Wednesday, November 24, 2021

NATIONAL COUNCIL – November 16, 2021 – Post Mortem

For the second consecutive year, the National Council was held in virtual mode. The format fully complies with the obligations set out in the association’s By-Laws but in a condensed and easily accessible version.  In the conventional form, participants meet face-to-face on weekends and limitations are set on the number of participants due to costs (one participant per 50 local members).

As a result, many participants are considering using this formula when the COVID-19 sanitary restrictions will be lifted. In terms of expenses, the savings are enormous. We will have to see what the National Executive Committee thinks about this suggestion in the future.

This year, the Council’s orientation main topics phased around the impact of the epidemic within our workplace and the preparation of the negotiations for the renewal of the collective agreement.

COVID – You Hold Us Back

APS opted to support the employer’s decision to conduct a mandatory survey for a potential return to work in person. Like all other CBC unions, APS opted for support of this measure after internal discussions and it is on this point that the presentation of the National Council was centered by the National President Stéphane Désautels assisted by the General Manager Claude Beausoleil.

Overall, the explanations focused on the legal aspect of the employer’s position and the consequences of the proof of vaccination for the APS members. The participation of APS’s legal counsel team, attorneys Ms. Carr and Mr. Church were particularly insightful. They made comparisons with other federally regulated corporations. This Toronto-based law firm (Caley Wray) has several similar unions among its other clients. Michael Church provided an update tracked by his organization’s research services on the ongoing attempts to protest concluding that to date they have all failed. He described the CBC’s approach as the most tolerant of all he has reviewed. The APS members’ requests for support have not been pouring at the time of the National Council, but each case was carefully considered. The same will apply to all applications in the future.

On the topic of the collective agreement, Stéphane Désautels revealed the composition of the Negotiation Committee representing APS in 2022. The two Presidents of the most important branches of the association, Sébastien Fleurant in Montreal and Nathan Farr in Toronto as well as the association’s acting National Secretary, David MacFarlane from Edmonton will take part as well as Calum McLeod and Katherine Domingue, respectively Directors in Toronto and Montreal. They will join Stéphane Désautels and Claude Beausoleil to form the largest union contingent ever gathered for an APS negotiation. « We need to think about the future and diversity,» said the President, who continues to aim for greater participation in the various union committees.

The outline of the CROP survey was brought to the table to set the tone of the priorities required by the union’s participating members. Work from home and remuneration issues are at the top of the priorities list as expressed by the voting members. The APS drafts a list of requests from direct consultation with each of its participating members and this year’s survey contains no margin of error due to strong members’ participation. The survey results also showed a very strong attachment by the members to the CBC brand; one more reason to invite the employer to show more consideration for its most critical employee group.

Negotiations will begin in early 2022 with the hope of reaching an agreement at the expiry of this contract on March 31, 2022.

Activity Reports

The other segment of the National Council was dedicated to the activity reports presented by the various committee leaders or concerned officers. In addition to the National President, each of the local presidents in Montreal and Toronto provided a summary of the activities within their section. There was also a tour of the regions. For the East (Valmond Bourque), the West (David MacFarlane) and Ottawa (Anne-Marie Roy) were officiating this year.  The National Treasurer Pascal Bacyzk of Moncton, now relocated to Montreal, delivered the report of financial activities alongside the officers of Montreal, the official venue of this year’s meeting. He passed the relay to the team of the firm Desormeaux, Patenaude who presented the next day,  by one of its major partners, Jasmin Patenaude, the complete picture of APS’s financial situation.  For the situation of fluctuations in membership, David MacFarlane, as National Secretary, presented the picture of the situation. He was also with Nathan Farr, who covered the activities of the Health and Safety Committees in addition to the late Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  Finally, for the activities related to the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB), it was Calum McCleod from Toronto who provided his report at the same time as attending the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) mediation session on litigation related to the Pension Fund Agreement; an achievement worthy of top sports highlights. Congratulations Calum!

To conclude the National Council’s topics, the General Manager, Claude Beausoleil, presented an account of the litigation, the grievances in progress and the resolved agreements, as well as a summary of the Association’s administrative responsibilities.