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Representing close to 2000 active and retired members of Canada’s professional Foreign Service, PAFSO is both your union and your professional association. We are uniquely placed to cater to the specific and particular needs of the FS occupational group. Should you have any concerns about your situation at work, or if you have questions about your collective agreement or the Foreign Service Directives, PAFSO is here for you.

Stronger Together

Founded in 1968 by Foreign Service Officers and run by Foreign Service Officers ever since, PAFSO is here to represent the interests of its members. As both bargaining agent and professional association, PAFSO has as its core mission to protect the status and standards of our profession. It maintains and promotes the effective functioning of Canada’s professional Foreign Service. And it acts as your collective voice by advocating on your behalf on the issues that matter most to you.

PAFSO pursues this mission in a manner that respects our shared Canadian values: equality, diversity, justice, professionalism, respect, transparency and good governance.

As a well-governed, highly trusted, effective and modern organization, PAFSO maintains strong relationships with its members, staff and other stakeholders. Our vision is that through effective collective bargaining, labour relations services, advocacy, outreach and engagement, we can promote and strengthen Canada’s professional Foreign Service and counter any threat of its erosion.

Here are just a few of the ways that PAFSO is working for you.

Collective Bargaining

Though relatively small in size, PAFSO is a union that is consistently punching above its weight. We have a strong negotiating team that is devoted to getting you the fairest possible outcomes at the bargaining table. In fact, the Employer’s own arbitration brief from 2018 states that the gains made by the FS occupational group has outpaced those of the rest of the core public administration. Since the early 2000s, the FS group’s wages have grown by 30%, which is significantly higher than the average growth of 27.5% the other occupational groups have achieved.

In keeping with our commitment to strive for greater equality and inclusivity, PAFSO has undertaken a thorough intersectional (GBA+) analysis of our current collective agreement. We are one of the first bargaining agents of the core public administration to do so. We hope that by assessing the current operating environment for the FS group and identifying any differential impacts on the various segments of our membership will be better placed to address all gender and inclusivity considerations the next time we find ourselves at the bargaining table.

Foreign Service Directives

The Foreign Service Directives (FSDs) form a major part of our occupational group’s agreement with the Employer. Helping you navigate their murky intricacies is one of our core services to members. Not only does PAFSO have a dedicated FSD Advisor on staff, but we are also constantly making sure that the terms and conditions of employment of our members serving abroad are kept up to date and reviewed on a regular basis. From schooling, to relocation, to housing costs, PAFSO has the depth of knowledge, expertise and track record of success to make sure you get the most out of the FSDs.

Phoenix and Other Pay Issues

Issues with pay have always been common, but since the implementation of the Phoenix Pay System in February of 2016, the number of cases we have seen has exploded. Here we are many years later, and several of our members are still dealing with fallout from this failed software. If you are dealing with ramifications stemming from Phoenix, or if you are experiencing any other issues with your pay, PAFSO is here for you. In fact, in the first 7 months of 2021, we have successfully resolved cases involving pay for 22 of our members.

Performance Management

Performance Management Assessments can have a significant impact on your employment, and you need to know your rights and obligations during the process. PAFSO is here for you. We have been working to ensure that the performance management system is fair, open, transparent and that it recognizes the Employer’s obligations under our collective agreement. If you feel that you have received an unfair performance management assessment, PAFSO can help. In 2021 we have had numerous successful challenges to members’ assessments, resulting in the amendment of their PMAs, including the ratings, to accurately reflect their performance.


PAFSO is committed to ensuring that workplaces are equitable and fair. As our communities and workplaces continue to become more diverse, human rights remain essential in providing inclusive representation to our membership.

The Employer’s policies, procedures, requirements, standards and practices must be such that they do not create barriers to our members’ participation based on human rights grounds. If you feel that your workplace (physical workspace or equipment, or workplace rules, practices, etc.) is not adapted to ensure that you can fully participate, PAFSO is here for you. If a formal process is required to encourage your employer to reasonably accommodate you, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Discipline, Demotions and Terminations

No employer can punish workers for exercising their rights under the Canada Labour Code. This includes dismissal, suspension, lay-off, demotion, financial or other penalty or withholding wages. If you are facing disciplinary action, demotion, or termination, contact your union immediately. PAFSO is there to make sure our members are treated with fairness and dignity.

Workplace Harassment

Harassment, in all its forms has no place in your workplace. At PAFSO we know that every member is entitled to be free from both discrimination and harassment.

Unlike conflict, harassment is one sided, with an imbalance of power or strength. Harassment is often founded in discrimination and can be based on age, sex, colour, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, marital status, family status, criminal record, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, language, social and economic class or political belief.

On January 1, 2021, the new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations came into force for all workers in the federal sector. These new regulations will help better prevent and actively address harassment and violence in the workplace. If you feel that you have been the victim of harassment, PAFSO is there for you. Do not hesitate to contact us immediately.

Professional Development

As part of our mission to defend and advance our profession, PAFSO is committed to providing its members with opportunities for professional development. Through the organization of lectures, seminars, monthly talks and our annual professional conference, we strive for the betterment of our profession and to grow the knowledge and skills of our membership.


PAFSO acts as the collective voice of Canada’s professional Foreign Service. We advocate on your behalf on the issues that matter most to you. Whether to the press, politicians or the general public, we are committed to raising awareness of our profession – the functions we serve to the public, the issues facing our members abroad, and the benefits we deliver to Canada and Canadians.