SP 501 University Crescent Subgroup News

January 2022

Presidents Report

I hope this newsletter finds you well and that you have been able to take a break from work and enjoy some rest over the holidays. It has been another challenging year, with pandemic uncertainty and ever-mutating variants and as a consequence, changes to public health restrictions including school closures, disruptions to field programs, an overburdened healthcare system, and remote working directives. At Fisheries and Oceans Canada your steward volunteers are available to support you in discussions with the employer regarding child and elder care obligations relating to the covid-19 pandemic or other workplace issues. It is a stressful time for many. If you, a family member or coworker are in distress, please know that employee assistance plans and other resources are available.

Government of Canada Employee Assistance Plan EAP 1-800-268-7708

Klinic Crisis Line at (204) 786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019 

Despite current uncertainties, much progress was made during 2021 in getting back to some of the work and personal activities we have missed. Many of you overcame considerable hurdles to have successful field work campaigns and others relied on the strength of relationships with community partners for successful data collection efforts. We applaud you for adapting to the conditions at hand and meeting departmental goals despite some of the challenges. On a personal note, in July I was able to travel to St. John's Newfoundland to participate in an expedition to the wreck site of the RMS Titanic. As great as being able to participate in the expedition was, equally rewarding was having an opportunity to visit colleagues from the Newfoundland Region.

In November, I was able to travel to Ottawa for the National SP Group Annual General Meeting. It was an opportunity to meet with the SP executive and members and receive updates on discussions with the Treasury Board, presentations on the mandatory vaccination policy and updates relating to formation of the SP Group bargaining team and other initiatives such as discussions with Public Services and Procurement Canada on office space. Bargaining is forecast to start with the Treasury Board at the earliest in late summer 2022.

In December, the Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba Branch held an open house in accordance with public health restrictions at that time. When conditions allow, the SP subgroup executive plans to host an Annual General Meeting. We are hopeful to be able to host an outdoor  event, where safety will be a top consideration. If you are an SP member and are interested in being on the subgroup executive please reach out.

Consultation News

Consultation between employer and union representatives continues regularly. In addition to quarterly local and regional meetings and semi-annual national meetings the committees have been having regular meetings relating to return to facilities, pandemic updates and the Arctic Region Transition Some recent meetings include:

  • The Freshwater Institute Local Union Management Consultation Committee met via Teams (December),
  • The Regional Union Management Consultation Committee and Regional Health and Safety Committee (November).
  • The National Union Management Consultation Committee meeting (December).

Topics at the local level discussions include the Freshwater Institute modernization project, upcoming construction projects, and the future of parking at the Freshwater Institute.

At the regional level topics have included but were not limited to updates on staffing, Phoenix pay Issues, performance management, and clarification on benefits and leave.

At the national level discussions have included the requirement to consider personal circumstances in decisions about tele-work arrangements, updates on initiatives such the Blue Economy Strategy, updates from the Ombuds Office, updates on employment equity, diversity and inclusion and other issues.


Tips and Reminders

Leave code 699 update

As of January 7, 2022, the Treasury Board Secretariat has provided updated guidance around leave code 699 to make it easier for public service workers to access code 699 for caregiving responsibilities. Note that paid leave options such as leave with pay for family-related responsibilities (when the request is for someone in your care) should be used first before leave code 699 will be considered. Some PIPSC members across the country have been told that vacation leave banks must be at zero before accessing leave code 699, this is incorrect. Members seeking code 699 leave with pay should make that request to their employer. If the request is denied or you are forced to take other types of leave, please reach out immediately to a steward.


Leave code 698 for boosters.

Are you eligible for a covid vaccine booster shot?- leave code 698 is available should your appointment be scheduled during working hours.


Personal Leave Days - Use Them or Lose Them 

17.20 b Subject to operational requirements as determined by the Employer and with an advance notice of at least five (5) working days, the employee shall be granted, in each fiscal year, fifteen (15) hours of leave with pay for reasons of a personal nature. This leave can be taken in periods of seven decimal five (7.5) hours or three decimal seven five (3.75) hours each. This leave cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.


Steward Corner

No more Reprisals

Harassment and bullying have no place in a workplace, nor should employees be afraid of retribution or reprisal for speaking out about allegations of wrongdoing, misinterpretation of the collective agreement, harassment or bullying. PIPSC, the Union of Health and Environment Workers (UHEW) and Regional Management are leading a #no more reprisals campaign. Look for posters when you return from the workplace, communication from bargaining agents and management and feel free to use a poster as a virtual Teams background or reach out for more information.


Health and Safety

Have you ever had a health and safety concern or a near miss in the facility or the field? Filling out a near miss report or a hazardous occurrence incident form may prevent an accident or a disabling injury from occurring to you or one of your colleagues. Remember if in doubt- fill it out.


Your interim Subgroup Executive: 

President: Kevin Jacobs

Vice President: Jody Willis

Secretary: Chandra Rodgers

Treasurer: Sheila Atchison