About CAPE

About us

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees is the third largest labour union in the federal public service. We represent 13,000 economists, policy analysts, researchers, statisticians, translators, interpreters and terminologists – among many others.

Their work helps guide and inform policy-making and protect the equal status of our country’s official languages. Our members work primarily in the nation’s capital, but we have members in every province and territory.

Our members pay some of the lowest dues of all the bargaining agents in the federal public service: just $48 a month. Dues are established by members, through a membership vote. Members get to review and approve our budgets each year.

As a union, we are part of a global working-class movement; we are committed to the principles of social justice, fairness and equality – whether at home or abroad.

About our membership

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees represents federal employees who belong to the Economics and Social Science Services table (EC), those who belong to the Translation table (TR) and analysts and research assistants (ROs and RAs) who work at the Library of Parliament.

Our members can be found in the following departments and agencies:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian Human Rights Commission
Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Correctional Service of Canada
Elections Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Finance Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Global Affairs Canada
Health Canada
Employment and Social Development Canada
Immigration and Refugee Board
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Infrastructure Canada
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Justice Canada
Library and Archives Canada
Library of Parliament
National Parole Board
Natural Resources Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
Public Prosecution Service of Canada
Public Safety Canada
Public Service Commission
Public Services and Procurement Canada 
Statistics Canada
Status of Women Canada
Translation Bureau
Transport Canada

Our history

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees was created in 2003 when the Social Science Employees Association and the Canadian Union of Professional and Technical Employees merged to form a new union.

The Social Science Employees Association was formerly the Economists’, Sociologists’ and Statisticians’ Association. It represented all the members belonging to the ES group. In 1990, the association welcomed research officers and research assistants at the Library of Parliament. Four years later, its membership would double after the SI group (Social Science Support) joined its ranks. This led the Association to change its name, in 1994, to better reflect its membership base.

In 1999, Treasury Board combined the ES and SI groups to form the EC group.

For its part, the Canadian Union of Technical and Employees was created when 1,600 federal public servants broke away from the Professional Institute of the Public Service in 1978 to form their own union. At the time, they included 1,200 translators and 400 aircraft operators.  

Before their merger, both unions already had a close relationship. In 1997, they filed a joint federal court challenge against the government for amortizing part of its members’ pension surplus. Since then, the unions often coordinated their efforts.

The merger was finally put to a vote in early 2003; 79% of members voted in favour. Finally, on October 15, 2003, CAPE was officially recognized as the official bargaining agent for the EC and TR groups as well as the research employees at the Library of Parliament.

Our union continues to evolve to this day. If you’d like to contribute to our success, consider joining one of CAPE’s committees.

Have you signed a union card?

Many CAPE members are often surprised to find out that, after getting hired and paying dues, they aren’t officially a union member until they sign their union card.

As a member, you join a group of like-minded people who will protect you against unfair treatment. Our representatives can provide you with valuable advice when you need it and can help ensure that your rights are protected.

Signing your CAPE union card will also give you a wide range of benefits; you can find out more about this here.

NOTE: If you’re an RCMP civilian member whose position is being converted to EC or TR, please complete the application form on this page instead.

To become a member of CAPE, all you need to do is sign your union card. Click here to do it online or contact our office at 613-236-9181 or 1-800-265-9181.

Why am I paying dues if I’m not a member?

In 1946, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that all employees in a unionized workplace have to pay dues. The decision was rendered by Justice Yvan Rand, who reasoned that employees in a unionized workplace benefit from the collective agreements negotiated by the bargaining agent, whether or not they belong to a union.