Government Restructures, Unions Not ConsultedDecember 19, 2003
“It is totally unacceptable that union leaders are briefed by Canada’s newspapers and websites and not by government officials. This government has pledged to co-development of human resources initiatives with unions, but fails to extend the courtesy of consultation on issues that impact directly on unionized employees,”said Bill Krause.“ We are appalled at the lack of consultation between the government and the bargaining agents.”
What We Know:
According to Treasury Board, responsibility for collective bargaining and other staff relations activities will be transferred to Public Works and Government Service Canada, in what they feel is an attempt to create a more “collective” approach to managing human resources. In this instance, the employer has stated that they will first discuss the matter with public service unions, and will start as soon as possible.
“In our discussions with senior Treasury Board officials, we have learned that collective bargaining will remain at TB for the time being, and that negotiations will continue. We have been assured that no changes will be made until there has been full and complete consultation with bargaining agents,”said Association President Bill Krause.
We are tentatively scheduled to resume EC collective bargaining during the last week of January. TR collective bargaining is ongoing as well.
According to M. Krause, “Not having been provided with any justification for this reallocation of responsibilities, we are not clear on the employer’s logic in this regard. PWGSC is a procurement agency, which negotiates procurement contracts. The Collective Agreements that govern the employment of public service employees have no business in the hands of an organization that has no experience in this area.”
According to the Secretary of TBS, the functions and structure of Treasury Board are being streamlined to reflect the Board’s new focus on ensuring value for money and providing oversight of the financial management functions in Departments and Agencies. TBS will also have a key role in ongoing expenditure review.
A new Public Service Human Resources Management Agency has been created.
The following units currently in the Human Resources Management Office will move to the newly created Public Service Human Resources Management Agency, under the President of the Privy Council:
Human Resources Modernization Implementation Secretariat
Policy and Planning Sector
Organization and Classification Sector
Leadership Network (except for the Youth Internship Program)
Integration Division (some personnel in this office will remain here)
Employment Equity Division
The Official Languages Branch and the Office of Values and Ethics will also move to the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency, under the President of the Privy Council.
From the Chief Information Officer's Branch, those units working directly on the Government On-Line initiative, managing specific projects and the Government On-Line investments in services, web sites and human resources will move to Public Works and Government Services Canada. The Shared Travel Initiative Service will also be moving to Public Works and Government Services Canada.
The following units, currently in the Human Resources Management Office, will remain with Treasury Board:
Labour Relations and Compensation Operations Sector
Pensions and Benefits Sector
Joint Career Transition Committee
A portion of the Integration Division
Human Resources Development Canada
HRDC has been divided into two different departments: Human Resources and Skills Development, and Social Development. The corporate services of Finance and Administrative Services, Human Resources and Systems will form part of the Social Development department, and are to be considered “Shared Services”.
This means that they will continue to serve the original HRDC, now two organizations, with two Deputy Ministers.
“While this change has come as a surprise to us - we were not consulted nor informed regarding any planned changes at HRDC, it seems that this ministry, or rather the new departments of Human and Skills Development and Social Development, have adopted an open informative communications approach with their respective employees, and consequently seem to be managing the change well, to date,” said M. Krause“It is unfortunate however that they did not see fit to extend the same courtesy to the bargaining agents who represent their employees, and protect their employee’s rights and interests.”
The role of the new Social Development department will be, according to the Prime Minister’s office, to ensure that an effective income security system is in place for seniors, persons with disabilities, families, and children, and which will provide integrated policy development and program delivery.
The mandate of the new Human Resources and Skills Development department will be promoting well-functioning labour market and lifelong learning systems, including student assistance, and which will work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the issue of foreign credentials accreditation.
Communication Canada is to be disbanded. A review will be undertaken, with the goal of eliminating some services. We have yet to learn where the remaining existing functions of Communications Canada, such as responsibility for the main government website, and the toll-free information services will allocated.
“We’d like to know precisely where the employer intends to download these major initiatives, and what mechanisms they intend to use to accommodate the staff at Communication Canada,” said Krause.
The Sponsorship program which was formerly under the auspices of Communications Canada has been eliminated. Commitments that have already been made to communities or organizations will be honored, however they will not engage in any new activities. This program will be subsumed by Heritage Canada, and administered through its existing funds.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
This new organization will incorporate the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (currently with the Department of National Defence) , and the activities currently undertaken by the Solicitor General portfolio that ensure the safety of Canadians as well as other activities that serve to protect against and respond to natural disasters and security emergencies;
Code of Ethics
A revised code of ethics has been implemented. It is a stricter Conflict of Interest and Post-employment Code for Public Office Holders, which Ministers and public office holders will be required to adhere to.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, the government will move immediately in the new session of Parliament to reinstate legislation to establish the office of an independent Ethics Commissioner, as well as a Senate Ethics Officer.
Prime Minister’s Office
Three new special secretariats have been formed: Aboriginal Affairs, Cities and Canada – U.S. relations.
Treasury Board has prepared a set of Qs and As related to the announcement by the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance about the governments review of spending, and immediate measures to control costs:
The 39-member federal cabinet, as appointed by Paul Martin:
Reg Alcock: Treasury Board
David Anderson: Enviornment
Jack Austin: Leader of the Government in the Senate
Jean Augustine: Minister of State (Multiculturism and Status of Women)
Mauril Bélanger: Deputy Leader of the Government in the House
Carolyn Bennett: Minister of State (Public Health)
Ethel Blondin-Andrew: Minister of State (Children and Youth)
Claudette Bradshaw: Labour; Homelessness
Aileen Carroll: International Co-operation
Hélène Chalifour Scherrer: Canadian Heritage
Denis Coderre: President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians; La Francophonie, Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution
Joe Comuzzi: Minister of State (Federal Economic Development; Initiative for Northern Ontario)
Irwin Cotler: Justice, Attorney General
John Efford: Natural Resources
Liza Frulla: Social Development
Ralph Goodale: Finance
Bill Graham: Foreign Affairs
Albina Guarnieri: Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Civil Preparedness)
Stan Keyes: National Revenue; Minister of State (Sport)
Gar Knutson: Minister of State (New and Emerging Markets)
Paul Martin: Prime Minister
John McCallum: Veterans Affairs
Anne McLellan: Deputy Prime Minister; Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Andy Mitchell: Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Joseph McGure: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Stephen Owen: Public Works and Government Services
Ray Pagtakhan: Western Economic Diversification
Denis Paradis: Minister of State (Financial Institutions)
Jim Peterson: International Trade
Pierre Pettigrew: Health; Intergovernmental Affairs; Official Languages
David Pratt: National Defence
Geoff Regan: Fisheries and Oceans
Lucienne Robillard: Industry, Economic Developmet; Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Jacques Saada: House Leader; Minister responsible for Democratic Reform
Andy Scott: Minister of State (Infrastructure)
Judy Sgro: Citizenship and Immigration