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Canadian Food Inspection Agency - VM

Veterinary Medicine Group

(our ground hogs misinterpreted their job description!)

Please use these personal email addresses to communicate with executive members on PIPSC issues rather than on the CFIA Group Wise System.

Ravi Rai President (Ontario Rep)

Ayman Soryal Vice President & NOSH (Member-At-Large)

Ann Allain Secretary (NCR Rep)

Lina Johannson Treasurer & NUMCC (Member at large)

Val’erie Coupal (Quebec Rep)

Doug Aitken Parliamentarian (B.C. &Yukon Rep)

Dave Cartledge Communications (Prairies Rep)

Michael Aleong (Member-at-Large)

Krista Ann Puddester (Atlantic Rep)

NOTE: Welcome Krista and Ayman!

Should you have an interest in learning more, please contact any of the group executive to discuss becoming a union steward. Many hands make for light work.

A. Update A. Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response Team CFIA-VM Group Executive Position Statement (from Dec. 2012 newsletter)

Veterinarians in CFIA play an important role in the planning, preparation and response to foreign animal disease outbreaks in Canada.

The requirement of CFIA to respond to animal emergencies is found within the Emergency Management Act.

4. (1) The Minister’s responsibilities under section 3 include

(a) Establishing policies, programs and other measures respecting the preparation, maintenance, testing and implementation by a government institution of emergency management plans

The requirements extend beyond the simple preparation of an emergency response plan and include the testing and maintenance of that plan. CFIA has responded to Avian Influenza outbreaks starting in 2004 where trial and error was the predominate theme. Through time, working groups and the efforts of many dedicated CFIA employees, the response plans for avian influenza have been refined into an effective procedure.

The same can not be said for other animal diseases such as classical swine fever or foot and mouth disease. CFIA may have a plan to eliminate those diseases when they enter Canada, but that plan doesn’t include how those animals will be destroyed or disposal of carcasses. Practicing a plan to determine if it works and what improvements need to be made is a critical part of any emergency planning. The real planning is not deciding IF we will eliminate FMD, the real planning is deciding HOW we will eliminate FMD or control it while we are eliminating it.

CFIA has never clearly identified the managers who have the authority, the responsibility and the budget to ensure our emergency preparedness plans for diseases like foot and mouth are fully developed and tested. Without the necessary funding and staff, the project management for such a large responsibility has fallen on individuals who recognize the importance of this work and who have tried to maintain working groups in spite of their lack of authority and budgets.

CFIA veterinarians understand that while the probability of FMD or other serious terrestrial animal disease of multiple species entering Canada and infecting our livestock industry remains thankfully low, so long as import conditions are met, the consequences of such an outbreak are so severe and economically devastating to this country that CFIA must have an effective emergency response plan. The cost of a tested and effective plan vs an ineffective one that was never tested can mean the difference between a relatively short outbreak and one that spreads throughout the country and establishes the disease within our territory, making it much more difficult to eradicate. Without rigorous real time testing of plans we have no idea where our weaknesses lie.

B. VM Bargaining Update April 20th, 2013

As you know earlier this year the VM Bargaining Team and CFIA reached an impasse in negotiations for a new collective agreement. Towards the end of the summer the employer applied for Mediation to move forward that impasse. The Bargaining Team agreed to mediation and dates attended mediation during December 10 -13, 2012.

Over the 3 days of mediation, your bargaining team and the employer’s bargaining team worked to resolve the impasse reached earlier this year. We discussed the big issues, including pay increases, severance, and the vacation cap, as well as others. Progress is being made, mediation will continue.

C. Individual Learning Plans (ILP)

Members of the CFIA-VM Group are encouraged to add attendance at the Professional Update Course to their Individual Learning Plan. The course needs to be supported by VM’s in this way to demonstrate to CFIA that VM’s support this training initiative.

ILP and PFR replaced by Talent Management ( TM ) form in Programs Policy Branch (PPB)

Talent Management is being piloted by PPB, other branches are still using the older ILP & PFR forms. It is the understanding of the VM group that this project simply will replace both the current PFR and the ILP. It is the VM groups understanding that the goal is to:

normalize regular discussions between managers and employees (at all levels) on the employees goals and management expectations; provide concrete goals to employees on what is expected them and facilitate discussions as to how those goals may be accomplished (training needs, tools, support from manager or others outside immediate team, etc); the manager is required to have the conversations with their reports on a quarterly basis; and filling out the employee section is voluntary, up to and including to what level of detail the employee wishes to include.

The management of CFIA is responsible for managing the work of their employees. The tools they choose to do so are up to them. The VM group sees no reasons to object to using the TM tool. Indeed, respectful, open and frank discussions on career goals between employees and managers is to be encouraged. Regular communication is the key to successful team building.

D. Work Description Grievances

The process is continuing with PIPSC engaging CFIA to move these files forward. A reply is expected from CFIA no later than the end of April, 2013 at which time, the reply will be reviewed by PIPSC and the CFIA-VM Group Executive. Should a reply not be received, PIPSC may apply for adjudication for the grievances.


This is a very accurate description of the stresses our colleagues work with in abattoirs in the UK; it is equally applicable to the Canadian experience. The VM group believes it is worth reading (article in English only).


"We continue to work on members' behalf regarding the DRAP decisions. As the COE concept continues to be developed, we will be increasing our discussion of this issue."


We are now at 3rd Level with these Grievances!

H. Committees (CFIA and PIPSC) that the VM Executives are involved in on your behalf:

1. Group Executive

2. National Union Management Consultation Committee (and Area, Regional, and local)

2.1. Joint PIPSC SA VM IN consultation team

2.2. Centres of Expertise

2.3. Modernization

3. National Occupational Health And Safety

4. Bargaining

5. Essential Services Agreement

6. Classification (includes work descriptions and classification)

7. Work Force Adjustment and Employment Transition Steering Committee

8. PIPSC Advisory Council

As well as the above, we do our regular work of representing the members on various topics of concern to them, including application of the collective agreement.

NOTE: next executive meeting Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 in Ottawa.

We look for any recommendations to improve our newsletter.

In Solidarity,

Dave Cartledge – Communications Officer

Publish Date: 14-MAY-2013 10:20 AM
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