I am presenting, in solidarity, the report on my activities from March 2020 to September 2020.
We have all seen our daily activities change in many ways since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The reality of our daily way of life has been greatly put to the test since the beginning of March. COVID-19 has created a lot of collateral damage as you have seen all over the world. Who has not felt anxious, worried or at the end of their rope?
We have all been teleworking since the beginning of the pandemic, which has not been easy to do in certain cases. We all have had our ups and downs; however, we have kept the main objective in mind and that is the HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OUR MEMBERS.
We are team players, and we speak of US rather than of I, as we are devoted to our members and passionate about them. We all know that there was a BEFORE COVID period and there will be an AFTER COVID-19 period. Our reality and the way we work will never be the same; telework will become the new norm along with requests to telework from our members. We have proven that teleworking is possible despite the employer being against it before the pandemic. The employer will no longer have any excuses to refuse employees’ requests to work from home.
It is important for us to remember where we came from and what we have become now. Personally, I am an activist, a Human Rights advocate, and a proud union activist. I DO NOT consider myself a manager; I was elected by our members, and my main mission is to defend our members’ rights. If I had wanted to be a manager, I would not be a union activist as this would go against my values and principles.
I am proud to represent our members from coast to coast in both official languages and to work closely with the National President, our Regional Vice-Presidents (RVPS) as well as the E.O. Coordinator (EOC).
I participated in a grievance hearing about a Phoenix case with the Deputy-Minister (DM). I submitted, with the members’ authorization, the synopsis of each Phoenix case to the Transformation Pay Centre for their urgent and quick action; this was done even before the grievance hearing.
I work with the Compensation Team in Charlottetown as well as PSAC concerning Phoenix errors regarding union dues. I have had lots of communication with PSAC Team members as well as VAC pay to solve these situations.
Since I became NEVP, I have been remarkably busy working with all RVPs providing them with advice and guidance.
I have the National Call Centre Network (NCCN) portfolio. I have shared the most recent Union Management NCCN minutes with the RVPs.
As Chair of the Finance Committee, I would like to sincerely thank Lisa Nelson and Zarina Khan for their collaboration and their hard work. At the request of the National President, the Finance Committee met via teleconference a few times to submit recommendations.
As NEVP, I am Co-Chair of the UVAE Joint Working Group on Harassment and Violence Prevention in the Workplace. This group is a sub-committee of the National Health and Safety Policy Committee.
The objective of the Harassment and Violence Prevention in the Workplace Joint Working Group is to carry out the consultative development of all Bill C-65 requirements, including the development of harassment and workplace violence prevention and incident resolution process within VAC in accordance with the final Regulations.
In addition, the Working Group shall:
participate in consultations regarding the workplace harassment and violence requirements of Bill C-65 including the development of the prevention policy and the resolution process;
participate in the planning and implementation of workplace changes resulting from Bill C-65 Requirements;
provide advice, guidance and recommendations to Senior Management through the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy Committee.
On September 3, 2020, the Working Group attended a training session on changes made to Part II of the Canada Labour Code. The objective of this training was to provide basic knowledge to the members of the Working Group thus ensuring a common understanding of the legislation on the prevention of harassment and violence in the workplace. The working group is planning to meet via MS Teams by the end of October 2020 as these changes related to Bill C-65 will be in effect as of January 1, 2021.
I have recently been appointed UVAE representative on the National Health & Safety Committee for VAC. This committee is needed, however, in my opinion, it is underused. Since adding more representatives to this Committee, we have seen an effort to make the committee function like it should, in the interest of members across the country.
I was very pleased to see the employer offer simultaneous translation to unilingual English persons; this shows a great effort as it is important to be able to express ourselves in the language of choice; it is also a RIGHT whether or not a person is getting the bilingual bonus. We have met in July and in August and we will continue to schedule meetings every two weeks going forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have attended many Webinars organized by PSAC, Quebec on telework, Phoenix compensation and systemic racism. I also will attend upcoming Webinars on topics like the judicial aspect of telework.
I participate in weekly meetings via MS Team and Skype with:
members concerning their Phoenix files;
members with duty to accommodate issues;
Eco-Alliance as I am a member of the building at 233 Gilmour.
I hope I have not forgotten any important information as it is extremely hard to document our work in a few pages. During COVID-19, it is exceedingly difficult to remember everything we do, and the goal of this report is to present a resume.
I remain at your disposal to answer any questions you might have at our NEO meeting.
I end my report with a quote from Desmond Tutu that means a lot to me:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you choose to take the side of the oppressor.”