June 15, 2022 - OTTAWA – The current challenges to the federal workforce, the vaccine mandate and interpreters’ health and safety concerns were the focus of a recent meeting between the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) and the Conservative Party of Canada’s Shadow minister for Labour.
The meeting was held Tuesday, June 7, between Chris Lewis (MP Essex-On), Shadow minister for Labour and CAPE President Greg Phillips, upon Mr. Lewis’ invitation.
The meeting came on the heels of CAPE’s announcing it had filed two policy grievances against the federal government contesting its current vaccine mandate policy.
Mr Lewis sought clarity over CAPE’s position on the vaccination mandate and was informed that CAPE felt the policy was no longer appropriate in its current form, and that unions had been expecting a review, six-month into its implementation, which never came.
Mr Phillips also made clear that CAPE’s original position still held, and that members who do not wish to be vaccinated should be accommodated rather than suspended without pay, and that allowing federal employees to work from home would be a win-win for all the parties involved.
In speaking about the interpreters’ struggles, Mr. Phillips mentioned the slow response and inadequate or incomplete corrective measures applied since its first appeal in 2020. He highlighted the fact that with more interpreters’ injured or burnt out, there were less of them available, which had caused parliamentarians having to cancel meetings after meetings, making the point that the situation was affecting the proper functioning of Canada’s democratic institution, as CAPE had predicted.
From the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC)
Chris Lewis Member of Parliament (Essex, Ontario)
Steven Hanratty Director of Parliamentary Affairs (MP’s Office)
Participants from CAPE
Greg Phillips President
Jennifer George Senior Advisor to the President
Dina Epale Senior Advocacy and Public Affairs Advisor