Seasons Greetings from the Toronto Centre Executive
Toronto Centre News - December 2021
Greetings and Salutations
Your local Executive wishes our members a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa and Happy New Year.
Here’s what went well in 2021
We received money for Phoenix damages in 2021 plus another small amount for late payment. We received good EAP support from Deanna Barlow, Rosanna Gugluetti and Homewood. Our members helped Canadians by volunteering and giving in charitable campaigns. More of our members got promoted and our programs were met despite pandemic conditions. Our stewards worked hard and assisted members in their hour of need. For this I send my heartfelt thanks to our members and stewards for their contributions.
2022 Challenges by KC Tiow, President
Our new Challenges include unadvertised staffing, Korn Ferry tests, unsupervised internet testing, workplace of the future, OROR, classification, and new variants and vaccination attestation.
The Union is as strong as its members’ involvement in preventing unfair hiring practices and reporting of nepotism hiring, pressured oral offers and cheating in unsupervised testing. As our bargaining team is looking into classification exercises to ensure our work commensurate with our work levels, your feedback is essential when the collective bargaining agreement ends on December 22, 2022.
The Omicron virus can be a challenge for fully vaccinated persons and unvaccinated as well, keep safe.
Together, we can, and we must face and overcome the 2022 challenges. I am confident that we will do just that. On behalf of TCTSO AFS executives, we hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season.
Welcome to our Newsletter
by Satie Narain-Simon, VP (AFS), Newsletter Editor
It is now 22 months since we have been living in a state of unpredictably, things that we took for granted, like giving a hug for example, now cannot be done without some sort of caution of ‘what if’. Each of us have had to face some challenge in one way or another; however, we have held our heads up high, gained strength to cope, adjust, and have room for moving forward. Here as the year approaches to another end, it is a time to reflect and count our good graces. With hope and expectation, there is light at the end of the tunnel, let’s bring in 2022 with a blast of goodness! I am wishing each and every one of you joys and love and cheer and laughter! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Here’s to 2022!
We hope you enjoy this edition and look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for future content. This newsletter includes messages from our Toronto Regional Representative, our National President’s final message, general share of happenings during the year and EAP - wellness article. The newsletter concludes with AFS contact information. I would like to thank Sarb Bains (Committee Member), and Renee Monize for their valued input.
Message from Al Ravjiani, Toronto Regional Representative, AFS Group Bargaining Team Member
I want to thank the members for stepping up and contributing towards assisting all those in need during the pandemic. Our members and stewards have worked tirelessly in all areas including delivering food, contributing their time and donating in worthwhile causes to those in need including to the CRACC.
On the work front, the Ontario Region is continuing on with the Organizational Review (OROR). The implementation process will commence soon. All the Director Led Working Groups have been set up. Regular updates are provided by the Regional Representative to the Sub Group President and Vice President from the minutes produced by the joint Union Management Committee.
On the National Front, effective January 1, 2021, PIPSC will have a New Board of Directors. All the details are on the PIPSC website here. For regular updates from PIPSC, please check the PIPSC website.
Finally, I wish everyone Happy Holidays. Please take the time to relax and catch up with families and friends. Be cognizant of social distance and please stay safe.
Summary of the National President's Evaluation - Report 2021
by Renee Monize, Chair of L & L
The president's report released on November 5, 2021, provided some updates that local members might be interested in. Below are some of the highlights:
In our second year facing the COVID-19 pandemic, PIPSC members have continued to bravely respond to the needs of Canadians.
Vaccines are our best shot at getting out of this pandemic. PIPSC supports mandatory vaccination for federal employees, with necessary exceptions, and are actively working with the government to share our views on vaccine policies that best protect you.
The PIPSC team continues to meet regularly with the federal government to address challenges related to remote work and workplace safety. They are pushing the government to continue measures that reduce exposure to COVID-19, including working from home, staggered schedules, and flexibility for family care.
Also, PIPSC continues to negotiate to protect paid leave for childcare, and have secured paid leave for your COVID-19 vaccinations. As more public service employees go back to the workplace, their Return to Workplace working group is already consulting employers on proposed return plans and vaccine policies.
Alongside the federal government, PIPSC created a robust claims framework that ensured thousands of public servants were compensated for losses due to the Phoenix pay system. If you were impacted by Phoenix, you can now make a claim to get back every cent you are owed. We negotiated with the Treasury Board, and got a top-up of compensation for PIPSC members paid by Phoenix.
This past July, an exploratory pilot of the new system was completed with the Department of Canadian Heritage. This pilot was a success and has now been expanded to new departments. PIPSC is proud that they pushed the government to see Phoenix replaced. The Phoenix Help team remains available to support members with any new or ongoing pay errors, and can help expedite solutions where Phoenix errors are causing financial hardship.
PIPSC has successfully completed their first year of the new PIPSC Pension Advisory Committee. They worked hard and are proud to have informed more than 20,000 members about their pensions. Despite the pandemic, their team continued virtual training to help members with their pensions and benefits.
Human Rights and Diversity Committee
Racism, discrimination, Islampohobia and a lack of timely and effective action are nothing new to many federal public service employees. A long-standing history of alienation among BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) public servants needs to be recognized and addressed.
In defense of equity-seeking groups, the president appeared before the Senate Committee on Social Affairs (SOCI) to provide our feedback on how changes to certain provisions of Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act of 2021, may help eliminate barriers that affect equitable employment in the federal public service.
Fifty percent of public service jobs are not advertised to the public. PIPSC pushed for these jobs to be recruited externally, so all Canadians have a chance at fair representation and employment.
Outsourcing and Contracting
Between 2011 and 2018, the federal government outsourced billions in work to IT consultants, management consultants and temporary help contractors. That’s more than the budgets of 5 departments and agencies combined. PIPSC released the next report in our series of investigative reports unpacking the government’s reliance on outsourcing. Part Two: Outsourcing and Gender Equity, shines a light on how contracting out deepens inequities in public service employment.
PIPSC pushed back against more outsourcing in the public sector. I wrote to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Commissioner, Bob Hamilton, and pushed for the halt of third-party contractors to answer questions from Canadians about emergency benefits and their impact on 2020 tax returns.
Career Development and Training
The pandemic has shown just how important our public service workers are in the face of emergency. It has also shown that Canada’s ability to adapt to rapid change is vital. PIPSC has partnered with the Future Skills Centre to bring members a platform that will help address the challenges around reskilling and upskilling our public service.
This platform, Navigar, will help protect the jobs of our members as services and technology rapidly evolve. PIPSC quickly developed Navigar, and are proud to be closing-in on our launch of the system in 2022.
PIPSC has been at the forefront of the fight against tax evasion. In May, the President testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance about the CRA’s efforts to stop tax evasion. We advocated against B-C224 that aimed at transferring tax processing for Quebec residents from the CRA to Revenu Quebec. This bill was defeated.
2021 Federal Election
PIPSC is prepared to work with the new liberal government to support the public servants. As a union, they stand up for the rights of their members and remain a vigilant watchdog to protect our best interests.
The next chapter
Our current president, Debi Daviau, has made the decision not to run for office this year. She has been the PIPSC national president for the last seven years and she has worked hard to protect our members. Our office was very lucky to have her speak at our virtual lunch and learn event on July 7, 2021, in addition to all the other support she has provided us throughout the years. She will be missed. We wish her all the best with her future endeavors.
For the full report please go here to read the President's Evaluation — Report 2021 | The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (pipsc.ca)
Work-life balance and Managing Stress Tips from our new EAP Coordinator by Renee Monize, Chair of L & L
On November 22, 2021, our stewards and executives had a session on work-life balance and managing stress with the CRA’s new EAP coordinator Deanna Barlow. We would like to share some of the information with you.
What is work life balance?
Work life balance has two main aspects associated with it
(1) Lack of time and scheduling conflicts
(2) Feeling overwhelmed, overloaded or stressed by pressures of multiple roles
How to get into balance?
Conduct an audit-start by keeping a daily activity log
• Activity description
• How I feel
• Value (high, medium, low, none)
Learn from your log
• Focus your time and energy on things you can control
• Minimize the number of times you switch between types of tasks
• Minimize activities that deplete you and your energy
• Limit distractions
• Set realistic goals – avoid taking on more than you can handle
• Ask for help
• Take regular breaks
Stress Management - Tips
Take advantage of workplace options as available
• Flex hours
• Compressed work week
• Eat healthy food
• Get active
• Get at least 7 hours of sleep regularly
• Get up from your desk and stretch
• Take breaks
• Develop Mindfulness
• Hobbies and interests
• Connect with family, friends, spiritual and community
• Try to recognize early warning signs of stress
• Take time for yourself
• Try to focus on what you have control over
• Develop Strategies to change your perception and/or response to stress
• Get support
Remember also EAP is always here to help!
Deanna Barlow, EAP Coordinator Counsellor, TCTSO
Happenings - by Satie Narain-Simon, Chair of EAP
It was such a pleasure being able to attend in person meetings, getting into the same space with other colleagues, collaborating towards the wellbeing of our members. We have had the Ontario Steward conference in September, 2021. Something that we all took for granted pre-pandemic, for example; seeing our colleagues in physical form, chatting, sharing a meal – all made this conference a very grateful experience.
Random Acts of Kindness by Satie Narain-Simon, Chair of EAP
My story continues with Gershon, my homeless friend I befriended during the midst of the Pandemic when the streets were bare, and human interaction came to a sudden halt. It was this young man that was a constant, sitting there at the same spot staring at the ripples of the flowing water of the Lake. He never asked for anything as I walked by routinely, this started a sorted kind of a friendship, one of mutual benefits. I get to be grateful for affecting someone, and he gets to be grateful for knowing that someone cares. Here he is in the pic appreciating his new winter boots, an early Xmas present.
Kudos to The Salvation Army Maxwell Meighen Centre for the services they provide to homeless men.
It is important during bargaining to have home emails and telephone numbers of all our members. In this way we can contact you with important bargaining information. Also, if we start to have strike activities, we need to be able to contact you outside of the office. Send this information to Satie Narain-Simon, Roland Bastair- Williams or KC Tiow (their emails can be found on the PIPSC website here.
• Read your PIPSC and AFS newsletters
• Respond to PIPSC surveys
• Ask your steward questions
• Attend union meetings
• Provide your input to stewards
If you’ve read this newsletter, then you’ve already taken the first step to get involved … congratulations!
The Toronto Centre Executive and Stewards are located below. Their emails can be found here.
President KC Tiow
Vice President Satie Narain-Simon
Treasurer Rajan Tharmarajah
Secretary Roland Bastair-Williams
Member-at-Large Renee Monize
Member-at-Large Nesia Cameron
Member-at-Large Amin Lalji
Member-at-Large Julia Bullough
Member-at-Large Carmine Masciangelo
Member-at-Large Arun Sharma
Steward David Darling
Steward Steve Kyskira
Steward Kidane Afeworki
Steward Shelton Chu
Steward Shiping Zhang
Toronto Centre PIPSC Staff Resource - Contact Kim Veller