Update from the President of PAFSO for July 7, 2023

Dear members,

I hope you all had a chance to relax and recharge a bit over this past Canada Day long weekend. I certainly did, and now I’m ready to catch you up on some of what’s been happening at PAFSO over the last couple of weeks.

The new collective agreement has been signed
Last Friday our new collective agreement was officially signed. The agreement, supported by an absolute majority of PAFSO members, is now in effect and will remain in place until June 30, 2026. As you know, this agreement came with a signing bonus. So, if you were an FS in an FS position, or on any kind of leave last Friday, you qualify for the $2,500 bonus.

This is a strong agreement, as evidenced by the vast support it garnered during the ratification vote. As I’ve said before, beyond the many significant economic gains it represents for our members, it also delivers on several other issues like overtime, leave and provisions for telework. I strongly invite you to read through the new agreement. You can download it from our site here.

PAFSO Breakfast: EXCOM and the year ahead
In preparation for our upcoming AGM, scheduled to take place virtually on Monday, 23 October, I will be hosting a PAFSO Breakfast discussion on the Executive Committee’s role and its vision for the year ahead.

This year we are looking to fill a total of 11 open positions on the Committee, with at least one vacancy in each stream. While many of our current dedicated team members will be returning for another term, some will not be able to. This is an excellent opportunity to add some new members with fresh perspectives to the group. In particular, we are hoping to add some francophone voices to the committee, as well as members who have navigated the complexities of spousal employment issues abroad.

A formal call for nominations will be issued later this month, but if you think you might be interested, please check out the duties of the Committee under the constitution. Also, consider attending this Tuesday’s PAFSO Breakfast at 0900 Ottawa time on 11 July, where I’ll discuss the ins and outs of the Committee and what we expect to be working on next year. Register for the session using this link. For those unable to join us live, the session will be recorded and posted to our YouTube channel.

Preparations for the cyclical review of the Foreign Service Directives
I wish to thank all those who took the time to send suggestions and comments on the draft list of proposals for the cyclical review of the FSDs. Your input, along with the insights garnered from the survey earlier this year have all contributed to the final list of proposals which we have submitted ahead of the review. We will be sure to keep you updated as developments warrant.

Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) transition to Canada Life
As of Saturday, July 1, the PSHCP has switched administrators from Sun Life to Canada Life. Hopefully, you have all completed the positive enrolment process and are now fully transitioned to the new provider. In case you haven’t, an invitation to complete the enrolment process should have been sent to you by mail or email. If you have not received an invitation, and it is not stuck in your junk folders, please call the PSHCP contact centre at 1-855-415-4414 to complete the enrolment process.

For more information on the transition to Canada Life, please consult this page on the Employer’s website.

bout de papier: call for submissions and new fee rates
In an effort to attract more contributions and bring greater consistency to PAFSO’s flagship magazine, bout de papier is introducing a new fee structure for contributions. The magazine is now offering a standard freelance rate ranging between $0.10 to $0.25 per word for contributions with a maximum cap of $500 per article. The rate varies depending on the type of article produced. For example, a personal memoir, requiring less intensive research, would receive $0.10 per word. For a more in-depth, research-heavy piece, the $0.25 per word rate would apply. We will also be accepting foreign-service related fiction at rates to be discussed.  Submissions are open to the Canadian writing community at large, and we particularly encourage contributions from members as well as their spouses and family.

If you would like to contribute to bout de papier, or would like more information on the rates for submissions, please contact managing editor, Eric Schallenberg.

Affairs of State at the Classic Theatre Festival
I wanted to remind you that the Classic Theatre Festival’s production of Louis Verneuil’s 1950 classic comedy, Affairs of State, starts its run tonight. The Festival is kindly offering PAFSO members, and their dependents, a 20% discount on. Running until July 30 at the Arts Court theatre, Affairs of State is a funny and intriguing story about the diplomatic deals and double crosses taking place behind closed doors in post-WW2 Washington. You canfind  more information about the play and purchase your tickets at the Classic Theatre Festival’s website or by calling 613-695-9330. Make sure to use the discount code PAFSO23 to get 20% off your ticket purchase.

That should bring you up to date on another productive couple of weeks here at PAFSO. As always, if there’s anything concerning you about your situation at work, just reach out to us. Send us an email with your name, department, and a detailed description of the issues you are facing. You will be connected to one of our Labour Relations Advisors who will be happy to assist you. For all other questions, just email info@pafso.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

We’ll talk again in two weeks. In the meantime, check out my President’s Twitter account. If you want my take on current issues, politics, and anything else newsworthy that impacts on our profession, follow me at @PafsoPresApase.

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

All the best,

Pam Isfeld