I’m very pleased to be back in the presidency for another year, after the ExCom’s decision to allow me to continue the work I started when I returned in the summer of 2017. The coming year will be a particularly important one for PAFSO after the AGM decision to fund the Full-Time Presidency Pilot. This decision means that, as of January, the presidency will transition from part-time, volunteer activity to a full-time, paid position.
The President’s responsibilities remain the same as they have always been, but with additional emphasis on advocacy, media relations, governance, connecting with members, and outreach. For the first year of the two-year pilot, my main deliverable is our much-needed Strategic Review, a comprehensive look at PAFSO’s purpose, goals, needs, and resources.
Although we are moving into our 54th year as the professional association and bargaining agent for the FS group, this will be the first time we undertake such a comprehensive assessment of where we are and where we want to be. As part of this process, we will be consulting members and stakeholders on the full range of our activities including collective bargaining, advocacy, Foreign Service Directives, human resources, Occupational Health and Safety, communications, finance and personnel.
The Strategic Review will take place in the context of negotiations for our new Collective Agreement, which are a key priority. At the same time, our efforts in human resources at IRCC and GAC will continue to focus on ensuring Foreign Service Officers are given the opportunity to do the overseas work for which they were hired, advocating for regular promotions instead of long-term acting situations, and challenging GAC as it attempts to eliminate the Foreign Service Development Program.
On the communications side, we are committed to regular communication with members on the full-time presidency and other issues. I will also be working to raise awareness among our partners and the public that being a Foreign Service Officer is more than just a job. It’s a calling that extends well beyond standard business hours and affects every aspect of our lives, including those of our spouses, children, extended families and even pets. We are the core group in the Federal Public Service that is required to serve abroad, where we have a responsibility to represent Canada 24/7.
I am looking forward to having the time and resources to devote myself to PAFSO at this interesting and challenging time.
Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers