Report of the Regional Vice-President, Ontario – May 2019

As we all know VAC is going through many changes and it is affecting our members in various ways. Workloads are very high, the nature of the jobs is changing, and of course field office staff are not being consulted on these changes.

Members are feeling very frustrated, undervalued and unappreciated. Yet they continue to provide exemplary services. I am proud of our members!

New staff is being hired, but once they realize that the job is not what was presented to them in the postings and interview, they are moving on to other prospects. Retention in VAC is becoming a serious problem.

Recently, I have found that members are leaning more towards group grievances rather than individual grievances. I don’t know whether it is the result of more interaction because of National trainings or they are reaching out to each other more frequently in an effort to find support.My phone has been ringing more often and I am providing more guidance than ever, whether it be for informal conversations with managers or support for member-to- member misunderstandings. In Ontario, I find that the constant turnover of actors is making matters worse.

In the last two months I have had to contact Labour Relations for several grievances that were filed and put in abeyance, from before I took over the RVP position and to my surprise there were 22 in total. I have been working on these and trying hard to get information from members, some of whom have since left the department, or advise that they provided everything to the previous RVP and have no paper work to giveme. It is a challenge but I am diligently trying to tie up all loose ends.

Also, with the constant changes in Labour Relations I have received a list of about 8 –

10 grievances which are on their books and they cannot find any information on. We are working on this together and hopefully will have sorted things out soon. The National President and NEVP have been a great help to me, in many areas. They have great patience and tolerance for my questions and constant texting and phone calls (I am sure they roll their eyes sometimes when they see it is me). Sorry guys!

Toufic and I attended the recent National LMCC with BPA – nothing earth shattering to report.

Since September/October 2018 Local 70012 did not have an executive and after many attempts elections were finally held on March 20th. They now have an executive who I will be working with very closely to ensure that they start off on the right foot. Thank you to our NP and NEVP for attending and holding elections.

Because of this I have been busy with 1st level grievances as well. I have presented about 4 at this level; 3 at 2nd level and 2 at 3rd level. I find that 3rd level grievances are getting more success than the other 2 levels.

Most of the Locals in Ontario will be having elections next year and we will probably see a few new faces atConvention.

Ontario Local Presidents are looking forward to attending the upcoming Presidents’ Conference in May 2019.

In Solidarity

Zarina Khan,
Regional Vice-President, Ontario Region