Progress on Essential Services Agreements for Treasury Board and Agency units
Essential Services Agreements are nearly settled for a number of PSAC bargaining units and negotiations continue for other bargaining units. Essential services are the services, facilities, or activities that the Government of Canada would continue to provide in the event of a strike. The essential services that the federal government would provide are those deemed necessary for safety or security of the public.
While the employer determines the level of service that will be provided, the union negotiates with the employer on the types of positions, specific positions, and the number of positions required for providing the services.
Since the new labour relations legislation (the Public Service Labour Relations Act) came into force, the union and the employer have had to negotiate new essential services agreements (ESAs). ESAs must be reached before a bargaining unit can strike.
Once finalized, ESAs are binding through successive rounds of collective bargaining unless the union or employer seeks an amendment.
The following are updates on essential services agreements between PSAC and Treasury Board and Agency bargaining units:
Collective agreements that expire before 2013
CRA – CRA and the PSAC signed an Essential Services Agreement in January 2011.
TC – The union has reached agreement on essential services with Veteran's Affairs and Treasury Board Secretariat. August meetings are scheduled with several employers, including Environment Canada, HRSDC, and Health Canada. Although discussions with employers continue, the union sent a letter to the PSLRB advising that the Board's intervention may be necessary if the union is faced with delays.
FB – The employer has proposed designating as essential approximately 8,000 positions – the vast majority border service officers (BSOs). The employer argued all BSOs should be designated essential, but the union argued that BSOs also perform non-essential duties like collection of duties, taxes, fees and fines. The PSLRB agreed.
The employer must now assess how much time BSOs spend on non-essential duties and propose a number of positions needed to perform only essential duties. We continue to ensure that only those members performing duties related to the safety and security of the public are deemed essential during a strike. This may require that we go back to the PSLRB to challenge the number of non-BSO FB positions CBSA is proposing.
CFIA – In 2007, the Component and employer reached an agreement, which is currently being reviewed. The review is not expected to result in major changes to the existing agreement. The parties are scheduled to meet in the near future to finalize the agreement. Once finalized, it will be signed by the PSAC and CFIA.
Parks – The Union is awaiting proposals from the Employer on resource conservation workers and more than a dozen Parks Canada units. An application has been sent to the PSLRB to resolve all outstanding matters.
Collective agreements that expire in 2014
PA – The employer had proposed that more than 20,000 positions in 40 different departments be deemed essential.
Between informal discussions with Treasury Board and with the help of the PSLRB, the Union has been able to get many proposals withdrawn and has tentatively agreed to proposals covering 75% of the departments.
Industry Canada proposed including Assistant Bankruptcy Analysts in an ESA. The PSLRB sided with the union, ruling the employer had not provided clear evidence of how the public's safety or security would be affected if these members were on strike.
The employer wanted all those working within the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance programs at Service Canada deemed essential. The PSLRB ruled that entire services or programs cannot be deemed essential, only normal duties of jobs in a service or program.
Treasury board recently withdrew proposals to declare more than 1000 Elections Canada staff essential after a union challenge. Only a few security workers are designated essential.
SV - The employer had wanted about 5000 positions in 22 different departments declared essential. The union has successfully challenged many of these proposals and has reached tentative agreements on ESAs in most departments.
EB –The employer and PSAC plan to meet and begin negotiations to establish an essential service agreement in advance of the next round of bargaining.
Date Modified : 2012/07/11