Update from the President of PAFSO for November 4, 2022

Dear Members,

The last two weeks have been remarkably busy. This was no surprise, it’s always this way around this time of year. This just means that there’s a lot to report back on. Let’s get started.

Annual General Meeting
PAFSO’s 57th AGM was held on Monday, October 24, with 44 members from around the world in attendance. A recording of the proceedings can be found on our YouTube channel here.

I had the pleasure of welcoming a few new members to the Executive Committee: Kristin Janson and Naomi Gilker. They will be joining returning members, Madeline Johnson and C.J. Scott. Karine Girard, Allison Poff, William Dunlop, Sarah Finall, Iris Lui, Logann McNamara, Tam Ames, John Gosal, Tanya Belleau and Marie-Claude Harvey, making up the rest of the Committee, are all entering the second year of their terms.

We also briefed the membership on our activities of the past year, and on our plans for 2023. The coming year will be an important one for PAFSO, focussed on the negotiations for our new collective bargaining agreement, the cyclical review of the Foreign Service Directives, and on increasing our advocacy capacity in support of our long-term strategic interests. We were very pleased that the AGM supported our draft budget, which included funding for an additional Labour Relations Advisor as well as the new Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations Officer (please see below for more details on this new position).

The first annual Randy Orr Memorial Award
Immediately following the AGM we held the presentation of the first annual Randy Orr Memorial Award for volunteer service to the Foreign Service community. I am pleased to announce that C.J. Scott is the very first recipient of the Randy Orr Memorial Award. Over the past several years, C.J. has taken it upon herself to set up study groups, mentorship networks and information sessions to help her colleagues advance and excel in their careers. Her other invaluable contributions include her work as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion for PAFSO, serving as Co-Head of the Black Employees Network at Global Affairs Canada, and her tireless work to ensure that all her FS colleagues can work in a fair and equitable workplace free of discrimination and harassment. For all her selfless dedication to colleagues and the wider FS community, C.J. Scott receives the 2022 Randy Orr Memorial Award. C.J. is currently serving as a Trade Commissioner, posted to the Consulate of Canada in Barcelona.

Two honourable mentions were also awarded to candidates who have made significant contributions to their FS colleagues and the wider Canadian diplomatic family. The first honourable mention is awarded to Tammy Ames. Tammy volunteers as the moderator for the FS group’s unofficial Facebook page and as PAFSO’s Director of Communications. She also serves on the Executive Committee and is a member of the bout de papier editorial board.

The second honourable mention goes to Camilo Uribe. As a diplomatic spouse, Camillo has dedicated himself to acting as a community coordinator for all newly arrived Canadian staff, organizing social gatherings, building a sense of community, and helping to serve as a bridge between Canada-based staff and the local culture.

In case you missed it, you can watch a recording of the awards ceremony here, on YouTube.

Tradecraft Week
As many of you know, last week was also devoted to our second annual Tradecraft Week. With the goal of fostering a greater sense of community among members of our profession, the professional conference invited members to share their insights and experiences through a series of roundtable and panel discussions. Topics this year ranged from tips on how to work with regional offices, to how to transform White Fragility into White Humility, to the best ways to avoid pitfalls in dealing with your manager. If you weren’t able to participate this year, all the sessions are available in this playlist on our YouTube channel.

Thanks again to everyone who made Tradecraft Week 2022 such a huge success. I know it’s a lot of work, but it is always so rewarding in the end.

Indigenous Mentorship Programme
As part of our ongoing commitment to Reconciliation we are looking for members to help shape and bring to life a PAFSO initiative for Indigenous students that would help increase awareness of FS careers and provide one-on-one mentoring. Ideally the people helping with this initiative will be representative of the FS – from the various career streams, backgrounds, and experience levels. Your level of participation will vary by the time you have available, and your particular interest. You can find out more by viewing this video by ExCom member William Dunlop’s presentation during Tradecraft week. If you would like to take part in the steering committee and pilot project, please reach out to William via info@pafso.com.

Negotiations for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement
Also taking place last week was the first round of negotiations for our next collective bargaining agreement. Over the course of three days, the parties were able to give overviews of their bargaining proposals, provide supporting rationales and ask a few questions. Overall, the sessions were seen as productive. As you will understand, we are still very early in the process, but things are progressing as we expected them to. The next time the parties are scheduled to meet later on this month. You can expect to hear a bit more on our progress in early December.

PAFSO is hiring
We are looking for a proactive and autonomous individual with excellent strategy and communications skills to develop and implement an advocacy and stakeholder relations strategy to enhance political and public support for our profession. The position will help us in furthering our aims to defend the interests of our members, protect the standards of our professions and to promote an effective Foreign Service in Canada. If you know anyone who would be a good candidate for this position, we encourage you to share the job posting to your social and professional networks.

Well, that about sums up what we’ve been up to over the past two weeks. In the meantime, if you have any concerns about your situation at work, please do contact our General Manager, Bertrand Myre. Let him know the details of your concerns, and he will put you in touch with someone from our Labour Relations team. For all other inquiries, just send an email to info@pafso.com, and someone will be sure to get back to you very soon.

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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