Update from the President of PAFSO for May 17, 2024

Dear members,

There’s been a lot going on here during the last few weeks. As I mentioned last time, we have some events coming up very soon, and one of our biggest projects of the year just launched. Let me catch you up.

The 2024 PAFSO Triennial Survey
Just this past Monday, we launched our 2024 comprehensive members survey. Held every three years, this survey is the best way for us to get to know our members. It helps us to identify and measure trends. And, ultimately, it lets us know how to better represent you. The answers you provide will guide our efforts in advocacy, communications, and labour relations. Your participation in this survey is what will help us build a better, more focused association for you and your colleagues.

By design, this is a long survey. It could take you up to 45 or 50 minutes to complete. I realize that this is a significant amount of your time. However, as the association that represents your interests in the workplace, this data is necessary to us as we engage with Treasury Board and the Departments on your behalf. We greatly appreciate your participation, so this year we have added a bit of an incentive. After completing the survey, you will have the option to enter a weekly draw for the chance to win a prepaid credit card worth $50.

The survey will remain open until 7 June at 5 p.m. EDT. If you haven’t already, please take the time to fill it out by using the following link: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7777776/PAFSO-Survey-24S.

It goes without saying that your privacy is important to us and that your answers are completely anonymous, confidential, and will only be analyzed in aggregate form. Thanks in advance for your participation.

Tradecraft Week 2024: May 28 to June 4
Tradecraft week is just around the corner. Join us for our peer-to-peer conference by members, for members. The theme for this year’s event is “Your First Posting.” As such, we have asked a few of our more seasoned colleagues to share with our newest colleagues their knowledge and experiences of their first time at post. If you want to pick up on some tips, tricks, and best practices, or if you’re just interested in hearing stories of people’s first postings, you’ll love this year’s series.

This year’s event consists of the following three sessions:

What I Wish I’d Known for my First Posting, part I
Tuesday, May 28, 9:00–10:00 EDT
Panelists: Jennifer Jakob, Mike Creighton, and Peter Cahill
Facilitator: Pam Isfeld
Click here to register

What I Wish I’d Known for my First Posting, part II
Wednesday, May 29, 9:00–10:00 EDT
Panelists: Emily Haji, Joshua Cader, Marie-Eve Castonguay, and Rick Steenweg
Facilitator: Pam Isfeld
Click here to register

Your First Posting, Spouses Edition
Tuesday, June 4, 10:30–11:30 EDT
Panelists: Chris Stewart, Fely Bown, Heather McCrimmon, and Patrick Pilon
Facilitator: Meagan Dalby
Click here to register

Hopefully, one of those times can work for you. I look forward to seeing you there.

Springtime 5 à 7: Tuesday, June 11
This year, we will be wrapping up our Tradecraft week by having a little get together on the rooftop terrace of the PAFSO offices. Join us for a glass of wine, light snacks, and excellent conversation at our second annual Springtime 5 à 7 on Tuesday, 11 June at 1700 (rain date: 13 June). If you are interested in attending, please let us know by sending an email to info@pafso-apase.com with your name, department, and any food allergies or restrictions you may have. Please make sure to RSVP before 5pm on 24 May. I’ll see you there.

PAFSO Breakfasts
At last Tuesday’s installment of our PAFSO Breakfast series, I had the pleasure of being joined by professional organizer and former FS spouse, Edith Dandenault of HavenMaven. It’s funny how no matter whether it’s your first time or if you’re an old pro, we can always use a few good tips and tricks to help us get better organized before leaving on assignment. In case you missed Edith’s engaging and entertaining presentation, we have a recording of the session here on the PAFSO YouTube channel.

The ongoing MSH International fiasco
As I’ve previously mentioned to you, over the last few weeks we have been conferring with our lawyers to study all possible legal avenues in order to compel the employer to deliver on a functioning health care plan. We are currently in the process of narrowing down our options with respect to our next course of action.

Whichever route we decide to take, we will need your help. In order to build our case, we want to have the most accurate picture of how this debacle has affected our members and their families. That’s why we are asking for all members who have been impacted by the recent failures of the Public Service Health Care Plan to please share their experiences with us. We want to understand what hardships – physical, mental, or financial – you have had to endure since the change in administrator last July 1. I know many of you have already shared your experiences with us, and for that I thank you. For those who haven’t yet, please take a moment to tell us what you’ve been through by sending us an email at info@pafso.com.

Return to the Office Across the Federal Public Service
And, lastly, here is a bit of an update on an issue we are following very closely for the last couple of weeks. Although the Employer’s recent amendment to its Direction on Prescribed Presence in the Workplace may not represent a change for much of our membership, we are very concerned about how their decision was taken without consultation with the bargaining agents. In solidarity with our colleagues across the core public administration, I have signed on to two joint letters to Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, and Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP, to express our deep concern over the lack of respect shown for the good faith agreements made at the bargaining table last summer.

We understand that it is the Employer’s right to determine where work is to be performed However, PAFSO continues to argue for practicality, flexibility, and consideration for employees. As professionals, you and your managers are best-placed to determine the best way to get the job done for Canadians. It is also essential that existing accommodation arrangements and telework agreements be respected. As always, if you feel you are being treated in a discriminatory, arbitrary, or unsafe manner, please reach out to our office for help.

I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on this issue as it unfolds.

My next regular message will reach you on June 7.  Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see each other wither online or in person during the upcoming Tradecraft week. Otherwise, please do set some time aside to take the 2024 Members Survey. Your participation is very important, and very much appreciated.

For any concerns you might have at work, just send us an email with your name, department, and a detailed description of the issues you are facing. You will be connected to a member of our Labour Relations team who will be glad to assist you. For anything and everything else, please send us an email at info@pafso.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld