Finally We Have Assurances!

March 11, 2005 Since the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Health Canada’s CAPE members who became part of the new organization have always been concerned about the possibility that the government would turn it into a separate operating agency.
The reason for the fear and rumours is that the information reaching our members lacked clarity, assurance and left the impression that the government was considering legislation that would eventually lead to PHAC becoming a Separate Operating Agency (SOA).
I can assure all our members now, after a meeting with Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer yesterday, that the Agency will not become an SOA, and neither is the government planning to introduce legislation to make it one in future. In addition, he stated that:
 Employees will not be displaced from one position to another. A move requested by an individual may be granted where operationally possible.
 The Agency currently operates between the NCR and Winnipeg.
 He is committed to establishing good working relations with Bargaining Agents.
 PHAC will consult with staff and Bargaining Agents in developing the Agency’s Human Resources capacity.
 For the next year, Human Resources services will be purchased from Health Canada.
 With respect to the establishment of an Informal Conflict Management System (ICMS), the Agency is not yet ready to address this issue. It will review the ICMS that Health Canada adopts and then decide if it needs to develop its own approach.
While we appreciate the assurance, I reminded Dr. Buttler-Jones of the importance and necessity of sharing information with our members at all times, in a timely manner, on issues that would potentially affect their careers. Thus avoiding fears and rumour mongering. The Chief Medical Officer agreed.
With our members’ concerns put to rest, the Association looks forward to working cooperatively and collaboratively with the Agency to advance the interests and resolve the concerns of our members.
José Aggrey