Our history

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees, also known as CAPE, was created in 2003 when the Social Science Employees Association and the Canadian Union of Professional and Technical Employees merged to form a new union.

The Social Science Employees Association (SSEA) was formerly the Economists’, Sociologists’ and Statisticians’ Association (ESSA). It represented all the members belonging to the ES group. In 1990, the association welcomed research officers and research assistants at the Library of Parliament. Four years later, its membership would double after the SI group (Social Science Support) joined its ranks. This led the Association to change its name, in 1994, to better reflect its membership base.

In 1999, the Treasury Board combined the ES and SI groups to form the EC group.

For its part, the Canadian Union of Professional and Technical Employees (CUPTE) was created when 1,600 federal public servants broke away from the Professional Institute of the Public Service in 1978 to form their own union. At the time, CUPTE had approximately 1,200 translators and 400 aircraft operators.  

Before their merger, both unions already had a close relationship. In 1997, they filed a joint federal court challenge against the government for amortizing part of its members’ pension surplus. Since then, the unions often coordinated their efforts in matters of common interest.

The merger was finally put to a vote in early 2003; 79% of members voted in favour. Finally, on October 15, 2003, The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) was officially recognized as the official bargaining agent for the EC and TR groups as well as the research employees at the Library of Parliament.

Our union continues to evolve to this day. If you are a CAPE member and would like to contribute to our success, consider volunteering with us!

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