For immediate release
Federal Government Scientists Seek to Protect Scientific Integrity Through Collective Bargaining
Ottawa, December 3, 2014 – Federal government scientists are upping the ante in their dispute with the Harper government over continuing cuts to federal science programs and the muzzling of federal government scientists by bringing their concerns directly to the bargaining table. This week, the union representing federal government scientists will table a proposal that would obligate the government to negotiate scientific integrity policies, ensuring adequate public standards of science and support for science are upheld.
“Preserving scientific integrity within the federal government is crucial to ensure we can continue to protect Canadians’ health, safety and the environment as well as promote genuine innovation,” says Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents approximately 15,000 federal government scientists, engineers and researchers. “To our members, this is about much more than their salaries; it’s about preserving the standards on which both Canadian public policy and public services are maintained.”
The proposal being tabled would see enforceable policies negotiated that, among other things, ensure:
- federal scientists have the right to speak;
- reinvestment in research programs;
- adequate national and international collaboration among scientists;
- preservation of government science knowledge and libraries, and;
- a guaranteed role in informing evidence-based public policy.
“It’s sad, frankly, that it’s come to this,” added Daviau. “But negotiating provisions in our collective agreements seems to be the only way to get this government’s attention and adopt meaningful, enforceable scientific integrity standards. At least this way our members would have the chance to grieve violations of standards they argue are essential to maintaining adequate public science services.”
Many of the concerns raised by federal government scientists are detailed in two recent PIPSC reports – The Big Chill and Vanishing Science – based on an unprecedented 2013 survey of federal government scientists in the wake of massive federal government cuts in 2012 as well as recent government restrictions on the ability of federal scientists to communicate publicly dating from as early as 2007.
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 55,000 professionals across Canada’s public sector.
For further information: Johanne Fillion (613) 228-6310 extension 2303 (office)
(613) 883-4900 (cell)
The The Big Chill and Vanishing Science reports are available on the PIPSC Web site