Update from the President of PAFSO for October 21, 2022

Dear Members,

Once again, we find ourselves in busy times at PAFSO.  In accordance with the ancient principle that everything must happen at the same time, we have a number of major events taking place next week. Therefore, I am going to keep this message relatively short, partly to entice you to our Annual General Meeting to hear a full debrief on all our activities and plans.

Annual General Meeting
PAFSO’s 57th Annual General Meeting will be taking place virtually this coming Monday, October 24 at 1600, Ottawa time. If ever you wanted to get more involved with your association, this is the perfect occasion to find out what’s happening at PAFSO, to learn about the vision for the upcoming year, and to have your say on the important issues affecting our profession. If you would like to participate and haven’t let us know yet please send an email to agm-aga@pafso-apase.com with your name and department, so we can add you to our list of attendees. The meeting agenda, all of the relevant reports on PAFSO’s programs and initiatives, our audited financial statements as well as the 2023 budget can be found at this link.

Also, immediately after the AGM, we will be taking a moment to announce the winner of our very first 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.

Negotiations for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement
Tuesday, 25 October will also mark the beginning of our first negotiation session with the Employer for our next Collective Bargaining Agreement.  In this round, we are seeking to obtain a strong economic increase in order to compensate fairly for the effects of inflation, and to address a number of other issues related to conditions of service.

Meeting with our new General Manager
On Tuesday this week, as part of our ongoing virtual breakfast series, I had the chance to introduce our members to PAFSO’s new General Manager, Bertrand Myre. Bertrand, who many of you may already know from his work as part of our team of Labour Relations Advisors, talked about his new role as well as his vision for PAFSO. If you were unable to attend, you can watch a recording of the session here on our YouTube channel. In addition to being an excellent discussion in itself, it also offers a preview of some of the issues we will raise at the AGM, including on collective bargaining.

Tradecraft Week
This coming Monday also marks the beginning of our second annual edition of Tradecraft week. From Monday to Thursday, PAFSO will be holding several presentations, roundtables and panel discussions covering a wide range of topics focussed on promoting our profession and fostering greater connections within the foreign service community. Each session is centred around a specific topic related to our trade and is a great opportunity to learn about the work being done in other streams.

Participation is free and open to all our members, but you must register for each session separately. And, for those of you abroad, an effort has been made to organize session times such that we can reach as many of you as possible. Visit our website to find the complete Tradecraft Week program and details of each session.

Canadian Council on International Law Conference, October 27–28
PAFSO is proud to be a sponsor of the 51st annual conference of the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL). Under the theme of “Solidarity and Enlightened Self-Interest in International Law: Relic or Aspiration” the conference invites policymakers, practitioners, academics, and students to reflect critically on the significance and challenges posed by the biggest issues we face today: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global response to COVID-19, and the roles and responsibilities of the new titans of technology and commerce, and many more. Click here for the full conference program and details on how to participate. Taking place in Ottawa on October 27 and 28, this will be an in-person event.

Report of the Integrity Commissioner
On 6 October 2022, the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner tabled a report to Parliament on a case of serious wrongdoing at Global Affairs Canada. Although PAFSO was not involved in the investigation, and cannot comment on the specific case, the details of the report are profoundly disturbing. Since it was issued, we have heard from members who describe a number of similar situations at both GAC and IRCC. Although we understand that senior management at GAC is now seized of the particular case described in the report, our Employer has a much broader responsibility to ensure the psychological health and safety of our members, and our colleagues, in the workplace in Canada and abroad. Therefore, we will be following up with management at both GAC and IRCC to understand their specific plans to not only protect employees and ensure accountability in this instance, but to ensure that similar situations are promptly addressed and not tolerated in the workplace. Members who experience such behaviour should contact PAFSO immediately for advice and assistance.

2023 calendars and bout de papier
I know many of you are still waiting to receive your latest issue of bout de papier and the PAFSO 2023 desk calendar. It has come to my attention that there appears to be some misunderstanding on the part of the Employer as to how these have always been distributed in the past. We understand that this delay is frustrating to you. It certainly is to us. We are actively trying to resolve the issue and are working diligently to make sure these get delivered to you as soon as possible.

Next week is a big week for our association. I hope you will be able to join us for our AGM and a few of the many Tradecraft Week sessions. It’s always good to meet with colleagues and talk about our profession, even if it is in a virtual setting.

If you are experiencing any difficulties at work, please do not hesitate to reach out to our new General Manager, Bertrand Myre. Send him a detailed account of what you are experiencing and one of our Labour Relations Officers will get back to you. For everything else, send an email to info@pafso.com and someone will get back to you shortly.

We’ll chat again at the beginning of November. In the meantime, please stay safe, and take good care of yourselves, and of each other.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld

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