Update from the President of PAFSO for October 22, 2021

Dear Members,

The times are still very busy for PAFSO and the other bargaining agents of the core public administration. Together, we continue to work to ensure that the Employer’s policy on vaccinations is applied consistently, safeguards our members’ right to privacy, ensures all human rights are respected, and provides reasonable accommodation for those with legitimate reasons to not be vaccinated. If you believe that you have a valid reason to seek an exemption from the Employer’s mandatory vaccine policy, we encourage you to do so. Should you find yourself placed on leave as a result of this policy, or if you are denied your request for exemption, please get in touch with Executive Director Kim Coles, who will direct your case to one of our Labour Relations Advisers.

As part of our efforts to ensure that PAFSO members have solid information throughout this long-drawn-out pandemic, last week we were fortunate to once again have Professor Raywat Deonandan of the University of Ottawa speak to us about what we can expect in the next phases. If you were unable to attend, you can watch a recording of our lively discussion here on our YouTube channel.

Next week will be particularly busy and interesting for PAFSO. As you know, we will be holding our 56th Annual General Meeting on Monday, 25 October at 1600. And, along with the usual reports from our various initiatives, from bout de papier to our group insurance programs, we will also be reporting on the big changes to our governance structure that will come into effect with your decision to make the full-time paid presidency a permanent part of our Constitution. This is a big step forward for our little association. If you have any questions, or if you just want to learn more about it, I invite you to attend Monday’s AGM. You can get the meeting link by sending an email to agm-aga@pafso-apase.com. In preparation for Monday’s meeting, the relevant reports and other documents that will be discussed are available here for your review.

Also taking place next week is PAFSO’s very first Foreign Service Tradecraft Week. Presented by the Professional Committee, this is a great opportunity to network, share your experiences, hear from experts on a variety of subjects, and learn about the challenges facing your colleagues in other streams. Each day features two sessions with topics ranging from promoting indigenous business to psychological wellbeing for our profession to a day in the life of an FSIA officer. This is our most ambitious professional development conference to date. It’s five big days of great roundtable and panel discussions covering the whole gamut of our profession, our trade, our craft. For the complete schedule, event details and registration links, click here.

I am pleased to announce that our Communications Committee has just launched its latest awareness campaign. Under the banner of “PAFSO is here for you”, the campaign seeks to make our members aware of what it is that we can offer as both your union and your professional association. In the past, we may not have communicated the value of being a PAFSO member quite as well as we should have. PAFSO has a great deal to offer its members, and we want to let you know about it. Whether you are a new member just learning about us, or a long-time member who we haven’t reached out to, PAFSO wants you to know that we are working for you. Keep an eye out for the campaign on social media, share it with friends and colleagues, and learn more about all the ways in which PAFSO is here for you.

I’ll keep this message short as we are about to embark on another busy week. If you have any concerns about your situation at work, make sure to contact our Executive Director, Kim Coles. She will get you in touch with our labour relations team. For any other questions send an email to info@pafso.com.

Our weekly virtual coffees are still ongoing for those who just want a quick and informal chat, although we will not hold one next week due to the Tradecraft Week events. They normally take place on Wednesdays at 1030, Ottawa time. If you’d like to join in, you can register here.  And, as always, if that time does not suit you and your colleagues for whatever reason, please drop me a line and we can set up an ad hoc session at a time that works for you.

I’m really looking forward to next week. I hope to see many of you at Monday’s AGM (send an email here if you wish to participate). And I can’t wait for all the great discussions throughout Tradecraft Week. I’m sure I’ll be seeing many of you on screen.

I’ll be in touch again in a few weeks. Until then, I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe. Take care of yourselves and each other.

All the best,

Pam Isfeld

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