Canada’s Foreign Service Officers to Hold Mass Rally at CIC Headquarters in Downtown Ottawa

One day ahead of its bad-faith bargaining complaint before the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB), members of Canada’s Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) will hold a mass rally on Tuesday, August 20 from 11:30 to 13:00 outside the headquarters of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration at 365 Laurier Avenue in Ottawa.

In parallel, Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) around the world will take part in a 24-hour Twitter campaign to increase public awareness of the day-to-day work of FSOs. The #FSatwork campaign will illustrate the importance of the Foreign Service in safeguarding Canada’s national security, building its economy, shaping its future diversity and workforce, and protecting and promoting the values that Canadians hold dear.

“Today’s picket and Twitter campaign will show that our members are unified and determined in the pursuit of pay equity. We are fiercely proud of the work we do on behalf of all Canadians and will not be bullied into submission by our employer,” said PAFSO president Tim Edwards. “This is an issue of basic fairness; every Canadian understands that when two employees are performing the same work in neighbouring offices, they should be paid the same. Nothing more, nothing less.”

PAFSO filed a bad-faith bargaining complaint against the Government of Canada on July 31 after the Treasury Board responded to PAFSO’s offer of binding arbitration by intentionally demanding preconditions it knew PAFSO could not reasonably accept. This attempt to predetermine the outcome of arbitration in the Government’s favour was a clear violation of its duty to bargain in good faith prescribed by the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

“PAFSO has made every reasonable effort to resolve this dispute. The Government has not,” said Edwards. “We can only conclude that Treasury Board is discriminating against Canada’s Foreign Service. We are seeking judicial intervention to compel the Government to negotiate in good faith.”

PAFSO’s bad-faith bargaining complaint will be heard by the PSRLB starting at 09:30 at the C.D. Howe Building, 240 Sparks Street, West Tower, 7th floor. It is open to the public and media. The hearing is likely to last one or two days, with a ruling issued thereafter at the arbitrator’s discretion. The PSLRB is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal responsible for administering collective bargaining and grievance adjudication in the federal public service and in Parliament.

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