothly without any clashes or divisions as members would pay the price and the organization would be at great risk of weakening both its internal and external operations with the various stakeholders and constituents.
At the local level, changes are also being considered as several members of the current Executive have decided not to run again. There will also be elections for the National Guild Executive. Hopefully, the newly elected individuals will bring positive fresh change to our local and national constituent bodies.
On a side note, members of the Chapter’s Executive participate in some related groups and associations. In particular, we have had an excellent relationship with the PIPSC Québec City Chapter and have attended AGMs except for the last two years for the reasons stated above. Some of us have also attended NAFR Québec City Chapter meetings and AGMs. We are also participating members of the Table de concertation des personnes aînées de la Capitale-Nationale, an organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of seniors in Region 03, including Québec City, Charlevoix and Portneuf.
To conclude, I would say that if we want to have a say in the future of PIPSC and the Guild we must stay vigilant and above all involved in the various constituent bodies. The guiding principle is therefore to be present, participate and get involved to pave the way for the next hundred years of our association.
Denis Arsenault moved to receive the President’s report, seconded by Réjean Michaud.
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 mentioned that the previous financial statements ended on September 30 instead of December 31 as stipulated in the by-laws of the RMG Québec City Chapter. To comply with these by-laws, we filed a fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2019, and ending on December 31, 2019 (3 months) and another fiscal year beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020. Madeleine Lapointe presented the statements showing the source and use of the funds of the RMG Québec City Chapter for the above-mentioned periods.
Léandre Sévigny moved to accept the financial statements, seconded by Réjean Michaud.
7.0 Update from PIPSC Québec Regional Director (Yvon Brodeur)
In the absence of Yvon Brodeur, Réjean Michaud gave us the Regional update.
Running for full-time Vice-President of the PIPSC Board of Directors, Yvon Brodeur had to relinquish his position as Québec Regional Director. Unfortunately, he lost his election.
The PIPSC Québec Regional Council held its virtual AGM on June 11, 2021.
During the last elections of the PIPSC Quebec Regional Council, five new members were elected, including four from Québec City. Réjean Michaud was appointed Secretary.
The Steward Council was held in person on October 29 and 30, 2021.
Sixty-five Stewards attended the event.
The Council Executive plans to conduct weekend Steward training sessions beginning in February 2022.
8.0 Report by the Québec City Chapter Representative
Réjean Michaud shared the news from the Québec City Chapter.
There were very few meetings due to COVID-19 and the term of the President, Denis Caissy, was extended. The pandemic also meant there was no AGM in 2020 or 2021.
Denis Caissy is organizing a holiday happy hour on December 8 this year at La Voix Maltée.
10.0 Presentation on the National Pension Committee, Guest Speaker Réjean Michaud
The committee was formed in December 2019. There is one representative per region. It is an advisory committee. The committee reports to the President.
The pension fund currently has a surplus. The members of this committee are still monitoring the possible resurrection of a bill to replace our defined benefit pension plan with a target benefit plan. According to the New Brunswick representative, the experience of employees in his province has not been very good. Employees have challenged this change of plan on the grounds that there was a misrepresentation by government authorities to get employees to accept this new plan. It will take years to get the results of these challenges.
The committee is also investigating the large death benefit surplus in the life insurance fund. They are trying to force the Treasury Board to pay a larger compensation.
As for the pension fund investments, they are trying to invest as much as possible in non-polluting industries compared to polluting ones such as oil companies or the automobile industry. However, this is not easy as some members work in these so-called polluting industries. It could have a significant impact on their jobs if we do not invest in this kind of industry.
11.0 Other Business and Miscellaneous
No one ran for any position. If at least three people do not run, the RMG Québec City Chapter will be disbanded. Denis Arsenault will think about it, and if he decides to run for a position, he will take the necessary steps to find two other candidates. He will get back to us on this by mid-January.
Élie Ahad, seconded by Madeleine Lapointe, moved that the meeting be adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
Retired Members Guild Québec City Chapter
November 25, 2021
Jean-Pierre Morency Madeleine Lapointe
President’s Signature Secretary-Treasurer’s Signature