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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn 2010 > Perspective
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Perspective

Fellow members,

As you may have read in the media, the Institute faced several challenges this fall. First, the government's request for exploratory and expedited bargaining led us to a difficult but nonetheless unified decision. While our Groups were more than willing to explore the possibility of concluding agreements quickly, it became impossible to do so when they learned that severance pay was put on the table by Treasury Board. From our perspective, acquiescing to such a request would equate to concession bargaining, which our members were not prepared to do at this time and given such very short notice by TBS. In the end, our Groups unanimously agreed to withdraw from the process and to negotiate according to the previously determined schedule. The Institute always remains open to realistic discussions with the employer on a mutually-agreeable timetable that does not simply rush for the sake of the employer’s agenda. Real dialogue takes time and commitment on both sides.

On another front, the Ontario Court of Appeal decided to reject our challenge of the authority of the federal government to appropriate the $30 billion Public Service Superannuation account surplus. This decision was disappointing, particularly in light of the fact that our contributions are increasing and our pension plan remains under threat. Together with the other 17 public service bargaining agents, we will be deciding on our next course of action which may include seeking leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. You will continue to be updated as developments occur.

On a more positive note, the launch of our new Publicscience.ca website was extremely well received by the media and by the public. The site www.publicscience.ca features interviews with the scientists and professionals who work for the public good. It also highlights Canadians whose lives have been touched by public science. The goal of this initiative is to underline the importance of science for the public good and to mobilize scientists and the public to press politicians to make a clear commitment to policies that support public science.

Another noteworthy event was a joint partnership panel discussion involving the Institute, the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE). Titled “Evidence vs. Ideology in Canadian Public Policy”, the panel of experts spoke on the future of Canada's public institutions, and the importance that evidence plays or should play in the development of national policies. The event was hosted on Parliament Hill and attracted MPs, media and other union representatives.

Lastly, I think it worth mentioning that this year, for the first time, the Institute's AGM will be held outside the National Capital Region, a first step towards our goal of enabling our regions to raise visibility for PIPSC in their respective regions. This year our AGM will be held in Montreal and will showcase the Québec Region whose members have worked tirelessly in organizing this event. As always, we look forward to productive decisions which will guide the future of our great union.

Finally, as we draw close to the end of the year, I wish to extend my sincere best wishes for a happy holiday season to you and your loved ones. I wish also to thank you for your efforts and solidarity in the workplace and I wish you health and prosperity in 2011 and beyond.

Best Regards,

Gary Corbett