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Canadian Food Inspection Agency - S&A

CFIA S&A Group: Update on the SR conversion

The SR conversion involves the CFIA’s AG, BI and CH employees only – the CFIA Veterinary Medicine (VM) Group is not part of this exercise.

Your CFIA S & A Group Executive and the PIPSC executive, as well as PIPSC classification experts, continue to play a key role in the conversion process.   We will be working with CFIA management and HR Branch representatives to try to achieve informal resolution of employee concerns wherever possible.  However, our participation in this project and in informal resolution discussions does not in any way reduce or eliminate any formal recourse action available to members including the right to file a grievance. 


The first wave of AG, BI and CH conversions to SR is well underway.  The second wave is anticipated for the fall of 2015 and is expected to include the remaining AG and BI staff in Operations Branch, Human Resources Branch and the Integrity and Redress Secretariat.  CFIA HR is targeting the end of March, 2016, for completion of all SR conversions.

SR role descriptors have not yet been developed for the AG and BI positions in the second wave of SR conversion. Management representatives from the branches involved will be identifying the content   and working with HR classification experts to prepare draft role descriptors.  PIPSC representatives will have an opportunity to review, discuss and provide input on the drafts, for revisions before the conversion process for this second wave begins. 

Listed below are some specific steps as well as additional information that may assist you to review and comment on the role descriptor proposed for your position.

Role Descriptors

  • SR role descriptors are generic (apply to a number of positions) and concise, focussing on key roles and responsibilities described in general terms.  This allows scope for positions with different functions to fall under the same role descriptor, as long as those functions fit within the role and responsibilities identified in the role descriptor. The key accountabilities and responsibilities included in the role descriptor should, therefore, be applicable to every position attached to that role descriptor.  If you consider that some of the key accountabilities and responsibilities are not applicable to your position, you may submit comments in this regard.
  • Role descriptors do not contain the detailed lists of tasks that the previous work descriptions outlined and are not tailored to individual positions. Detailed information on your assigned tasks and performance objectives will now be included in your talent management questionnaire, where it can be discussed and updated regularly.

The role descriptors do not prescribe how much time is spent on each responsibility.  If your position requires you to take on a role intermittently, or for short periods of time through the year, this may be included in the role descriptor if it is an on-going responsibility.  If you perform or have performed higher-level duties because of an acting appointment, this does not affect the content of the role descriptor for your substantive position.  Those higher-level duties will be reflected in the role descriptor identified for the acting position. 

Review the Role Descriptor

You can provide suggested revisions to your role descriptor, or provide comments to indicate areas where you feel the roles and responsibilities of your position are not fully or accurately captured.  These suggestions will be grouped with other member’s comments, analysed and discussed with management for potential revisions to the role descriptor. 

  • The focus at this juncture should be  to ensure that each role descriptor accurately reflects the roles and responsibilities of the positions attached to it,  to enable appropriate evaluation under the SR classification standard.

Your Manager’s Role

  • To prepare for conversion, senior management mapped individual AG, BI and CH positions to a SR role descriptor.  If you consider that your position has been mapped incorrectly and that a different role descriptor is more appropriate for your position, please submit this comment.
  • Because SR role descriptors are generic and apply to a number of positions across the branch, your manager cannot make changes to your role descriptor to tailor it to your individual position. Senior branch management will be reviewing input on SR role descriptors and finalizing any necessary revisions. However, as your manager is responsible for assigning your work, if you feel your role descriptor does not fully or accurately capture your roles and responsibilities, it may be worthwhile to discuss your concerns with your manager, as a means of clarifying the work assigned to your position. You may wish to have the help of a Steward to prepare to meet with your manager. 
  • Make an appointment with your manager to discuss your questions and concerns and provide the manager with a copy of your role descriptor.   You have the right to have a Steward present as an observer when you discuss your classification or your TMQ with your manager. If speaking with your manager is not productive, then contact your PIPSC Steward or a member of the S & A Group Executive.
  • You may submit your comments on your proposed SR role descriptor yourself or you and your manager may agree that he/she will submit comments on your behalf or on behalf of a group of his/her employees.
  • Comments on your proposed SR role descriptor should be submitted to the SR Project Team. You may copy the S & A Group, at the same time. 


  • PIPSC and the CFIA are encouraging employees to bring forward their concerns informally, through feedback following the Advance Personal Notification.  S&A Executive members and PIPSC classification experts will engage with CFIA to try to resolve your concerns informally.  If an issue cannot be resolved, employees will be entitled to file a grievance.  There will be one grievance period for all SR conversion grievances, once conversion of all AG, BI and CH employees has been completed. A PIPSC Steward will help you to prepare a grievance. 
  • There will be options for group grievances.
  • The CFIA has agreed to an expedited grievance process for SR classification grievances.  There are pluses and minuses to this type of process however PIPSC will be working to ensure your rights are protected.
  • Provisions have been made to address outstanding issues related to the current classification system throughout this process. 


  • Where collective staffing pools already exist for AG/BI/CH positions the pools will remain in use but, as with all collective pools, additional assessments may be required, to determine best fit for the position being staffed.

Pay levels

  • There will be no change in pay levels or increment levels at the time of the SR implementation, unless SR pay rates are in place prior to completion of conversion.
  • Pay rates for the SR classification group will be included in the current round of bargaining for the collective agreement that expired in the fall of 2014.
  • New rates of pay as well as rules related to the conversion will be bargained in this round of bargaining with an effective date equivalent to implementation.
  • If an employee has been working, at the request of their supervisor, at a level confirmed to be higher than the classification of their position, the employee will be entitled to the salary associated with the higher level for the period of time he/she performs the higher level duties.  This may mean a period of acting pay, if the higher level duties are temporary, or an indeterminate appointment to a higher level, if this is determined to be an on-going situation.
  • If an employee is converted to a SR position classified at a lower level than the employee’s current substantive position, salary protection will be in place, in accordance with Appendix D of the S&A collective agreement (Memorandum of Understanding, Red-Circling), there will be no change in the employee’s pay or annual increments.  Contact your Steward if you need information or assistance with regard to salary protection.  It is critical not to accept subsequent appointments at the lower level or accept any acting appointments without contacting PIPSC as this could have serious repercussions.

Talent Management

  • The CFIA is developing competency profiles to be associated with each SR role descriptor, which will assist the Agency and employees to identify career paths and individual learning plans. Through the Talent Management Questionnaire (TMQ) and associated discussions with management, you can identify a learning plan to enhance the competencies relevant to your current role and support your development for future opportunities. Although competency profiles are not yet finalized, employees can continue to discuss their learning needs with their manager as part of their TMQ, based on their existing understanding of the requirements of various roles in the Agency. 

The TMQ should drill down to a more detailed level than the role descriptor and identify the specific work objectives and related tasks assigned to your role

  • In your talent management discussions with your manager, you should discuss your interest in and readiness for other functions and roles, at the same or a higher level. Your TMQ should include this information, so it can be taken into consideration when branch management is making decisions towards internal assignments and appointments. Because of the broad, general nature of SR role descriptors, there is flexibility to assign different work and projects to your position, so long as it is appropriate to the role and level of the applicable role descriptor.

Members on Leave

Employees on extended leave at the time their unit is converted to SR are receiving their conversion notification at the same time as other members of their team.

Acting positions

  • People in acting positions will receive a conversion notification for their substantive position and their acting position if these are AG/BI/CH positions.
  • Acting appointments do not have to end when the positions are converted to the SR classification.  However, as with any acting appointment, management can determine that the acting appointment is no longer needed.
  • Grievance rights are available to you on both positions.

Other Government Departments

  • As Canada’s largest science-based regulator, the CFIA is part of the Science Integration Board made up of several science departments.  CFIA management has made other Science Based organizations aware of this project.
  • The conversion to SR will not affect your ability to apply for jobs in other departments nor will it affect CFIA’s ability to recruit from departments within the Federal Public Service’s Core Public Administration.

Extensive information on the SR project is available on the CFIA intranet (Merlin): http://merlin/english/hrrh/repdep/def/srclasse.aspx. Should you have any question or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any S & A Group Steward or a member of the S & A Group Executive.

Publish Date: 15-JUN-2015 10:41 AM
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