Government Parking Policy
The Professional Institute has concerns about the government’s new Parking Policy as initiated by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) for implementation across most federal departments and agencies. In the past, parking policy was dealt with by the Treasury Board. However, in 1996 Treasury Board rescinded its parking policy, and custodian departments and agencies were responsible for setting parking rates. Individual departments were given responsibility for determining operations requirements. In the last few years, PWGSC started to look at developing a parking policy for the government as a whole.
One of the Institute’s concerns is that a significant number of members may experience unjustified steep increases in parking rates which outweigh the very limited gains at the bargaining table. Another concern is the lack of accommodation for persons with disabilities. The government’s Policy to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service requires the employer to make every effort to accommodate employees with disabilities – unless doing so would create undue hardship. In determining undue hardship, the employer must take into account health of employees, safety and cost. The Institute is considering ways to challenge the government’s new parking policy on this basis.
In a 2009 letter to the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Institute expressed its concerns and called for consultation with the public service unions prior to launching any implementation initiative. The PIPSC Working Group on Consultation and the Advisory Council have held extensive discussions on this issue. Some consultation has occurred, but much remains to be done.
Fair Market Value?
The Institute has questioned the government’s methodology in arriving at the “fair market value” assigned to parking. Two different approaches to fair market value have been used: one focusing on assessment of local market conditions and availability of commercial parking and public transit and the other focused merely on what the landlord would be able to obtain in the market. Under Access to Information, PIPSC has submitted applications for the market value rationale used by PWGSC for some locations. Because PWGSC has requested up to 270 days to reply, the Institute has asked the government to delay the parking changes until the information is provided.
At some worksites, grievances have already been prepared concerning parking. This has the potential to create a significant administrative burden on the employer. Some years ago, at the Louis St. Laurent Building in Gatineau, more than 125 grievances were submitted concerning parking. Consultation would avoid the significant administrative burden these actions would entail.
It is incumbent upon PWGSC and other federal departments to make a compelling and transparent case for the fair market value they propose. If not, they can expect substantial push-back and much time will be lost. The Institute is willing to take whatever steps are necessary to get our message through to the employer. Members are encouraged to contact their local steward (steward lists are available at www.pipsc.ca) to explore the recourse mechanisms available to them.
The Institute has developed a poster for members to display on their workplace bulletin boards to focus attention on this issue and to join together in solidarity to act. Members can download this poster from the website or request copies through firstname.lastname@example.org. The Institute will post developments on this issue at www.pipsc.ca.
Celebrating International Workers’ Day May 1
The National Capital Region staff celebrated International Workers’ Day with an international pot luck lunch. Around their "labour" tree decorated with buttons, bandanas and brochures representing the Institute's ongoing campaigns/issues. Standing are, from left to right: France Bernard, Lorraine Young, Lorraine Lachance, Pierre Ouellet, Chloe Charbonneau-Jobin, Aksana Korziuk, André Lortie, Michel D'Aoust, Marie-Claude Chartier and, in front from left to right: Laura Ann Ross, Huguette Chevrier, Nancy Lamarche, Joanne Harvey, Karyn Ladurantaye, Elle De Champagne, Mélanie Chenier, Robert Manny and Jean-François Prégent.
Reasons to commemorate: