COVID-19 Update from the President of PAFSO for June 30, 2021

Dear Members,

I’m writing to you a little early this week, since tomorrow is Canada Day and I know that many of you will be trying to take a break over the holiday. However, I wanted to take a moment to update you on our ongoing issues and plans for the next couple of weeks.

The National Joint Council’s COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet every two weeks. The Employer has not yet responded to our request for the documentation and data behind their decision to refuse hazard pay to federal workers but have promised that they will do so shortly. Discussion has also begun to focus on the need for appropriate ventilation measures to protect workers from variants of concern when they eventually return to the workplace. I will update you on both these issues as I get more information.

On the good news front, effective 5 July at 2359 EDT, fully vaccinated adults who meet the entry requirements will be exempt from quarantine when entering Canada. There are still a number of conditions that must be met, however, and our PAFSO colleague Julia Drew-Watt, Director of GAC’s COVID-19 Travel Restriction Unit, outlined them in a very well-attended webinar on 29 June. If you will be traveling over the summer, please take the time to watch the webinar and/or review the toolkit.

We’re also moving forward on the establishment of the Full-Time Presidency and are committed to having a formal recommendation for members’ approval in September. We’ll hold our first virtual consultation on issues and next steps on Friday, 9 July, at noon Ottawa time, and you can register here. Our July PAFSO Breakfast, at 0800 EDT on 13 July, will also be devoted to that subject. Please register for that session here. A third session is planned for 11 August at 1600 (registration here) and more will be set up as needed. Please check out the consultation wiki on myPAFSO  for the full set of documents and proposals as they evolve during the consultation period.

As we mark Canada Day in the shadow of the recent uncovering of the remains and unmarked graves of hundreds of Indigenous children, PAFSO encourages all members to dedicate some time to acknowledging, learning more about and promoting the unique histories, cultures, and contributions that First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples have made to Canada. One way to honour Indigenous Peoples’ role in shaping Canadian history and their ongoing valuable contributions is to find meaningful ways to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

PAFSO is taking a serious look at our own responsibilities on reconciliation through our Professional Committee. We will take time to ensure that the actions we take as an organization are welcome, effective, sustainable, and targeted in a way that adds true value. If you’d like to join us in this important work, please drop me an e-mail. In the meantime, please consider supporting AmbCanada’s scholarship for Indigenous students of international affairs to help ensure that Indigenous people are properly represented in Canada’s future Foreign Service.

Please don’t forget that Executive Director Kim Coles and the PAFSO team are there when you need help. And, if you’d like to connect with colleagues for an informal chat, we’re still doing our weekly coffee chats at 1030 every Wednesday. You can register here.

We will talk again in two weeks. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld
President

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