Update from the President of PAFSO for September 15, 2023

Dear members,

Though still officially summer, the usual busy PAFSO fall has already begun. Our Breakfast Series has restarted, meetings for the Cyclical Review of the FSDs are set to resume in a few weeks, and of course, the PAFSO AGM will take place just over a month from now. Let’s get into the updates.

bout de papier is coming to you soon
I am pleased to announce that we have just finished mailing out the latest issue of bout de papier. This issue is packed with great content and features some fantastic stories from 1990’s Russia and 1980’s DRC. It also includes an excerpt from Queer Diplomacy, Doug Janoff’s fantastic book on LGBT Rights through a diplomatic lens. I really think you’re going to like it. You should be receiving your copy in the next few weeks. If you don’t see it by mid-October, please contact the office to make sure we have your correct mailing information.

Queer Diplomacy
If you would like a preview of Doug’s work, please check out the recording of his excellent presentation to our 12 September PAFSO Breakfast, here on our Youtube channel.

We’re having a fall 5 à 7 for new FS01 recruits
Seeing how successful our Springtime 5 à 7 was back in early June, we have decided to turn the event into a bit of a series with a Fall 5 à 7 to take place on Wednesday, 11 October. This time, we’d like to focus on new FS01 recruits and welcome our new colleagues to the PAFSO family. On this occasion, we have made arrangements with the fantastic folks at Fatboys Southern Smokehouse, located at 34 Murray Street, just steps from the PAFSO office. So, I invite all new S01 recruits to join me for some drinks, some food, and a great opportunity to network with friends and colleagues. Doors open at 4:30 and food will be served starting at 5:30. If you would like to attend, please send an email to info@pafso.com with your name, department, and any food allergies or dietary restrictions you may have. Please make sure to RSVP before October 3, at 5pm.

We have joined ServicePlus
PAFSO is proud to announce that we have officially become a member of ServicePlus, the free group discount program administered by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC). As a member of ServicePlus, PAFSO will be in the company of other public sector unions like CAPE and ACFO, bringing the program’s total membership to over 120,000.

Starting in early October, regular, affiliate, or associate members of PAFSO, will have access to a wide range of exclusive promotions on entertainment, clothing, electronics, furniture, travel, insurance and more. In a few weeks, you should be receiving an email with registration instructions and all the details, so keep your eyes on your inboxes.

The 2023 FSD cyclical review
Last month, based on your suggestions, comments and feedback, we put together and submitted our final list of proposals for the cyclical review of the FSDs. It is my understanding that we are expecting to receive the Employer’s list in the coming weeks. At this point, there’s not much more to report. I hope to have more for you on this matter once we’ve had a chance to review the proposals from the Employer. Stay tuned.

GAC’s Transformation Implementation Plan
Earlier this week, we saw the launch of GAC’s Transformation Implementation Plan, the follow-up to June’s Transformation of Diplomacy initiative. The plan, which is short on specific budgets or timelines, promises to accomplish the ambitious reform agenda by reallocating resources and implementing cost-free reforms such as cutting red tape.

Although we understand the need to rein in spending and to support many of the individual initiatives proposed in the report, it is difficult to forget that we have heard many of these things before. Furthermore, we will be reminding the Employer that cost-cutting efforts cannot come at the expense of employee health, safety, and well-being, or of our negotiated collective agreement.

Here is an interesting article from the National Post on how cuts and resource allocations are set to impact the department’s own Future of Diplomacy plans to modernize the foreign service.

This is going to be a big issue for us in the coming months, so you can be sure that we will be keeping a close eye on the situation and sharing whatever information we can as it unfolds.

The 2023 AGM
As you know, our 2023 Annual General Meeting is set to take place virtually, via Zoom, on Monday October 23, at 4pm, Ottawa time. It offers an opportunity to discuss the important work that has been happening at PAFSO and get a sense of what we expect for the next year. Let us know if you are interested in participating by sending an email to agm-aga@pafso-apase.com with your name and department. A formal meeting invitation with the full agenda and links to all related documents will be sent to registered participants at a date closer to the event.

Please note as well that we received a full slate of nominations to the ExCom, minus one FPDS position. This means that we will be able to announce an agreed slate of candidates at the AGM, and to accept nominations from the floor for this single vacancy. If you are an FPDS member in good standing, currently occupying an FS position at headquarters or abroad, please consider joining us. It’s an opportunity to have a real influence on the issues facing the professional foreign service at a key moment in our history.

Annemarie Desloges, 1984–2013
And finally, a sad anniversary. Next Thursday, September 21 will mark 10 years since our friend and colleague Annemarie Desloges was killed in the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Just 29 years old, Annemarie worked with Citizenship and Immigration Canada served at the High Commission in Kenya as liaison officer with the Canada Border Services Agency. Her tragic death serves to highlight the real risks and sacrifices our members ­– and their families – take on in their commitment to serving Canadians and Canada abroad. Our thoughts are with her family and friends whose lives were forever changed by this tragic event.

That wraps it up for this week’s message. If you have any concerns about your situation at work, send us an email with your name, department, and a detailed description of the issues you are facing. You will be connected with one of our Labour Relations Advisors who will be happy to assist you. For any other questions, just email info@pafso.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

My next message will be in early October when we will definitely be fall here in the NCR. 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.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld