YOUR PIPSC ATLANTIC REGIONAL NEWSLETTER
From the Director
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Even living with health restrictions for yet another year, the year has gone by quickly. Over the past year, we have gotten somewhat used to operating in a virtual environment and we are now slowly changing to operating in a hybrid form for some meetings. If nothing else, this has taught us that the future is generally unpredictable.
Your regional executive has been open from the beginning in finding new ways to stay in touch with our members. We have done so through virtually training sessions with our EROs and guest speakers, such as Dr. Mike Condra. We have held bimonthly steward check-ins and quarterly branch and group presidents meetings. These were an opportunity to have an open discussion amongst the group on any issues they wanted to speak about. Even though everyone is working from home and are constantly on some type of virtual platform, the attendance at our virtual events throughout the year was good. We have had to adapt our way of thinking and operating as a union. The challenges with the employers will always be there and we are ending the year with the vaccine mandate brought in by the employer as quite a divisive policy. Is this a temporary measure to combat the pandemic or will the government make this a permanent change to our conditions of employment? The answer is unknown at the writing of this, although there are indications that a change to the Canada Labour Code is coming in the new year.
As this will be my last address to you as your Regional Director, I wish the incoming Director, Manny Costain much success in keeping the Atlantic Region as one of the leading regions within the Institute. The Atlantic has long been known to be innovative and to think outside the box. We have overcome some struggles that other regions are still facing, one is the inclusion of the NB groups in all that we do. I know we are the best region as we have outstanding members who are always there to support each other. To everyone that I have met along my journey in the region, I thank you for all the love and support that you have given me over the years. I have many friendships that will last a lifetime.
I wish all members a healthy and happy new year in 2022.
Director, Atlantic Region
Atlantic Regional Council
The 77th Atlantic Regional Council held May 29, 2021, looked a lot different this year. Given the ongoing Covid restrictions, we opted to host the business only ARC using Zoom. We had 92 participants attend. Overall, the meeting went well, with only a few technical glitches. Member feedback was generally positive noting Zoom worked well to get the business completed. However, the loss of networking, relationship building, and inability to campaign were resounding themes. Despite being virtual, we continued to meet our goal to give back to the community by hosting a virtual fundraiser. Tickets were sold on a FitBit and Wireless Headphones. Our charity this year was Family SOS: A local non-profit, child-centered organization. Thank you to all who contributed.
Through our virtual elections, we welcomed new members to the executive: Cathy Herbert, Yvonne O'Keefe, and Kelly MacKinnon, and returning members: Mike Pauley, Scott McConaghy, and Christine LeDrew. Congratulations to all. We would like to thank Phil Wilson and Matt Lee for their work on the executive and their dedication to PIPSC members and the Atlantic Region. A big thank you to all who put this meeting together in such a short time frame. We look forward to an in-person ARC in 2022.
102ND PIPSC AGM
The 102nd PIPSC Annual General Meeting was held on November 5th and 6th virtually. The resolutions were reviewed with the Atlantic delegates by a virtual caucus meeting on Monday before the AGM.
The AGM convened at 10:00 am Eastern on Friday morning with an address and a Q&A period by President Debi Daviau. The delegates then commenced the business aspect of the AGM where the budgetary resolutions were presented and debated first. The AGM delegates did approve the 2022 budget. Over the two days, all resolutions submitted were presented and debated on the floor. There was a launching of the Legacy Foundation Cup as well as a Gold Medal Award presented. The AGM adjourned after a tribute to President Daviau and the announcement of the National Election Results.
Constituent Body Executive Training
The Atlantic Regional Executive hosted a training event for Constituent Body Executive members at The Lord Nelson from November 19-20th. Thank you to all participants and the Atlantic Regional Office Staff for assisting. Four members of the Atlantic Regional Executive Training Committee (Kim Skanes, Carolyn Hynes, Christine LeDrew, and Gerald Hill) facilitated the two-day course. The course provided detailed information on the constituent body executive roles such as President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The facilitators provided the participants with an understanding of the PIPSC Structure, where to find what and the fundamentals of parliamentary procedure.
Tree Planting Event
PIPSC St. John’s Branch tree planting to commemorate PIPSC’s 100th anniversary
Since 1920, PIPSC members had an integral role in collecting data that has confirmed we’re facing a climate crisis. Whether it’s surveying the health of our forests, mapping the stars, or protecting the vitality of our marine ecosystems, the services provided by PIPSC members are services that all Canadians rely on.
To commemorate PIPSC’s 100th anniversary, PIPSC partnered with Tree Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment, to plant trees from coast to coast.
The PIPSC St. John's Branch planted 420 native white Spruce and more than 50 native and White Birch trees. The birch will add fall color and fire smart protection of the white spruce trees planted earlier by Tree Canada at the same site, Paradise Elementary. We were excited to have a number of children excited to help us plant the trees, despite the chilly November day.
After a one-year hiatus, the Atlantic Steward Council was once again held in person at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, NS on October 22-23, 2021. There were 50 people in attendance.
Friday the session started with welcoming remarks and an introduction of the Executive by Carolyn Hynes, Chair of the Training Committee. Carolyn thanked the PIPSC Atlantic office for pulling this event together so quickly. Kudos to Donna and Jason for their extremely hard work. Next came the recognition of Stewards – new Stewards at their first-ever council, retiring Stewards at their last council, and the Steward of the Year for 2021: Kelly MacKinnon.
We beamed our outgoing PIPSC President Debi Daviau from BC. Debi gave a heartwarming address, covering her years as President, the issues that have come up, and been resolved, and the fights we still need to undertake to help our members. A question and answer session followed, with many great questions posed by our Stewards.
A Steward Panel, comprised of Craig Bradley (SSC), Manny Costain (CRA), Carolyn Hynes (ESDC), and Kim Keats (DFO) provided great insight and advice to Stewards in the room, sharing experiences and stories that kept the crowd engaged.
Friday evening, Stewards were invited to a night of Axe Throwing. Some of us discovered a skill we never knew we had. Some of us discovered that we should never hold an axe. A good time was had by all, and everyone left with the same amount of fingers they came in with.
Saturday morning got off to a great start when Employment Relations Officer (ERO) Elissa McCarron led an informative session on Performance Management. This was a timely session, as many Stewards were involved in helping members through the performance management season. Next, we heard from our outgoing Regional Director, Kim Skanes. This was Kim’s last Steward Council, as she retires in the spring of 2022. She gave a very moving speech, reminiscing about her time spent on the Atlantic Regional Executive. Everyone wished Kim well in her new adventures.
Greg Scriver was invited to speak to Stewards about Truth and Reconciliation. Greg spoke passionately about his journey as an Indigenous man, and the history and the struggles of all Indigenous people in Canada. He spoke about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, about the changes that have been made, and many changes yet to come. He gave the group some valuable resources and encouraged everyone present to read the TRC Report and the 94 calls to action.
After lunch, Stewards were treated to a session on Case Law & Trends by ERO Max Way. Always an informative and entertaining portion of the Steward Council. I think everyone can agree that Max loves his work! These sessions are a great resource for Stewards in the work they do.
Our final guest was motivational speaker Mark Black, from Moncton, NB. Mark is a double lung and heart transplant recipient. He spoke about his journey and the life lessons he learned along the way. From birth, Mark's life expectancy was not long. Now 43, married with three children, an author, and running a successful company, he has proven that if you believe in yourself and work hard, you can accomplish any goal you set out for yourself. He left us with a great message to end the conference.
As the regional executive's goal is to continue to give back to the community tickets were sold on a Garmin Watch with the proceeds going to The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Center in Halifax, NS.
Calendar of Events
(Items are subject to change)
January 18, 2022, Steward Check-in, virtual
January 28, 2022, Atlantic Regional Training committee meeting
January 29, 2022, Atlantic Regional Executive meeting
February 17-19, 2022 Basic Steward Training, Halifax
March 24-26, 2022 Regional Training School, Wolfville
April 8, 2022, Atlantic Regional Training committee
April 9, 2022, Atlantic Regional Executive
May 26, 2022, Atlantic Regional Executive
May 27, 2022, AYPC meeting
May 27, 2022, Branch and Provincial Group President's meeting
May 27-28, 2022, 78th Atlantic Regional Council
Farewell to Atlantic Regional Director, Kim Skanes
On behalf of all the Atlantic Members, the regional executive would like to thank Kimberley Skanes for her commitment and dedication to the Atlantic members during her reign as Atlantic Regional Director. Kim has always been willing to put in the hard work and has been extremely helpful and kind to all our members in the Atlantic region and the PIPSC Membership as a whole. Kim's openness, dedication, and professionalism were always appreciated. The relationships and friendships that were built during your service will continue to flourish. We wish you all the best in your new endeavors.
Incoming Regional Director
My name is Emmanuel “Manny” Costain and I am your new Atlantic Regional Director. I am looking forward to serving the members of the Atlantic Region and bringing your concerns forward to the PIPSC Board of Directors and working closely with the Atlantic Regional Executive.
I have served on several constituent bodies and committees of the Board over the years. I have also served on a national consultation team and a bargaining team. I will bring those experiences and lessons learned to the role of Regional Director.
Being bilingual I am happy to serve you in the language of your choice. I look forward to talking and meeting with you over my next term.
Please feel free to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
Take care and stay safe.
Getting To Know your Regional Executive
A little about me: My name is Kelly MacKinnon. I have lived in NB all my life. I grew up in Saint John, spent my university years in Fredericton, and now call Riverview home. My husband Tim & I have 4 adult kids and a dog named Ringo. This is my first term on the Executive. After several years in the private sector, I joined the Canada Revenue Agency in 2014. I work in the Moncton office of the NBTSO as an Income Tax Auditor. I am the President of the AFS Moncton Subgroup, I represent PIPSC on the Moncton OSH Committee, and I am the First Aid Co-ordinator for the Moncton office. I also sit on the Atlantic Region Employment Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.
What do I do for fun: As you can tell, I love to volunteer! I have been a member of over 20 boards in my career, in various capacities. I am a CPA and I love to use my accounting & tax skills to help whenever I can. I am currently one of two coordinators of the CPA New Brunswick tax clinics, under the umbrella of the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, an initiative of the CRA. We provide free income tax preparation to low-income earners. I am also a huge music lover. My husband and I take in as many concerts as we can. For the past 18 months, our favorite venue has been our living room, enjoying and supporting our favorite artists virtually whenever and wherever they perform. We hope to attend more in-person events in 2022.
Why I became a Steward: Honestly, I had to sit on the AFS Subgroup Executive. Once I completed my training, I saw so many opportunities to help people. I took as much training as I could (and still do!) I would say being a Steward and helping my members, especially since March 2020, has been the most rewarding work of my career. I look forward to a busy term on the Executive. We have a great team, and there is lots of work to do.
A little about me: Hi, I am Yvonne O’Keefe and I live in St. John’s, NL. I started my career with CRA back in 1997 in Calgary where I lived for 18 years before relocating back to the Rock in 2015.
What do I do for fun? In my off time, I can be found hiking the East Coast Trail or meditating.
Why I became a steward: In Calgary, I became involved with the union and I continue to do so in St. John's.
A little about me: Hi, I’m Cathy Hebert and I am from Dartmouth, NS. I have a fur baby named Pepper who is a 4-year-old Shih Tzu. I have been working as an AU with CRA for just over 10 years and have been with CRA since 2007 and before I worked with Service Canada since 1996.
What do I do for fun? I have been a member of the Ringette community for 48 years, either playing, managing a team, officiating, or being on the board for Ringette Nova Scotia. Currently, I am the Director of Officials. I have limitations due to a disability so this is my way to give back to the ringette community. Also, I help out with the Dartmouth High Girl's High School Hockey Team. I volunteer with my great-niece and nephews little league baseball team.
Why I became a steward: When I started with Service Canada, I was invited to a meeting for the local group. Where I found out we need members to be on the local executive or we would lose our local. I came from working in the private sector for 14 years before joining the Public Service. I come from a family of public servants.
I was interested in what work the union does. When I became, an AU I was approached to become a steward in the Nova Scotia Tax Service Office. I thought this would be a good way to learn about the union and help those members who needed help. I became a steward because I wanted to be a source of information to our membership and I want to help people know and understand their rights.