Frequently asked questions concerning the votes

Votes _are _in 2016

Frequently asked questions concerning the votes and the ratification of the tentative agreements

The period during which CAPE members were asked to vote on eight key issues, including the ratification of collective agreements for the EC and TR groups, has now ended.

The new electronic voting process was an unqualified success, as more than 3,500 members registered to participate in one or all of the votes.

The logistic and technological challenges associated with the new Member Portal that was set up at the request of the National Executive Committee (NEC) to safeguard the integrity of our database as well as voter confidentiality were successfully met, despite some minor technical hitches. In addition, the NEC commissioned the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to take on the task of validating the votes. PwC set a number of conditions for its performance of this task, including a requirement for voters to produce specific pieces of ID.

The questions asked most frequently by members concerning this vote are answered below. More will be added over the next few days.

  1. Will the amount of time needed to determine the results of the voting have any impact on the signing of my collective agreement?
  2. Given the problems with the Phoenix pay system, what assurance do I have that Treasury Board will be able to deliver?
  3. Why the delay in announcing all the voting results?
  4. Why were some ballots rejected?
  5. I put my trust in CAPE and uploaded a piece of identification to the portal. CAPE promised me that this information would be destroyed. When will that be done?
  6. Can I ask CAPE whether my vote was accepted?
  7. Will it be necessary to upload a piece of ID to the Member Portal when it comes time to vote again?
  8. Can the fact that some votes were rejected change any of the outcomes?
  9. How many ballots were rejected
  10. Who decided to reject the votes that did not meet PwC’s requirements?
  11. Why have the results of the voting for the two vacant director positions not been unveiled yet?
  12. Will the Member Portal continue to be used?
  13. Why didn’t the system work properly?
  14. Why were about a hundred members allowed to use paper ballots?
  15. If that many members had so many technical problems, why wasn’t the voting period extended?
  16.  Why is the President being allowed to stay in office if only 49% of the members voted not to remove her? How can anyone say she has the confidence of the membership?

1-     Will the amount of time needed to determine the results of the voting have any impact on the signing of my collective agreement?

Not at all. While CAPE members were in the process of voting, CAPE and Treasury Board representatives continued to work on drafting and validating the texts of the new collective agreements. It is anticipated that both the EC and TR agreements will be signed in the last week of March, assuming of course that the members of these two groups vote in favour of ratifying their tentative agreements.

Once the new collective agreements are signed by CAPE and Treasury Board, their provisions will immediately come into effect (e.g., the new meal reimbursement rates). Treasury Board will have 150 days from the date of signing to make compensation adjustments and issue retroactive pay (dating back to June 22, 2014, for the EC group and April 19, 2014, for the TR group) to the employees involved.

2-     Given the problems with the Phoenix pay system, what assurance do I have that Treasury Board will be able to deliver?

We brought this concern to the attention of Treasury Board, and we were assured that there would be no problem with meeting this deadline. In fact, the first occupational group to sign a new collective agreement in the post-Phoenix era, PSAC’s members at the Canada Revenue Agency, received their salary adjustments and retroactive pay within the 150-day time frame set out in their collective agreement.

3-     Why the delay in announcing all the voting results?

CAPE’s new portal, established at the behest of the NEC, is a secure and confidential voting platform. The NEC had commissioned PwC to establish a voter registration and authentication process. The process suggested by PwC and approved by the NEC just as the voting period was about to begin forced the union to quickly adopt rigorous validation and control measures.

As voting proceeded, it became apparent that the process fully meets the NEC’s requirements. However, challenges surrounding the authentication of voter IDs and certain technical difficulties experienced by a very small number of members made it necessary for our authorized agent and the service provider responsible for the database to carry out a final validation of the ballots. In addition, about one hundred members who had forgotten their passwords or encountered problems in connecting to the portal asked to use paper ballots.

In addition, as the count for the paper ballots for the election of two EC directors must be done in the presence of the candidates’ scrutineers, this result, as well as the result of the four other votes from the Annual General Meeting (approval of the financial statements and the auditors and the vote on two resolutions), will be announced only once this count has been completed.

Since the portal will be used in all future voting, CAPE compiled the comments it received from its members with a view to making the portal more user-friendly, while safeguarding the security of members’ personal information.

CAPE will be taking steps to correct and improve the French translation of some parts of the portal in order to ensure that the quality of its French-language content meets the exacting standards of our Francophone members.

4-     Why were some ballots rejected?

The conditions established by PwC at the request of the NEC to ensure the security and confidentiality of votes required the union to confirm that the individuals who registered to vote and who cast ballots were indeed members of CAPE, and that only those members could vote on their behalf. In order to sanction the results of the voting on whether or not to remove the president from office, PwC required that voting members confirm their identities by uploading to the portal a copy of a valid piece of identification, in accordance with its recommendations.

Members were informed repeatedly (in nine messages that were sent to all members between December 2016 and March 2017 and then posted on CAPE’s website) of what pieces of identification were considered acceptable for this purpose. If a member voted but did not upload a valid piece of ID, his or her ballot was rejected.

5-     I put my trust in CAPE and uploaded a piece of identification to the portal. CAPE promised me that this information would be destroyed. When will that be done?

InSite, the company we hired to do this work, will be destroying the files which members uploaded to their profile pages as soon as the ballot validation process is completed. Individual members will be able to confirm that their uploaded piece of ID has in fact been destroyed by visiting the portal and checking their profile page.

6-  Can I ask CAPE whether my vote was accepted?

In order to preserve the confidentiality of secret ballots, we cannot disclose individual voting results. However, you can rest assured that, if you voted during the prescribed voting period and you had uploaded a piece of photo ID to the Member Portal that was valid when validation was done, your vote was definitely counted. 

7-     Will it be necessary to upload a piece of ID to the Member Portal when it comes time to vote again?

Uploading a piece of ID is a one-time event and was requested by the National Executive Council (NEC). Once your identity has been authenticated in this way, it will remain valid for all future votes.

8-     Can the fact that some votes were rejected change any of the outcomes?

The reason we made sure to authenticate the members registration is precisely to make certain that only votes cast by members who have met all of the voting requirements are tabulated.

9-     Who decided to reject the votes that did not meet PwC’s requirements?

The National Executive Committee (NEC), which is CAPE’s elected board of directors, made the decision in a recorded vote on March 8, 2017, pursuant to the recommendations made by the Elections and Resolutions Committee and by our designated agent, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), during that same meeting.

10-  How many ballots were rejected?

Our designated agent rejected 519 members who did not submit a valid piece of ID. It should also be remembered that not all of the members who registered to vote actually cast ballots; moreover, registered voters were not necessarily eligible to vote on all of the issues. The EC members, for example, were eligible to vote on seven issues, the TR members on six and the Library of Parliament members on five.

11-  Why have the results of the voting for the two vacant director positions not been unveiled yet?

Because the President of the Elections and Résolutions Committee (ERC) resigned after the vote counting on the EC and TR collective agreements and on the removal of CAPE President, the vote counting on the other questions could not continue, as this process must be supervised by the ERC. For the vote counting to proceed on the other questions, the CRC must reorganize.

12-  Will the Member Portal continue to be used?

Yes, of course. The Member Portal will now be the point of entry for all members seeking to participate in CAPE voting processes, gain access to our ServicePlus discount program and receive other services. For example, we plan to post on the Portal documentation that concerns members only and thus cannot be published on the CAPE website.

To make sure you are ready for future votes, and to ensure that you have access to the ServicePlus discount program, we urge you to register on the Member Portal immediately. If you run into any problems or difficulties during the registration process, feel free to contact our membership clerk at: membership@acep-cape.ca.

13- Why didn’t the system work properly?

Some were critical of the system that was set up for the recent votes. However, since more than 3,600 members registered successfully and close to 3,000 voted to ratify the tentative EC and TR agreements, it is safe to say that the system accomplished the objective of making the electronic voting process secure, while protecting your personal information. The majority of the problems reported had to do with a bug in the system that prevented it from synchronizing some members’ passwords to the Portal with the passwords used to register and vote. We worked with affected members to rectify the problem. In the few cases where we were unable to arrive at a successful fix, the option of voting with paper ballots was offered.

14- Why were about a hundred members allowed to use paper ballots?

As noted in the previous answer, paper ballots were used because a bug in the system prevented some members from correctly synchronizing their passwords.

15- If that many members had so many technical problems, why wasn’t the voting period extended?

Since CAPE started using electronic voting, the largest number of members to have voted on an issue was 2,652 in the June 2016 vote on proposed changes to the dues structure. For the record, 1,232 members voted in the CAPE presidential election in 2014. This time around, 2,737 EC members and 234 TR members voted to ratify their respective tentative agreements – the highest voter participation rate (a total of 2,971 voters) ever recorded since the switch to electronic voting.

The changes in the method of voting were made necessary because the email distribution of ballots to members presented certain problems, as there was no guarantee that the ballots would not be intercepted by spam filters and fail to reach their intended recipients. The Member Portal fixed this issue by allowing members to connect from their computers, smartphones or tablets in order to vote.

16- Why is the President being allowed to stay in office if only 49% of the members voted not to remove her? How can anyone say she has the confidence of the membership?

The vote triggered by the petition/complaint filed in February 2016 was conducted in accordance with Article 20 (Removal from office) of CAPE’s Constitution, which sets out certain specific requirements:

20.1  Notwithstanding clause 32.1, a Special General Meeting called to discuss the removal from office of any member of the NEC may only be called by a two- thirds majority of the NEC, or by a petition signed by 100 Regular or Pending Members. The meeting shall be held in accordance with clauses 32.2 and 32.3.

20.2 A member of the NEC shall only be removed from office by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast by the membership.

We can only assume that the individuals behind the petition, were familiar with CAPE’s Constitution and By-Laws, since they knew that their petition required at least 100 signatures to be deemed valid and they proceeded to collect the required signatures.

The process then called for CAPE to investigate the allegations contained in the petition. Since the petitioners succeded to produce convincing documentation and evidence in support of only one allegation, the independent third party investigator rejected all the other allegations. Only one allegation was partially upheld: accessing ongoing voting results and sharing it with a member known to be campaigning for a candidate. For this, the National Executive Committee voted to suspend her for five weeks.

The vote by the full membership was the third step in the process. In order to have the President removed from office, the petitioners had to convince two thirds of the voting members that she had to go. This was not a popularity poll launched by the President to gage her approval rating, but rather a vote conducted in accordance with Article 20 of CAPE’s Constitution and mandatory because of the petition. Since 1,768 members voted on this issue, the petitioners would have had to convince 1,179 of them of the merits of their arguments. However, only 907 of the voting members supported their case, falling well short of the required two-thirds majority. 

This is why it can be said that the President still has the confidence of the membership. As per the requirements in Article 20 of the Constitution, the qualified majority of two-thirds required in a recall vote was not achieved.