Update from the President of PAFSO for November 18, 2022

Dear Members,

We continue to be busy at PAFSO headquarters and are in the middle of a number of initiatives. Although we don’t have many specifics to report on at the moment, I thought it was important to keep you up to date on a few things.

Masks recommended again in the NCR
In addition to COVID-19, the National Capital Region is seeing an increase in Influenza and SRV cases, especially among young children. On Monday, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, strongly recommended that masks be worn in all indoor and crowded public settings. Dr. Moore’s call for masking was echoed by the Quebec College of Physicians as well as by the authorities at Ottawa Public Health.

We have always recognized the need to remain vigilant with respect to the basic safety precautions against COVID-19 and other airborne viruses. As you can imagine, we are closely watching this issue, especially as it pertains to the Employer’s return to the workplace policies. As we have laid out in our position on the matter, PAFSO is “committed to ensuring that the return to the workplace for our members is carried out in a way that (1) puts their safety and that of their loved ones at the forefront; (2) is guided by the latest science and modelling available; and (3) responds quickly and appropriately in the event of another significant wave of the pandemic.”

I hope that this direction from Dr. Moore and other medical authorities, combined with flu shots and COVID-19 boosters where possible will be enough to stop the surge. We will continue to track this issue closely and report back to you as developments warrant.

Negotiations for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement
Collective bargaining is set to resume next week. A second session at the negotiating table is scheduled for next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We expect that things will continue to move along smoothly. I’ll be in a position to share a bit more with you on the process in my next message early next month.

AMBCANADA/PAFSO Deborah Chatsis Indigenous Scholarship in Foreign Affairs at Carleton University: Giving Tuesday
In honour of our friend and colleague Deborah Chatsis, who passed away earlier this year, PAFSO and AMBCANADA have established the Deborah Chatsis Indigenous Fellowship to help ensure that Indigenous peoples are properly represented in Canada’s Foreign Service. We are grateful for the contributions that many of you have made over the past year.

“Giving Tuesday” is coming up soon, and Carleton University will again match contributions from donors to its scholarships on a first come first served basis. Matching contributions will start just after midnight on November 29. AMBCANADA and PAFSO are hoping members will contribute enough to make the Deborah Chatsis Indigenous Scholarship in Foreign Affairs an “endowed scholarship,” i.e., permanent. Your contributions will also help increase the amount and number of scholarships awarded in Deborah’s name. Please keep an eye out for future messages and links on where and how to make a donation.

The Treaty Documentary
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty – the treaty banning landmines – Mines Action Canada and the Norman Patterson School of International affairs will be hosting the première screening of Richard Fitoussi’s documentary, The Treaty. Inspired by Canada’s extraordinary leadership, The Treatychronicles the bold diplomatic gamble that brought together governments and civil society in a global movement to end the scourge of landmines. Hosted by Evan Solomon and with introductory remarks from former Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy, the premiere will take place at 6pm on Monday, December 5 at Carleton University. Click here for tickets and more information.

PAFSO Breakfast with Professor Sean Maloney on 29 November
Please join me on Tuesday, 29 November, for a virtual PAFSO breakfast discussion with military historian Sean Maloney. Dr. Maloney, a professor of military history at Royal Military College in Kingston, will speak to us about strategic nuclear force signaling in the Russo-Ukraine conflict.  Please register for the webinar by clicking here.

That’s it for this week. As always, if you are experiencing any concerns with your situation at work, do not hesitate to contact PAFSO General Manager, Bertrand Myre. Send him a detailed email and he will put you in contact with one of our Labour Relations Advisors. For everything else, send an email to info@pafso.com, and we will get back to you very soon.

As many of us in the northern hemisphere will be spending more and more time indoors, please stay safe and follow all your local heath directives. We’ll chat again in two weeks. Until then, take good care of yourselves, and of each other.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld

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