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Canadian Food Inspection Agency - VM

Veterinary Medicine Group


Our sincere thoughts go out to all our brothers and sisters affected by the severe flooding in Alberta.

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)
Valérie 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)

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. VM Bargaining Update

In 2012, the VM Group took part in mediation with the employer. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement during the mediation. We had hoped that by waiting, CFIA could get a new mandate from the Treasury Board. However, that strategy has not produced results.

Thus, the bargaining team has decided to apply for arbitration. In the next few weeks, we will submit the application, once all the documents are ready.

B. 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ILP and PFR have been replaced by Talent Management (TM) form in Programs Policy Branch (PPB).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 are to be encouraged. Regular communication is the key to successful team building.

C. Work Description Grievances

PIPSC has been in touch with the PSLRB to ascertain the procedure they wish to follow in order to ensure the validity of as many of the 643 job content grievances as possible. We do not as yet have a specific direction, but expect one very soon. We are hoping that we will be able to use a similar process to the 2009 grievances whereby one representative grievor completed the required form and the remaining members signed a roster type form. It is likely that there will need to be a representative grievor for each separate work description, which would mean 23.

The remainder of the administrative work has begun in terms the organization for the filing itself. The development of tables to coordinate signatures with work descriptions as well as to track our progress in the collection of data is underway.

Once the filing is complete (realistically mid-August) we will be awaiting information from the PSLRB in terms of potential mediation and/or scheduling of the hearing. This is likely to take upwards to a year to receive a date.


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.


In a large part, due to several members taking on the risk of filing grievances for payment of license fees, CFIA senior management is now engaging in discussions to allow for full payment of license fees for all members (this does not include CVMA in all provinces). Thanks very much to those members who put themselves out there for the benefit of all our members! These grievances are, for the most part, being held in abeyance pending the outcome of the CFIA decision. This may not occur for quite some time.

It will take some time for CFIA and the provincial VMA registrars to come to an agreement as far as what a license structure for our members should look like. However, several members of CFIA senior management are supportive of the idea that licensure of VMs should be mandatory rather than optional as it is now.

It the meantime, the Operations branch has committed to fully reimbursing members for license fees, if they choose to be licensed! Again, this does not include CVMA membership dues in all provinces.

G. 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.

H. Compliance Verification System (CVS) was briefly discussed and emphasized that all VM01s and VM02s (considered entry level) should routinely do some CVS tasks. This relates to our Job Descriptions (JD).

I. Article C6 - Maternity-Related Reassignment or Leave of our Collective Agreement was reviewed due to a major problem in one province. EVERYONE should review the Accommodation of pregnant and nursing employees in Part II, section 132 of the Canada Labour Code:

This part of the CLC supersedes our Collective Agreement.


There will be a call for nominations early September for the following positions:

Prairie Representative, current incumbent - Dave Cartledge

NCR Representative, current incumbent – Ann Allain

BC/Yukon Representative, current incumbent – Doug Aitken

One Member-At-Large, current incumbent – Lina Johannson

Val Coupal is the Chairman of the Nominating Committee.

NOTE: next executive meeting is tentatively on Friday, September 20th, 2013 in Saskatoon; with the CFIA-VM Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) tentatively occurring on Saturday, September 21st, 2013 in SASKATOON (also called Toon Town!)

We look for any recommendations to improve our newsletter.

In Solidarity,

Dave Cartledge – Communications Officer

Publish Date: 01-AUG-2013 02:23 PM
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