Nanaimo SP Sub-Group

DRAFT MINUTES from 2023/24 Annual General Meeting


  1. Call to Order: Maria Cornthwaite called the meeting to order at 12 pm and provided a land acknowledgement. Meetings took place in-person at multiple locations, with the chair present at the Pacific Biological Station (PBS), with 20 SP members in the meeting room. Other meeting groups joining via Microsoft Teams included the DFO Front Street office (5 SP members + 1 guest CP subgroup member), DFO Comox/Courtenay (5 SP members), Campbell River (2 SP members) DFO Port Hardy (3 SP members) offices. Members also attended remotely via Microsoft Teams from home offices (12), for a total of 47 PIPSC SP subgroup attendees and one PIPSC CP attendee. There was also an online guest from PIPSC SP National, Tanya Evans.


  1. Introductions: Maria introduced executive members. People were asked to put their names in the chat and Maria mentioned there would be a draw for door prizes based on attendees.


  1. Approval of the Agenda: Maria outlined the agenda. A request for additions to the agenda were made.  No additions offered. Motion to accept agenda: Brianna, seconded by Tammy – motion accepted


  1. Adoption of the Minutes from 2023 AGM: A request for additions to the minutes was made. Motion to accept the minutes of the last AGM (held March 2023) by Tammy, seconded by Jocelyn – motion accepted.


  1. Business arising from the 2023 minutes:
  •  Based on our bylaws up to 11 MAL’s are possible within the executive.  This is consistent with the SP bylaws.
  • Did not succeed in engaging a HC employee who had initially expressed interest in joining the executive.  Will continue to try to engage employees from non-DFO departments.
  • We held one “lunch and learn” bargaining update in May 2023
  • We worked on improving the membership list (e.g. asking for personal emails, trying to track down new employees and others who haven’t signed up).  Continual effort needed!
  • List of new executive members communicated to membership following the 2023 AGM.


  1. New Business:
  1. Presidents Report – Maria Cornthwaite (attached) Motion to accept by Tammy, seconded by Jocelyn, motion accepted
  2. Treasurers Report – Financial report for 2023 - Michelle Charbonneau (to follow)
    • Motion made by Tammy to accept Treasurer’s report, seconded by Katherine, motion accepted
  3. Budget for upcoming year – Michelle Charbonneau         
  • Question: we have been allowed to spend money in the past. Can the union spend for biologists to attend Registered Professional Biologists (RPBio) annual meeting?
  • Reply: We can ask PIPSC national.

Motion to accept budget as proposed with caveat that we can make changes throughout year motion by Linda, seconded by Jocelyn

d. Elections – Christie McMillan

  • Note: In order to ensure the terms of office of the core executive are staggered, the Treasurer and Secretary positions were put up for election.  Michelle Charbonneau expressed the desire to step down from Treasurer to focus more on her steward role.  Several vacancies existed among the MAL positions.

i. Election of Treasurer: . Erin Herder  nominated by Tammy, seconded by Maria. No other nominations received. Erin Herder elected Treasurer by acclamation,

ii. Election of secretary: Katherine Charles nominated by Maria, seconded by Tammy. No other nominations received.  Katherine Charles elected Secretary by acclamation.

iii. Election of members at large: Michelle Charbonneau, Stacey Rehel, Hillary Dennis-Bohm nominated and seconded.  No further nominations received and all three elected by acclimation..


Executive now consists of the following:


Maria Cornthwaite (president)

Kayleigh Gillespie (Vice president)

Erin Herder (Treasurer)

Katherine Charles (Secretary)

Tammy Norgard (MAL)

Jocelyn Nelson (MAL)

Linda Nichol (MAL)

Monique Raap (MAL)

Michelle Charbonneau (MAL)

Stacey Rehel (MAL)

Hillary Dennis-Bohm (MAL)


  1. Guest speaker Tanya Evans from the SP National Executive:


Tanya joining us from Vancouver at Health Canada

What are we doing; monitoring the implementation of the new collective agreement.


  • expires in 2026
  • Next federal election
  • removing barriers to participation in PIPSC by supporting virtual attendance and low key commitments. Involving young members.
  • Monitoring for workforce adjustment.
  • Chief steward career progression group.
  • President trying to increase outreach, communication, and fight for and increase scientific integrity. 
  • Highlighting working members of the SP subgroup. Wanting to profile members with interesting jobs in newsletter to public.
  • Highly encourage to get involved with union regionally or nationally
  • Labour day events and other activities.
  • Fill in surveys. Results directly impact what is discussed at bargaining table.
  •  Consider becoming a steward. Access to training and to a network of stewards.
  • SP AGM on April 6th.


  1. Questions and Round Table:
  • Question regarding the 4 weeks of vacation time after 7 years.  Maria explained that it is not retroactive – rather, it benefits newer employees who will qualify for 4 weeks leave more quickly.  In the year you reach 7 years the extra leave credits are pro-rated to the appropriate proportion of the year; the following year you get the full allotment.
  • Stopping the clock for term employees – union position on this and any possibility of reversal? Tanya will look into this and communicate back to the group via Maria.
  • Phoenix Overpayments.  Members are getting letters.  Depending on how long ago the overpayment occurred, the 6-year statute of limitations may apply.  PIPSC has a team that will assist members. Your local stewards can direct you to that team. Also worthwhile checking out the PSAC webpage dedicated to this issue.  Tanya noted that we’ve just hit the 8th year of implementation of Phoenix system and encourages members to connect with your MP and make sure they know this is an issue and ask them to help.  Success rate of disputing an overpayment? Varies!  Lots of information on GC reddit.
  • Tanya produces an SP newsletter.  She will send a link via Maria.  Newsletter includes links to relevant PIPSC Facebook, twitter, reddit, networking groups, etc. (such as parenting, stewards, etc.)
  1.   Adjournment: The motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Tammy and seconded by Michelle. The meeting was adjourned at 12:57 pm.


Attendance at March 13 2023/2024 PIPSC SP Sub-group AGM

A total of 47  PIPSC SP Subgroup members and 1 CP Subgroup member attended the hybrid meeting

In person at PBS (20)

Brianna Wright (DFO - PBS)

Maria Cornthwaite (DFO - PBS)

Katherine Charles (DFO - PBS)

Erin Herder (DFO - PBS)

Tammy Norgard (DFO - PBS)

Erin Porszt (DFO - PBS)

Christie McMillan (DFO - PBS)

Matt Grinnell (DFO - PBS)

Audrey Ty (DFO - PBS)

Jocelyn Nelson (DFO - PBS)

Alex Dalton (DFO - PBS)

Monique Raap (DFO - PBS)

Andrew McMillan (DFO - PBS)

Heidi Van Vliet (DFO - PBS)

Virginia Noble (DFO - PBS)

Karia Kaukinen (DFO - PBS)

Ted Sweeten (DFO - PBS)

Lenora Turcotte (DFO - PBS)

Hilari Dennis-Bohm (DFO - PBS)

Noel Swain (DFO - PBS)


In person at Front Street, joined via MS Teams (5 SP +1 CP guest):

Kayleigh Gillespie (DFO - PBS)

Maxime Veilleux (DFO- Front Street)

Rachel McGuinness (DFO- Front Street)

Karalea Filipovic (DFO- Front Street)

Vahab Pourfaraj (DFO- Front Street)

Amy Ganton  (DFO- Front Street – guest from CP subgroup of PIPSC)



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

Kiana Matwichuk (DFO Port Hardy Office)

Matthew Clarke (DFO Port Hardy Office)

Coral San Roman (DFO Port Hardy Office)


In person at Comox Office, joined via MS Teams (5):

Stacey Rehel (DFO Comox Office)

Meghan Burton (DFO Comox Office)

Dave Willis (DFO Comox Office)

Anna Magera (DFO Comox Office)

Esther Guimond (DFO Courtenay Office)


In person at Campbell River Office, joined via MS Teams (2):

Maria Diamond (DFO – CR Office)

Adam McFee (DFO – CR Office)


Joined via MS teams from individual/home offices (12):

Linda Nichol (DFO – PBS)

Michelle Charbonneau (DFO – PBS)

Shelee Hamilton  (DFO – PBS)

Jonathan Faris (DFO – PBS)

Howard Stiff (DFO – PBS)

Jason Thompson (DFO – Comox)

Sarah Power (DFO - Comox)

David Semeniuk  (DFO – PBS)

Shannon Obradovich  (DFO – PBS)

Amelia Mahony  (DFO – PBS)

Kristin Gravelle  (DFO – PBS)

Danielle Gunsch  (DFO – PBS)




SP Nanaimo Subgroup 2023/2024 AGM President’s Report


A year ago when we were planning our last AGM, we worried that we wouldn’t have enough interest to keep the sub group going.  Instead, we had over 40 members attend the last AGM, and that trend of increased engagement continued all year.


In April we saw our friends and colleagues in the PSAC go on strike and win themselves – and us – a better deal.  We got to see first-hand the importance of unions, and you showed your solidarity by not doing our colleagues’ work, by walking the picket line on our own time, and by spending sub group funds and your own money on coffee and snacks and lunches for our friends on the line.


In May, we welcomed national SP president Bryan Van Wilgenburg to PBS (and MS Teams) to talk about SP bargaining.  Later in the year, the bargaining team successfully negotiated a new collective agreement, and many of us joined other SPs across the BC-Yukon region to attend an online information session.  The new agreement was signed in December and is posted on the TB website – make sure you check your pay stub today as your new rate of pay should now be in effect!


Last month we joined with the North Central Vancouver Island Branch to host a coffee morning for all staff at PBS.  Many of you came out to meet our Regional Director Morgan Cranny, our Branch VP (and former sub group president) Nick Leone, members of your subgroup executive, and stewards, and many of our friends and colleagues around PBS came out too. 


We have four stewards in our sub group now: Maria, Linda, Michelle, and Alex.  Although as stewards we support all PIPSC members, how lucky we are as a group to have that SP-specific expertise!


Meanwhile, you have continued to reach out with your questions, talked to colleagues, introduced your new staff, and advocated for yourselves and others.  Please keep up the good work!


We continue to navigate our post-pandemic world, and we are entering 2024 facing yet more changes and challenges as our employer starts to “refocus” spending.  Now more than ever we need the union to be a strong presence in our workplaces, to show our employer we are paying attention, and to protect our rights and improve our workplaces.  I think the SP Nanaimo Sub Group has shown we are an informed and engaged membership, ready to take on whatever 2024 throws at us.  Thank you all!


In closing, I want to acknowledge our most excellent sub group executive team who have all balanced busy work and personal lives to keep the sub group running smoothly.  Thank you Kayleigh, Michelle, Kathy, Linda, Tammy, Jocelyn, Monique, and Gabrielle.




Notice of 2023/2024 Annual General Meeting


When: Wednesday March 13, 2024, from 12-1 pm. 


Location: The meeting is hybrid, with opportunities to attend in person.


Pizza lunch is being provided or reimbursed at the following DFO offices:

  • Pacific Biological Station (Nanaimo)
  • 65 Front Street (Nanaimo)
  • Campbell River Tamarac office
  • Comox Office
  • Port Hardy Office


Please add the meeting to your calendar with the attached *.ics file (open the file on your computer and it should add the meeting to your calendar).  We are holding an election - if you want to volunteer for the executive or nominate someone, please contact our elections officer Christie McMillan or bring your nomination to the meeting.  The treasurer, secretary, and several member at large positions are up for re-election.  It would be great to get some folks from other offices!


The minutes from our last AGM are here:

The draft agenda, calendar invitation, and call out for nominations/FAQ is attached.  See the calendar invite for the Teams link.



Yours In Solidarity / Sincerely,


President: Maria Cornthwaite (Steward)

On behalf of the SP Nanaimo Subgroup Executive


Vice President: Kayleigh Gillespie 

Treasurer: Michelle Charbonneau (Steward)

Secretary: Katherine Charles

Members at large: Linda Nichol (Steward), Jocelyn Nelson, Tammy Norgard, Gabrielle Soucy, Monique Raap




SP Nanaimo Sub-Group

2023-2024 Annual General Meeting Draft Agenda

Wednesday March 13 12:00-1:00 pm

Hybrid Meeting: On MS Teams and in person at various DFO offices:

Comox, Campbell River (Tamarac), Port Hardy

Nanaimo (PBS Seminar Room and 65 Front Street Room 504)


  1. Call to Order
  2. Introductions
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Adoption of Minutes from the previous AGM (
  5. Business Arising from the Minutes
  6. New Business
    1. Presidents Report – Maria Cornthwaite
    2. Treasurers Report – Michelle Charbonneau
    3. Budget for upcoming year – Michelle Charbonneau
    4. Elections – Christie McMillan
      1. Election of Treasurer, Secretary, Members at Large
  7. Guest speaker: Tanya Evans from the SP National Executive
  8. Questions and Round Table