Update from the President of PAFSO for October 6, 2023

Dear members,

It’s been three weeks since my last message to you, and Thanksgiving long weekend is already upon us in Canada. Our busy fall has officially begun, and I have a few things on which to update you. Let’s get started. The situation in IndiaAs many of you are aware, some of our members posted to India are dealing with evacuation and the possibility of abrupt endings to their assignments. Although we have few details to share on this delicate situation, PAFSO is assisting them as needed. Our thoughts are with our colleagues and their families as they navigate this latest round of disruption and uncertainty for the Foreign Service community. The 2023 AGMOn Monday October 23, at 4pm, Ottawa time, PAFSO will be holding its 58th Annual General Meeting. As in previous years, the meeting will take place virtually, via Microsoft Teams,  in order to allow for members outside the NCR to participate. This the best opportunity to discuss the important work that we have been doing and to get a sense of what is expected for the year ahead. If you would like to participate, please send an email to agm-aga@pafso-apase.com with your name and department and we will add you to our list of attendees. We will be sending the formal Teams meeting invitation in the coming weeks. Please note that we will officially announce the new members of the Executive Committee at the AGM, and say goodbye and thank you to the outgoing team. While we have an agreed slate for most of the positions, we still have an opening for one FPDS position. If you’re interested in being nominated from the floor for a two-year term beginning on 24 October, please drop me a line at pamela.isfeld@pafso.com. Immediately after the meeting, we will be announcing the winner of the second annual Randy Orr Memorial Award for volunteer service to the FS community. The target start time for the informal ceremony is 1745, so please plan to stay with us to hear about the inspiring work of our community members. Ahead of the meeting, I invite you to consult various relevant reports on PAFSO’s programs and initiatives, our audited financial statements as well as the 2024 budget and the agenda via this link. I hope you’ll be able to join us. ServicePlusEarlier this week, we sent out invitations to join ServicePlus, the free group discount program administered by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC). Now, all PAFSO members – regular, associate and affiliate – can access a wide range of exclusive promotions from top brands in entertainment, fashion, electronics, furniture, travel and much more. All you need to do is fill out this form on the ServicePlus website. You will need to select PAFSO as your member organization and provide your membership number provided in the invitation email. If you did not receive an invitation to join ServicePlus, or if your email did not contain a membership number, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. As a member of ServicePlus, PAFSO is now in the good company of several other public sector unions like CAPE and ACFO, bringing the program’s total membership to over 120,000 strong. The PAFSO Indigenous Mentorship InitiativeI am pleased to announce that PAFSO’s new Indigenous Mentorship Initiative is well under way. Last week we held a mentor training session with over 30 members with the goal of helping to ensure that Indigenous people are properly represented in Canada’s professional Foreign Service. This initiative is an important part of PAFSO’s commitment to reconciliation. To know more about the program and for details about upcoming sessions, please contact pimi-pmaa@pafso-apase.com. PAFSO Breakfast on Tuesday, October 17 at 0900 with Professor Raywat DeonandanI’m very happy that epidemiologist Professor Raywat Deonandan of the University of Ottawa, who spoke to PAFSO members most recently in September 2022, will return to update us on the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic at 0900 on October 17. Please register for the session here. If you have any questions for Professor Deonandan, please send them to me by Friday, October 13.  Fall 5 à 7 for new FS01 recruitsOur Fall 5 à 7 for new FS01 recruits is scheduled for next Wednesday, 11 October. I look forward to having the chance to personally welcome our new colleagues to the PAFSO family. If you’ve already sent us your RSVP, I look forward to seeing you all next Wednesday at Fatboys Southern Smokehouse, 34 Murray Street. Just a reminder that doors open at 4:30. We’ll see you then. The 2023 FSD cyclical reviewLate last week, we received the Employer’s list of proposals for the upcoming cyclical review of the FSDs. We are now reviewing them and preparing our arguments. This is all we can share at the moment, as we are bound by confidentiality agreements at this stage. Meetings are expected to resume shortly, and we will report back what we can at that point. The new PAFSO websiteWe’re just putting the finishing touches on the redevelopment of the PAFSO website. After several months of carefully restructuring and redesigning our site, we are running the prototype through the last battery of tests. If all goes well, our new site should be live on October 16. Make sure to check it out. That’s it for this week. As always, for any concerns about your situation at work, just send us an email with your name, department, and a detailed description of the issues you are facing. You will be put in touch with one of our Labour Relations Advisors who will be happy to assist and advise you. If there’s anything else, just email us at info@pafso.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. These will be a busy next couple of weeks. Make sure to check out ServicePlus if you haven’t already. I hope you can join us for the AGM on the 23rd. And we’ll do our best to keep you updated on the situation in India. My next message will come to you in two weeks. Until then, you can stay in touch by checking out my President’s Twitter account where you can get my take on current affairs, politics and any issue affecting our profession. Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other. And for those of you in Canada, please enjoy the long weekend!

All the best,

Pam Isfeld