February 21, 2023 - OTTAWA – For the first time since becoming a Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) affiliate in 2021, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) sent a delegation to the CLC Lobby Day. As part of this annual advocacy event held this year on Tuesday, February 7, CAPE delegates met with a Senator, various cabinet ministers and other members of Parliament to raise issues affecting its membership. This was the CLC’s first Lobby Day since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The CAPE delegation of six, including four members selected by the National Executive Committee out of 28 applicants, lobbied on issues such as return to the office, the Phoenix pay system, RCMP deeming and interpreters’ health and safety during a series of meetings held throughout the day on Parliament Hill. (See names of participants below.)
This year’s CLC Lobby Day was its largest since its first in 2016. The event brought together over 400 activists from 36 different unions including several from the federal public sector.
CAPE lobby priorities
Federal employees: CAPE called on parliamentarians to support remote and flexible work which has multiple benefits for all Canadians. CAPE believes federal public sector employees, whose type of work can allow it, should have the right to remote and flexible work, which will not only deliver multiple benefits for both the employer and its employees, but for all Canadians as well.
Phoenix HR & Pay system: CAPE called on parliamentarians to accelerate the replacement of the problematic Phoenix pay system – the costliest failed project in the history of the Canadian federal public sector. CAPE acknowledges that enduring and costly Phoenix-related issues continue to impact federal employees and asks that attention be maintained on accelerating its replacement as some employees continue to be overpaid, underpaid, or not paid at all.
RCMP civilians: CAPE believes RCMP civilian members should get more clarity regarding deeming and acknowledges that some divisions cultivate workplace cultures that are adversely affecting female employees. Deeming is the conversion of RCMP civilian members to federal public sector employees.
Federal interpreters: CAPE called on parliamentarians to stand up for their health and safety. CAPE has been fighting for interpreters’ health and safety, following a record number of incidents and injuries since March 2020. Everyone in government must step up to ensure a better AV system is installed and remote simultaneous guidelines are upheld to provide interpreters with a safe and healthy workplace. The government needs interpreters to meet its obligation to conduct meetings in both of Canada’s official languages. There is also the need for constant reminders even in areas where advancements have been made such as the wearing of House-approved headsets during parliamentary sessions and committee meetings.
Participants from CAPE
Camille Awada CAPE EC and LoP National Vice-President
Annie Yeo EC – Employment and Social Development Canada
Sandy Harquail TR – Translation Bureau
Andre Arnet-Zargarian EC – Public Safety Canada
Tristan Bohémier EC – Statistics Canada
Dina Epale CAPE Senior Advocacy and Public Affairs Advisor
List of Parliamentarians CAPE met with
Senator Diane Bellemare Progressive Senate Group - Québec (Alma)
Hon. Mona Fortier President of the Treasury Board Secretariat
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor Minister of Official Languages
Hon. Anthony Rota Speaker of the House of Commons
Hon. Greg Fergus Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the
President of the Treasury Board
Francis Drouin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Bloc Québécois caucus
* Chris Rogers *Director of Policy (Democratic Institutions) for Hon.
Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs,
Infrastructure and Communities)