Nanaimo SP Sub-Group

DRAFT MINUTES from 2022/23 Annual General Meeting


  1. Call to Order: Nick Leone called the meeting to order at 12:00 pm, and provided a land acknowledgement. A total of 41 members attended the meeting.  The meeting took place in-person at the Pacific Biological Station (PBS), with 19 members in the meeting room and also members attending “in person” but joining the meeting as a group via Microsoft Teams from the DFO South Coast Area Headquarters (SCA-HQ) office (4)  and the DFO Port Hardy office (3).  Members also attended remotely via Microsoft Teams from home offices (15). Nick Leone introduced the current executive: Nick Leone (President); Sean MacConnachie (Vice President); John Candy (Treasurer); Linda Nichol (Secretary); Members at large: Gabrielle Soucy, Michelle Charbonneau; Shelee Hamilton; Tammy Norgard; Anna Magera (on maternity leave); Maria Cornthwaite.  Nick also highlighted that Linda, Michelle, and Maria are also Union Stewards.


  1. Preamble: Nick welcomed all the in person and online attendees and expressed appreciation for everyone’s interest and participation.


  1. Approval of the Agenda: Nick asked for additions to the agenda.  None were provided.  Motion to accept the agenda John Candy/Jocelyn Nelson.


  1. Adoption of the Minutes from 2020 AGM: Motion to accept the minutes of the last AGM (held November 2021) Maria Cornthwaite/Tammy Norgard.


  1. Business arising from the last AGM:  the need to renew the executive; this was a primary objective at the current AGM.


  1. Report from the President: Nick presented the President’s report (attached).


  1. Annual Financial Report: John Candy presented the financial report for 2022 (attached).   A member asked what are the limits of what we can carry over from year to year.  John responded that the maximum amount is 5K.  Nick noted that if additional funds are needed within a year, they can be requested regionally and nationally.


A member asked whether the sub group pays for the cost of having someone from regional or national PIPSC come to speak to the group – it was noted that this type of event is usually not covered by sub group funds, other than sometimes providing lunch.  Nick noted that PIPSC (not the sub group or individual) covers travel expenses whenever members travel on official union business. The financial report was accepted: Motioned Sean MacConnachie/Maria Cornthwaite.


  1. Election of President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary : as a result of the Pandemic during which we missed an AGM, this is the second AGM during which all the positions were up for re-election in the same year.  Normally the intent is to stagger to the terms of office.   On the current executive, some members have retired, and others are stepping down after serving for many years.  Nick noted that opportunities to volunteer for executive positions may exist following the AGM if all positions are not filled, or in the event that executive members step down during the year.


A member asked about the risk of dissolving the sub-group and how many are needed on the executive.  Nick responded that at least 3  of the 4 core positions need to be filled (i.e. a President plus two of VP, Secretary, Treasurer) but ideally we want to fill all positions including members- at- large.  He noted that Sub Groups across the country are all having challenges with member engagement, but noted that without the Sub Group there are no funds for work-community events such as BBQs, Children’s Xmas party, etc. and also less direct communication and engagement for members about important union related issues.


A member asked about the time commitment required.  It was noted that the President’s role takes the most time but in general it’s whatever a member wants to put in.  The executive generally meets 1-2 times per year and different people may participate in / help plan various events.  The president/vice-president attends regular virtual meetings with the other SP subgroup presidents/vice-presidents and the SP group executive.  Members-at-large help out as needed, such as providing technical support at meetings or providing backup if the secretary is unavailable.


Nick introduced Sean MacConnachie as the Elections Officer and handed the floor to Sean.  Although currently the Vice President, Sean is eligible for this role because he is stepping down. Nominations received in advance of the AGM: Maria Cornthwaite (president), Michelle Charbonneau (treasurer), Kayleigh Gillespie and Katherine Charles (secretary). 


No nominations were received for Vice President in advance of the meeting.  As there were two nominations for the position of secretary and none for Vice President, the two nominees discussed, and Kayleigh Gillespie agreed to withdraw from the election for Secretary and was then nominated for Vice President.  No further nominations were received from the floor.  The following were elected by acclamation:


  • President: Maria Cornthwaite
  • Vice President: Kayleigh Gillespie
  • Treasurer: Michelle Charbonneau
  • Secretary: Katherine Charles


  1. Appointment of Members at Large: The following were appointed as Members at Large:
  • Michael Folkes
  • Jocelyn Nelson
  • Linda Nichol
  • Tammy Norgard
  • Monique Raap

Shelee Hamilton was appointed as a Member at Large, but following the meeting decided to withdraw to allow a non-DFO member who has expressed interest to join.  Gabrielle Soucy was subsequently appointed as a Member at Large by unanimous vote from the executive.

  1. Round Table Discussion: A member asked whether we have had participation from outside DFO / outside Nanaimo.  It was noted that all attendees at the current meeting were DFO, but included people from Duncan and Port Hardy.  It was agreed that participation from outside Nanaimo and from other federal departments should be encouraged, and the new executive could explore changing the sub group name to reflect that the geographic area is much broader than Nanaimo (e.g. Central and North Vancouver Island).  It was noted that a member from outside DFO north of Nanaimo had expressed interest in joining the executive but had not attended the meeting; the new executive will explore how many Members at Large are allowed and will attempt to recruit this individual as a Member at Large.  It was also noted that while all the events funded in 2022 were Nanaimo-based, other offices only have to ask for support.


A member asked whether travel would be part of bargaining, as difficulty getting approvals and the recently announced cuts to government travel will impact biologists.  The new executive could hold a bargaining update “lunch and learn” session in the next few months, and members will have the opportunity to ask questions. 


A member asked about the role of the three stewards who are also members of the executive.  The member noted that all three are SP stewards but spend time supporting others such as the RE group, as there are no RE stewards locally, and very few in DFO nationally.


A member asked about the membership list / mailing list for the Sub Group as he and others had not received an invitation to the AGM.  It was noted that the list received by the Sub Group from PIPSC always has a time lag in new members being added.  However, a steward noted that an ongoing problem is that new employees are rarely introduced to their union stewards, so there is no opportunity to manually add new members to the sub group mailing list, and newer employees may not know they need to sign up / opt-in to the union.


A member requested that a list of the new executive be sent out to the membership following the AGM.


  1. Action items:


  • Determine how many Members at Large are allowed and whether this number can be changed if needed.
  • Executive to attempt to recruit Health Canada member who had expressed interest prior to AGM as Member at Large
  • Organize “lunch and learn” bargaining update
  • Improve the membership list; try to reach more people.
  • Send list of new executive to members following the AGM.


  1.   Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 1:25 pm.


Attendance at March 30 2023 PIPSC SP Sub-group AGM

A total of 41 members attended the hybrid meeting

In person at PBS (19)

  • Michael Folkes (DFO - PBS)
  • Sheena Majewski (DFO - PBS)
  • Audrey Ty (DFO - PBS)
  • Erin Rechistky (DFO- SCA HQ)
  • Chrys Neville (DFO - PBS)
  • Jocelyn Nelson (DFO - PBS)
  • Maria Cornthwaite (DFO - PBS)
  • Katherine Charles (DFO - PBS)
  • Brett Howard (DFO - PBS)
  • Kayleigh Gillespie (DFO - PBS)
  • John Candy (DFO - retired)
  • Sean MacConnachie (DFO - PBS)
  • Shelee Hamilton (DFO - PBS)
  • Erin Herder (DFO - PBS)
  • Steve Schut (DFO - PBS)
  • Athena Ogden (DFO - PBS)
  • Monique Raap (DFO - PBS)
  • Tammy Norgard (DFO – PBS)
  • Nick Leone (DFO – retired)


In person at Whitmore Building (South Coast Area HQ), joined via MS Teams (4):

  • Rachel McGuiness (DFO – SCA HQ)
  • Jenny Smith (DFO – SCA HQ)
  • Amy Ganton (DFO – SCA HQ)
  • Erin Sowerby Green (DFO - PBS)


In person at Port Hardy Office, joined via MS Teams (3):

  • Mathew Clarke (DFO Port Hardy Office)
  • Kiana Matwichuk (DFO Port Hardy Office)
  • Todd Johannssen (DFO Port Hardy Office)


Joined via MS teams from home offices (15):

  • Linda Nichol (DFO – PBS)
  • Jonathan Martin (DFO – PBS)
  • Michelle Charbonneau (DFO – PBS)
  • Jonathan Faris (DFO – PBS)
  • Karalea Cantera (DFO – SCA-HQ)
  • Howard Stiff (DFO – PBS)
  • Sarah Dudas (DFO – PBS)
  • Marissa Miles Clark (DFO – PBS)
  • Melissa Nottingham (DFO – Duncan)
  • Shannon Obradovich (DFO – PBS)
  • Gabrielle Soucy (DFO – PBS)
  • Leah Walker (DFO – PBS)
  • Shane Servant (DFO-PBS)
  • Vanessa Smith (DFO – PBS)
  • Laura Tessier (DFO – PBS)



SP Nanaimo Subgroup 2022 AGM President’s Report


Since its last AGM November 2021, your SP Nanaimo Subgroup Executive has continued to face challenges towards meeting the needs of its members, specifically routine communications, membership engagement, recruitment & succession planning. From a National perspective, it appears we we’re not alone; as many of our Regional Subgroups have faced similar challenges. However, we realise these elements are crucial towards sustaining a functional & active subgroup required to meaningfully profile and advance member’s issues & concerns. This in large part was due to Pandemic times & circumstances, the subsequent ‘seismic shift towards remote telework environment and in honesty, an inability to effectively recruit or replenish executive positions, with many of our current Executive having been in their respective roles for some time, facing increasing work pressures & work-homelife balance. This is where many hands can help lighten the load & encourage further involvement. With this context, and as we’ve communicated more recently, we believe its time for a meaningful transition within the executive – hoping/seeking to rejuvenate the SG Executive; not only to continue the meaningful role of the subgroup as an integral part of PIPSC operations, but to hopefully diversify, innovate and improve on ways & means to better advance the needs of our membership, particularly for the many newer employees of the public service, as the demographic of the Public Service continues to evolve. As the past few years have shown – times and circumstances change and have had genuine impact on our work lives & environment; and a functional, informed & engaged Subgroup is crucial to your Unions efforts to maintain & improve our workplace & employment benefits. An active subgroup is ever more crucial during times of renewal of our Collective Agreements & support of the Bargaining process, such as we’re currently experiencing (2022-23). An informed & engaged membership is the best means to highlight, advocate & advance key employment needs.


So, while perhaps engagement & recruitment efforts have fallen short of desired expectations, importantly, we did manage to meet the requirements towards maintaining the Subgroup Executive & operations. We’ve also been working in the background on development of a number of tools to better support operations & meet member needs; while acknowledging the need for expanding diversity of experience, knowledge & opinion as key assets for maintaining operational relevance of the subgroup. We were also able to continue to provide financial support to certain annual events, profiling the benefits of PIPSC, including a key contribution towards our local food bank, respecting the growing challenges of the current economic times & impacts on local workforce. However, this AGM marks what we believe to be a key turning point of the Nanaimo Subgroup – its future direction & sustainability. Your Union is comprised of and functions based on its constituent ‘parts’ and most importantly, an informed & engaged SG membership. Your – Our employment best interests are in our own hands, and as such your Union – your Subgroup needs you! Please consider how you can perhaps better support your Union – your colleagues, and yourselves in finding ways to stay active, engaged & supportive of your Union; whether through general involvement & support of Union functions & events, ongoing dialogue & communication with colleagues & your SG executive, through becoming a Union Steward or, a role on the executive committee, or as a member of the Health & safety or Union-Management committees. An ‘operational’ Subgroup is there to help provide direction & guidance around such employee interests. Essentially employees helping others & themselves in making our work & work environment the best it can be. We encourage your interest & consideration in stepping forward in some capacity to help your Subgroup & your Union.


Remember – your Union is about YOU, the employee and your work, your colleagues. Many of our workplace benefits, including workplace wellbeing are in large part, the result of Union dedication, support, and advocacy over many years. Please consider participating and playing a role (Regional and/or local Subgroup Executives).


For more information, please feel free to reach out to a steward or a member of the sub-group executive below, earlier distributed reference material or your  PIPSC website.


As I will be stepping down from the Subgroup executive upon conclusion of this AGM, I want to acknowledge and thank my colleagues & fellow executive members for their service & dedication over these past number of years, and to wish the Subgroup & its new executive success in continuing to advocate on behalf of public service employees, their workplace & benefits.


Yours In Solidarity / Sincerely, President: Nick Leone

On behalf of the SP Nanaimo Subgroup Executive


Vice President: Sean MacConnachie 

Treasurer: John Candy

Secretary: Linda Nichol (Steward)

Members at large:           Michelle Charbonneau (Steward), Maria Cornthwaite (Steward), Tammy Norgard, Shelee Hamilton, Anna Magera, Gabrielle Soucy



Nanaimo SP Sub-Group

Notice of 2022/23 Annual General Meeting


When:             Date:   Thursday March 30, 2023 12:00 – 1:30 pm


Location:        THIS IS A HYBRID SESSION:

  • In-person: Pacific Biological Station Seminar Room
  • On Teams: see below for link and connection details


Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees


The SP Nanaimo Sub-Group will provide a pizza lunch to all those who attend in person at PBS or any other DFO office with at least three in-person attendees. For PBS attendees, please RSVP to Linda Nichol ( or 250-616-1706) by noon March 29th and we will order enough pizza for everyone! For DFO offices other than PBS, please have one organizer contact Linda on March 29th and we will arrange reimbursement.


Notice on Elections: Elections for the 2022-2023 AGM will be held for ALL EXECUTIVE POSITIONS (see Agenda below). Nominations may be sent to the Elections Officer, Sean MacConnachie by email at If you had already indicated that you were interested in standing for a position, that information has been passed on to Sean. Nominations may also be made at the meeting.


Minutes from the previous AGM (Nov 30, 2021) will be moved for adoption at this AGM. They are available for your review on the PIPSC website and also attached below to this notice.


**Please forward any additional agenda items to Linda Nichol by 4:00 pm March 24.


Statement of Objectives for the 2022-2023 AGM:


1.      Reports from the 2022-2023 Subgroup president and treasurer;

2.      Election of New Members to the Subgroup Executive in order to allow the Subgroup to continue;

3.      To encourage & enhance member participation & active engagement in

PIPSC/Subgroup affairs – particularly in view of ongoing collective bargaining.

4.      Request for members input on Subgroup affairs and member concerns


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