Annual General Meeting of the Lennoxville Branch of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

December 18, 2018,11:00 am, Room 5, Sévigny Building

Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Attendance: Martin Lessard (President/Steward), Mélissa Duplessis (Vice-President), Dominic Poulin-Laprade (Secretary-Treasurer), Mélanie Borduas (Member-at-Large), Pierre Lacasse (Steward), Guylaine Talbot (Steward), Danyel Bueno Dalto (Steward), Jérôme Lapointe, Marcel Marcoux, J. Jacques Matte, Hélène Lapierre, Daniel Ouellet, Candido Pomar, Isabelle Breune, Mélanie Borduas, Christiane Girard, Isabelle Audet, Nancy Raymond, Pauline Bilodeau, Vincent Gariépy, Eveline Ibeagha-Awemu, Luigi Faucitano, Bernard Goyette, Rajinikanth Rajagopal, Céline Ster, Yvon Brodeur (Quebec Director), Stéphane Aubry (PIPSC Vice-President).

  1. Call to Order

At 11:10 a.m.

  1. Approval of the Agenda

The President went over the agenda and asked if there were any items that needed to be added under Other Business. Guylaine Talbot added to the agenda a reminder about the role of the social delegate.

C. Girard moved that the agenda be approved. Seconded by P. Lacasse.

  1. Review and Approval of the Minutes of the Last Meeting (January 10, 2018)

The minutes were approved without amendment.

P. Lacasse moved that the minutes be approved. Seconded by J. Matte.

  1. President's Report (Martin Lessard)


Martin Lessard, President, Steward

Mélissa Duplessis, Vice-President

Dominic Poulin-Laprade, Secretary-Treasurer

Mélanie Borduas, Member-at-Large


Guylaine Talbot, Pierre Lacasse, Danyel Bueno Dalto, Martin Lessard

Social Delegate

Guylaine Talbot

Number of members: 36

  1. Union-Management Consultations
  • Two local unionmanagement consultations (April 25 and October 4).
  • Two joint regional union-management consultations (June 14 and December 19)

The main subjects discussed were as follows:

i) Conferences and travel: Lack of flexibility / conferences refused

The union indicated that the call for conference attendance was made early last year. Based on the information available right now, there is not enough money to meet the needs for the upcoming fiscal year. It would be desirable for the Branch to issue a second call in May to update the requests in order to reduce off-cycle requests. It was agreed that, in the next fiscal year, management would send the schedule of calls and the guidelines used by senior management. Senior management will be made aware of this concern to check the possibility of two calls being made, one in November and another in May or June, in order to cut down on the number of off-cycle requests (for action by the DRDT).

H. Lapierre stressed the need for the first call to cover the whole year.

M. Lessard confirmed and added that the second call in May is for the rest of the period.

A number of conferences were refused. However, no explanation was given to the researchers concerned. The union wishes to know if management intends to give a fuller explanation of why the conferences were refused. See Appendix 1 and 2. Management explained that there are general guidelines for this type of request. It was agreed that additional information would be sent to the researchers on this matter (for action by the DRDT).

P. Lacasse asked for an update on the situation disallowing personal travel from being added to conference travel.


(i) Travel restrictions and science outreach

The criteria for approving the participation of researchers and graduate students in science conferences and other events to which they have been invited are once again more restrictive, which means management is refusing a larger number of requests. Participation by researchers and students in science conferences clearly has a significant impact on AAFC research outreach. So it is hard to understand the Branch’s position: “[TRANSLATION] Our Branch has established that the number of conferences granted for the 2018-2019 fiscal year will be two, ONE Canadian/US conference and ONE international conference. This directive is effective immediately and must be applied when making decisions for off-cycle travel approvals.” See Appendix 2.

Moreover, to eliminate any frustration on the part of researchers and to recognize their contribution to the advancement of research, would it not be desirable for the Branch to show a little more flexibility in decision-making?

H. Lapierre asked if the conference requests could be prioritized and if the order of priority be considered by the employer at the time of the decision. M. Lessard agreed to discuss this with our employer.

Yvon Brodeur suggested that this be discussed with the Science Advisory Committee through Jean Bérubé.

C. Pomar is not comfortable with the time it takes to get approval for conferences at which he is a guest speaker.

H. Lapierre added that the organizing committee is waiting for an answer. This committee has to quickly fill the conference program.

P. Lacasse stressed that you can accept if the fees are paid by the conference and, if you do not get approval, you can use your vacation time for it. According to the scientific integrity agreement, it is not necessary to obtain approval to talk about your research.

It was agreed that this matter should be brought to the attention of Catherine Keir, who represents PIPSC members at AAFC's national union-management consultations.

ii) Postdoctoral Research Program:

The union would like employees recruited under the Postdoctoral Research Program (PRP), as well as their respective supervisors, to be notified of the end date of the program. Management indicated that the PRP contracts stipulate that the program is two and a half years and that it will not be extended.

It was agreed that clarification on the sunset clause would be given at the regional union-management meeting.

Summary of discussions between C. Pomar, G. Talbot, C. Girard, J.J. Matte and M. Lessard: The majority of RES PRP are paid from salary budget within the DRES salary envelope, but with money coming from projects and not from the centre. Previously, NSERC postdocs were paid through operating money.

iii) Miramichi Pay Centre – Phoenix Problems

A number of employees are still having pay problems related to Phoenix.

The union asked that management step up its efforts and continue to appeal to the authorities in order to get more help. It is becoming critical that additional resources be requested to resolve the pay problems as soon as possible.

How many people are on the team? Did they receive Phoenix-compatible hardware and full access to Phoenix?

Employer RESPONSE: Seven people are currently working at Pay-Transfer. Two people have full access to Phoenix and another person is waiting for the equipment to be able to access it. The other Pay-Transfer employees can only view Phoenix.

I. Breune asked if they had abandoned the idea of reimbursing people who should be reimbursed.

S. Aubry confirmed that PIPSC's position remains the same and it is demanding that they be reimbursed. However, 300,000 requests are pending in Phoenix, which explains the delays but does not excuse them. In the long term, it is anticipated that payroll will be managed internally, as opposed to the outsourcing done with Phoenix.

J.J. Matte pointed out the injustice that, although payments are in some cases being received three to four years late, the amount of the payment does not include interest for the delay.

In this regard, S. Aubry noted that there are currently policy actions being taken against the government by PIPSC at the public service tribunal.

iv) Evaluation of letters of intent from the last call for research proposals

Several researchers were surprised by the response they received because the reasons for refusing a proposal were summed up in a single sentence and were in no way related to the evaluation criteria. Furthermore, it is impossible to understand how the proposals deemed “worthwhile” were evaluated for all of the criteria because no final score was given.

Therefore, there was clearly a procedural problem in evaluating the letters of intent because the evaluation committee’s decision does not take into account the criteria described in the documents made available to the researchers during the call for proposals, and a single comment that had nothing to do with the criteria was sufficient to exclude a number of proposals in the process.

We also feel that the scientific integrity principles and guidelines were not followed during the letter of intent evaluation.


  • Can the STB senior management explain why the process and criteria stated in the call for letters of intent were not adhered to?
  • What does the STB senior management plan to do to address the situation?
  • What does the STB senior management plan to do to avoid similar situations that go against AppendixE of the RE (Research) Group collective agreement and AppendixD of the SP (Applied Science and Patent Examination) Group collective agreement?

P. Lacasse argued that the issue must be brought to the national union-management meeting by Catherine Keir.

P. Lacasse mentioned the possibility of filing a complaint with the Research Directorate's Ethics Committee. M. Lessard pointed out that if we take that direction, we need to create a committee.

C. Girard reported that Ian Campbell told him they have not used the evaluation criteria for four years because they do not reflect what they want. Some projects they want are poorly rated according to the criteria and vice versa.

P. Lacasse added that they use refusal criteria for which they have no information (competence in relation to the contents of the CV, which is not provided at the letter of intent stage).

v) Other activities:

  • PIPSCPSAC Lunch and Learn: Presentation of the talk by Dr. Serge Marquis entitled “Du plaisir et du sens dans la vie de tous les jours (pleasure and meaning in everyday life).” His talk can be found at
  • Participation in the Regional Council (May 4 to 5, 2018 in Magog)
  • Méchoui des employés(May 30, 2018)
  • Lunch – Skewers on the BBQ (June 20, 2018)
  1. Financial Report (Dominic Poulin-Laprade)

D. Poulin-Laprade presented the financial statement (see Annex 3). Members were invited to propose social activities that could be funded by the union for next year.

D. Ouellet suggested increasing the contribution to the social club to $10 per member. The Executive Council will decide on the amount of the increase following a discussion with the social club and a review of the budget (moved by S. Aubry, seconded by M. Lessard). Excerpt from the minutes of the 2017 AGM: “[Translation] J. Lapointe pointed out that we contribute in the same way as PSAC. M.Lessard said he was reluctant to do this because social club activities are not union activities. P.Lacasse added that our budget may be audited and we are not allowed to give to charities or fund non-union activities.” However, social club activities bring members together and the club is not a charitable organization.

Approved by H. Lapierre, seconded by C. Girard.

  1. News from the Groups / Bargaining

The information below was taken from the PIPSC website in December 2018.

  • Re Group (M. Duplessis)

  1. December 12, 2018: For the renewal of collective agreements, two rounds of proposals were presented at PIPSC’s central bargaining table in 2018. The employer also submitted proposals at the PIPSC Common Table in 2018. These documents are available on the Institute's website. The collective agreement expired on September 30, 2018.

In summary, the following are the key items that have been identified for the upcoming collective agreement negotiations:

    1. Addition of a paid statutory holiday (Family Day or other holiday for provinces where this leave does not exist, e.g. Quebec)
    2. Parental leave, family obligations, critical illness leave
    3. Joint proposal to counter harassment at work
    4. Joint proposal on pay administration and simplification of slips
    5. Term of agreement
    6. Economic increase (remuneration)
  1. There was an RE Group Executive election. The vote took place from November 9 to December 7, 2018. There were no nominations for the Quebec Region so the Executive will appoint someone to this position.
  2. May 14, 2018: A guide on what to do when the employer refuses to allow us to attend conferences has been posted on the PIPSC website. It deals with how to properly complete your application to increase your chances of approval and provides tips on what to do based on the reasons provided by the employer.
  • SP Group (M. Marcoux)

The agreement expired on September 30, 2018.

  • AV Group - PG, CO, AU (M. Borduas)

The agreement expired on June 20, 2018.

  • CS Group

  1. PIPSC’s key issues (challenges) (Y. Brodeur, Quebec Regional Director)
    1. Several Quebec committees have been formed:
      1. Young Professionals Committee (the committee could provide money for some young people to visit the research centre)
      2. Status of Women Committee
      3. House of Commons lobbying committee
      4. Diversity action committee
      5. By-Laws and Policies / Dispute Resolution Committee (resolution and training)
      6. Other
    2. Training opportunities for Stewards
      1. Leadership
      2. Social Approach (Stewards)
      3. Dispute Resolution
    3. Capsules on Scientific Integrity
      1. AAFC
      2. Natural Resources Canada - Jean Bérubé
      3. CFIA
      4. Outsourcing
    4. Quebec has approximately 5800 PIPSC members
    5. Total of 60,000 members (most are federal employees - S. Aubry)
  1. Other Business

Reminder of the social delegate role - G. Talbot

  • Three-day course held in Drummondville last year
  • Support for people in difficulty (personal or work life)
  • Individual office. Confidential. Listening and referral to available resources.
  1. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m.

Moved by J. Lapointe, seconded by P Lacasse.

  1. Lunch followed by a presentation of the new sick leave agreement - Employee Wellness Support Program (S. Aubry, PIPSC Vice-President).

Minutes prepared by Dominic Poulin-Laprade, December 21, 2018.

Appendix 1


STB managers will review and measure the merit of each travel request submitted for approval in a fair and just manner, taking into consideration TBS Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, AAFC policies and STB travel budgets, while ensuring the best value for money.

STB has developed the criteria outlined in this document to evaluate travel requests:

  • Is this travel necessary in order to achieve departmental mandate and objectives and/or AAFC priorities;
  • Does AAFC have a legal obligation and if so, is there a provision for funding of travel in the contract/agreement;
  • Have Directors at the local level approved the number of participants attending an activity and considered their previous attendance throughout the fiscal year to other activities/events. A strong rationale for the participation of each participant must be provided in order to ensure the numbers are kept to the minimum necessary for the effective conduct of government business;
  • Is the participant an AAFC indeterminate employee? Preference will be given to AAFC indeterminate employees when determining the number of attendees to an activity;
  • Are travel costs in compliance with TBS rates for transportation and accommodations;
  • Furthermore, are travel costs in line with STB budgets at the local level, division and Directorate (travel target);
  • Travel to and from activities/events must be done expeditiously. Travellers are expected to arrive at the destination one day prior to the activity/event start date and to depart the day following the activity/event end date;
  • Personal travel will not be approved as part of a travel request except with Director General written approval;
  • Was the use of email, webinar, videoconference, and teleconference considered, as all requests will be assessed for value for money and the efficient and economical use of resources;
  • It is expected that most travel requests will be planned in advance and submitted for approval in response to the appropriate call. Off-cycle travel requests will only be considered under special circumstances and in emergency situations.



A “Conference” refers to a congress, convention, seminar, symposium or other formal gathering, which are usually organized by a third party external to government, where participants debate or are informed of the status of a discipline (e.g. sciences, economics, technology, management). (This definition is based on the object of expenditure 0823 Conference Fees of the Government-wide Chart of Accounts).

Conference Attendance Criteria

In addition to the General Criteria outlined above, the following criteria will be used to measure and evaluate the merit of each conference attendance request:

  • Is the participant authorized to plan and conduct research?
  • Is the participant a presenting author?
  • Is the participant attending the conference for career development (may be authorized for new employees that may not have results to present or employees that have been asked by management to re-orient their career in a new direction)?
  • Priority for multiple attendance will be applied as follows:
    • Role of participant, prioritized as follows:
      • Keynote speaker, invited speaker or panelist;
      • Chair of a session and presenting;
      • Oral presentation;
      • Poster presentation;
      • Attendee.
    • Number of conferences the participant has or will attend throughout the year:
      • Standard will be 1 conference per fiscal year considering the request meets the criteria defined in this document;
      • Conference participation requests in excess of the established standard may be approved on a case by case basis.
    • Number of STB participants attending a conference:
      • As a general rule, no more than 3 participants shall attend an international conference;
      • Number of participants attending a North American conference will be reviewed on a case by case basis;
      • Special consideration will be given to Canadian Societies, joint society meetings or international conferences held in Canada with respect to the number of participants attending provided a strong justification for attendance is provided for each participant;
      • Special consideration will be applied to international conferences that do not happen every year:
        • Up to 6 participants may attend conferences held every 2 years;
        • Up to 9 participants for those held every 3 years;
        • Up to 12 participants for those held every 4 years;
        • Up to 15 participants for those held every 5 years;
        • Up to 18 participants for those held every 6 years.
      • Exceptions with regards to the number of participants attending a conference will be considered provided a strong justification and rationale is submitted for DG, ADM, DM or Ministerial approval.
  • Other Considerations:
    • Official of a society;
    • Editorial members of a society (VC/Teleconference recommended);
    • Conference organizing committee (VC/Teleconference recommended);
    • Other conference committees (VC/Teleconference recommended).

Third Party Travel

Third Party funded travel is to be counted against the STB Travel targets. Regardless of source of funds, all travel expenditures will be considered as counting towards the Travel Target for the Branch.

Appendix 2

When: Monday, April 30, 2018, 13:14

From: Vallée, Anne Anne.Vallee@AGR.GC.CA

To: AAFC.O QC-Sherbrooke-Tous les employé(e)s / QC-Sherbrooke-All Staff O.AAC QC-Sherbrooke-Touslesemployees@AGR.GC.CA

Subject: IMPORTANT - New Travel Decision Criteria / IMPORTANT : New Travel Decision Criteria

For your information, our Branch has determined that the number of conferences granted for fiscal year 2018-2019 will be two, ONE conference in Canada or the United States and ONE international conference. This directive is effective immediately and must be applied when making decisions for off-cycle travel approvals.

Note that the number of conferences, for this fiscal year was set to two by the STB, ONE conference in Canada or the United States and ONE international conference. These decision criteria are in effect right now and apply to off-cycle travel requests.

Anne Vallée pour / on behalf of Jérôme Lapointe, Acting Director, RDT

Appendix 3