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Applied Science and Patent Examination (SP) Group

Annual General Meeting

Saturday June 11, 2016

Lac-Leamy, Gatineau

9.0 AM – 4:30 PM

Minutes

Attendees: Kathees Anandavel, Enzo Barresi, Suzelle Brosseau, Ming Cao, Shamil Cathum, Steven Colwell, Simon Cowell, Morgan Cranny, Nicole Deschenes, Aruna Dixit, Sushil Dixit, Norma Domey, Alex Donaldson, Ovie Ekewenu, Michael Elliott, Mike Farbod, Michael Forbes, Stéphane Gariépy, Maegan  Harrison, Steve Hindle, Dan Ingram, Liaqat Ali Ismaily, David Johnston, Lisa Kelly, Waheed Khan, Thomas Landry, Frederic Langlois, Judith Leblanc, Daniel Leus, Robert MacDonald, Helen MacDonald-Piquard, Tahir Mahdi, Jean Marcheterre, Craig McCrimmon, Elizabeth McKay Andrews, Mervat Mikhail, Marc Ouellette, Joanne Papineau, Marcus Peck, Holly Poklitar, Patrick Potter, Elizabeth Ptasznik, Atiq Rehman, Nadia Roufaiel, Noel Sabbagh, Tarek Salem, Mathew Scuby, Amir Shabbar, Marlene Shehata, Marcie Smerchanski, Yves Thériault, Julie Tingley, Daniel Van Vliet, Dave Venayak, Daniel Vermeulen, Charlotte Young

Welcome – Thomas Landry, President

Thomas welcomed participants and thanked them for their support. He mentioned that the interaction with participant at social last night was very helpful and thanked the organizers (Enzo, Sushil, Tariq and Dan) for their coordination and hard work. Thanks also to Jean Marcheterre (PIPSC) for providing incredible service. He anticipated many questions on bargaining throughout the AGM and assured that they will have information to satisfy members.

Introduction

All participants and executive introduced themselves.

Approval of Agenda

Acceptance of agenda moved by Atiq Rehman; Seconded by Tarek Salem

President’s Report

The full report is under Tab 3. Thomas highlighted successes of the last year and showed his gratitude to stand in front as president and reminded delegates that they should be extremely proud of this group and PIPSC. He highlighted the better together campaign and pointed out challenges in this round of negotiations. The SP group has taken a high road and we are watching other groups and unions. It is important for us to work together on bargaining and other related issues.

Because of our Scientific Integrity theme, the PIPSC has been able to put this incredible proposal. The Treasury Board’s (TB) sick leave proposal was totally unacceptable and we were able to turn the table around and took control of negotiations. We have made sure that we will not get pushed in accepting their sick leave proposal. There has been a lot of support from other group within PIPSC. This is our AGM and we should give credit to ourselves. Science and not silence (t-shirt) campaign was very successful and Justin Trudeau wore our T-shirt in front of his campaign bus. He thanks Tarek for getting this done. The science has taken a big turn with this government and just recently announced 140 positions with DFO. Congratulations to all of us for this success.

SP group is the only group who has retained its negotiator and thanks to Suzelle for her dedication. Please do sign the evidence for democracy online survey. Thanks for coming forward and serving your subgroup and helping us in fulfilling our mandate. One of our priorities was to modernize our by-laws and Norma Domey is leading this activity. Sometimes we find difficulty in interpreting our bylaws. We want to ensure that this is going to be a tool to help us rather than hindering us.

Review of 2015 Minutes

Sushil Dixit presented the minutes. It was pointed out that the last year’s minutes were way too long (20 pages). Motion to accept corrected minutes moved by Tahir Mahdi, seconded by Joanne Papineau.

Invited Speaker Presentation - Robert MacDonald, Regional Director BC/Yukon

Bob thanked the executive for the invitation. He focussed on successes and results that Thomas eluded earlier. A year ago we were about to lose the sick leave and almost lost our rights of negotiations. PIPSC was part of our success and we were able to change that legislation, the media was covering us, the muzzling of science became an important issue in the election. We were able to work on evidence based theme and our team work was incredible. He clarified that as a group we were doing better together before better together became the theme. Big chill, vanishing science and the importance of communication were reminded. There is a need to talk to our members and ask them not slowdown. We are working with other unions on sick leave and will insure that we don’t get into situation where we were before the election. Be innovative, lead the leadership and continue to recognize incredible potential of our members.

Bargaining – Dave Johnston and Suzelle Brosseau

Dave and Suzelle acknowledged that not much has happened since the last AGM. We had developed our proposal and gave to TB and had few bargaining sessions. However, there is not much movement from the TB. The TB negotiator has said that they did not have the mandate since election. The new government has taken a long time to have the mandate. Last meetings were in early February and April and we will meet again next week. The sick leave will be negotiated at the central table. There is possibility of MOU on the scientific integrity. No pay proposal has been presented from our side.

Government has announced they will reverse the Harper government rule where we needed to select one the three options (conciliation, arbitration and binding conciliation). The legislation by the Harper government that imposed restrictions on collective bargaining has now been repealed. We have to figure out what it means for the current round of bargaining. The group plans to conduct a survey during the summer to get feedback from members.

Questions

Amir Shabbar - We are nearly 2 years in bargaining, can you provide details on the pay proposal? Suzelle – The pay proposal is not yet finalized. It is going to be same for all groups. Pay harmonization is our priority.

Mike Farbod – Can you tell us about the economic increase. Are you going to contact members for input? Would like to hear on strategic team and what are they doing?

Suzelle – PSAC and CAPE have put their pay proposals and we are going to be along those line. Nothing has been tabled yet.

Dan Ingram gave details on the bargaining survey and various timelines. He clarified that economic increase was not on the survey. Various details are on the website.

Shamil Cathum – The length of the contact period is not long enough. Should it be extended?  Thomas - When we negotiate we put strategy around and continue to assess. There are benefits for longer contract. Dave Johnston – It is not only government. The TB was not interested to move quickly. New round of negotiations can’t be held before the existing contract expires.

Sick Leave – Waheed Khan

Waheed is our representative on sick leave. From the earlier government we had received four different versions on sick leave. They wanted to introduce the short-term disability and get rid of bank days, manage it externally and keep it out of collective agreement. We have big hopes from this government, but the proposal is still same. We are getting good signals from the higher-ups, but not much from the negotiator. We are negotiating in good faith and PIPSC has established some ground rules. TB’s has its priority and we have our own priorities. PIPSC has established a number of principals. Our focus is to improve the sick leave and not to take away sick leave from the collective agreement. The plan should not be contracted out and should be managed within the government. The PIPSC has decided to take the sick leave out from individual bargaining teams and negotiate it through a central table which has a representative from each group. This is a very good strategy. Bank days can’t be just taken away. There is a lot of work that we need to do and the consultation with members will be an ongoing process. We would like you to arrange L&Ls and communicate details to members.

Questions

Amir Shabbar – One of the risks we could run into is that everything is held up at the central table till the sick leave issue is settled. Is this a fare assessment? Waheed – I would say when we have a deal we will have a deal on all issues.

Amir – Members need to know what is happening on the sick leave. Is the conservative proposed still being discussed? Waheed- Yes, the govt is still discussing the past proposal.

Kathees Anandavel – The 7 days wait time is calendar days or business days? Thomas – its 7 sick days or consecutive calendar days. Dave - The seven days waiting period before you apply to sick leave is now gone.  

Simon Cowell - What I am hearing is that there is a lot of confusion between 7 days or 8 days? Are we trying to get this number higher? Waheed – Yes, at present it is 8 days. There was a survey and it came out that on average public servants are taking 8 days of sick leave in a year. May be 8 is not enough and this is what we are going to discuss at the central table. Our bottom line is that we are looking for improvements. The transition between short- and long-term disabilities needs to be carefully evaluated.

Work Plan - Dan Ingram

The work plan (Tab 4) presented here is a collaborative effort. We have been discussing the work plan for several years and now we have made significant progress. Thanks to Elizabeth Ptasznik for taking the charge last year. The four main reasons for work plan are: transparency, accountability, good governance and succession planning. We want to be structured, but flexible. We will monitor the progress and present the work plan at each AGM for your feedback.

Financial Report – Dave Johnston

Please see the binder for details of our current and proposed budget. Expenses are listed against the allocation we get from PIPSC depending on the number of members we have. The less money you spend the less we get through allocation. What we spent on each item is shown against the allocated amount. We have spent more in comparison to last few years.

Questions

Kathees Anandavel – I am surprised that the cost of 2015 AGM was only $xxxx. Our subgroup AGM costs $ xxxx. Are you expecting something similar this year? Dave – the SP group does not pay for the cost of travel and hotel expenses. The cost is for hospitality and some promotional items. We are not paying the full cost.

Kathees – What is your cost for the PIPSC AGM?   Dave – Similar to this AGM.

Marcus Peck – Why the promotional item cost was high last year? Dave – we bought a large supply of Canadian made Science not silence T shirts.

Amir Shabbar – Spent $ xxxx on bargaining when we heard that not much was happening with the bargaining. We are now getting into more intense bargaining and we allocating only xxxx this year. Thomas – Lot has happened in bargaining. We didn’t move because of the TP. Dave – The SP group doesn’t pay the cost associated with bargaining.

Amir- We spent $ xxxx on promotional items last year and this year allocation is only $ xxxx. Again bargaining is going on we need to mobilize members and be more realistic on these item. Dave – If there is going to more need, we will make adjustments.

Shamil – You have done a good job with budget. How do you get your allocation? Is it based on the number of members? Dave – Allocation is based on the number of members.

Kathees Anandavel – Different groups and branches present budget in different format.  Could there be a consistent format? Thomas – We will put this action in our work plan.

Motion to accept the budget by Patrick Potter, seconded by Alex Donaldson

Subgroup Report – Enzo Barresi

The detail report is in binder. Briefings to subgroup presidents were given after each executive meeting and bargaining session. Invitation is also sent to VPs. Last year, regional representative meetings were done for presidents and they were great. This year the plan is to have a stand alone presidents meeting. Tentative date is December 10 in Vancouver. Thomas will bring the plan to board for approval.

Invited Speaker – Steve Hindle, Vice President PIPSC

The bargaining is an issue with our focus on “ready” slogan. Ready to increase salary and ready to protect the sick leave! Preserve scientific integrity, tax fairness and stop outsourcing. PIPSC has picked these three themes because they are the priority. There has to be a proper process that is fare to our members. The science is what science is. Insure that facts are considered in making decisions. The impact on social structure and society are important but don’t ignore facts. The institute is here to support you in facing challenges. You have a role to play in educating your members. If the contract you get is not good, you don’t have to accept it. Vote for your conscious. We should respect the process. If you don’t like the process, change it. Credit is for sharing and not for hoarding. Institute will be 100 year old in 2020 and we are updating our history and will share it with our members. We do have influence and we have seen that in the last election. At the next AGM we are going to have discussion on dues increase. We should carefully look into what we are doing.

Questions

Patrick Potter - Do you have some ideas of what PIPSC should stop doing? Steve – We need to figure out the governance. Who should be at the AGM? Who are the people connected to members? Do we need 450 people to make the decision? I have other suggestions but they are not going to be popular.

Helen MacDonald – You mentioned on bargaining that we should not think that this is a done deal. Is the strategic bargaining team going with that recommendation? There are multiple versions and I don’t know what to tell our members?

Steve – No, I can’t give you that assurance because I don’t participate in those discussions. However, there are people in this room who participate and they need to be strong and not accept an inferior sick leave deal. We should have a better proposal than what we currently have.

Daniel Van Vliet – SP does not have much representation at PIPSC decision making body. We are the 3rd biggest group. How can we get more people on decision making tables and on which table?  Steve – Agree, SP group should be involved in Science Advisory Committee (SAC). You need to be the source of information on scientific integrity. Definitely provide evidence on science. A seat on the board of director is an option, but they are geographically linked.

Dan Ingram – My question is about institute and redundancies with regions, branches, groups and subgroups. This needs to be addressed. Has the board discussed them?

Steve – the board has discussed without coming to conclusion. You have hit the part of the challenge that we are facing. People get into positions and getting discussion where their position is in danger is difficult. People are perfectly happy to have discussion, but when it is time to take decision, they say this is not good for me instead of asking that is good for the members.

Kathees Anandavel – I am following on the earlier question on how to take decisions? Members who would ultimately benefit are not coming to meeting. They are not delegates? Do you have any idea? Steve - You need to have people who are disinterested in outcomes. It’s self contradictory. Activists make decisions and they are the ones holding positions. There are people who really think for the good of the institute. However, there are individuals preferring status quo. It’s human nature!

As a token of appreciation Thomas presented SWAGs to Don McDonalds and Steve Hindle 

Chief Steward Report - Elizabeth Ptasznik

Elizabeth took over the chief steward position last June. Since May 2015, 26 new stewards have applied to become steward and she has personally talk to potential stewards. Their union activism, leadership and integrity are remarkable. Within the last week 3 additional applications were received. The steward plan for the next year was highlighted. Two SP steward teleconferences on bargaining were held to ask them what they would like to see from the PIPSC and SP group. What support do they need and what they see important in moving forward. The feedback received was fantastic and participants were asked to provide their input to points. The feedback received here and from other stewards will be incorporated and communicated at the next AGM. The SP steward data (demography, classification and geographical distribution) were summarized. We are the 3rd largest group, but 6th in terms of steward numbers. Member to steward ratio is 50:1.

Member Recognition Report – Tarek Salem

Tarek have been on the executive for a year and has been an active member. He has gone to House of Commons with Debi to push for your agenda, especially the on sick leave and bargaining. He assured that we will have better future. He is working on a plan for recognizing our hard working volunteers. His report is under Tab 12 along with numerous photos.

Parliamentarian Report – Norma Domey

Norma has been doing an excellent job in terms of looking into SP group structure and bylaws. A committee has been constructed to correct discrepancies. Other team members who are here are: Betty (Elizabeth) McKay Andrews, Steven Colwell and Michael Forbes.

SP bylaws were last revised in 2009. The guidance given by Sean O’Reilly (NCR Director, Chair of bylaws and Policy Committee) was much appreciated. The committee had first face to face meeting on May 27th. The diversity in committee and regional and classification representation is an asset. Discussions were held with other specific groups and the committee is looking into regional representation, classification (example, SH group) and find out what challenges they experience so that we can be as comprehensive as possible. The model constitution of PIPSC would be the foundation. There are some very contentious issues in our bylaws.

Membership Report – Nicole Deschenes

Nicole gave a very exciting and interactive presentation. Among the 47 groups in PIPSC SP is 3rd largest. Number of SP subgroups are 25, covering 85% members. Geographical distribution and related demography were discussed. For example, the most represented age category is females of age 30 to 39. Members belong to 9 different classifications and more than half of our members are either PCs or BIs. There are 330 RAND members. We all need to encourage RANDs to become regular members and not to shame them. Kill them with love! Other priority is to create new subgroups for members not belonging to any subgroup. The third priority is to get younger members involved in union activities.

Communication Report - Judith Leblanc

The report is given in Tab 9. Judith provided statistics on who is interacting online. She has been working closely with the bargaining team so that the communication flows timely. SP facebook is active, but may not be the preferred platform for young members. Twitter is also active. Suggestions have been received for Instagram. Please send any communication related comments for improvements to Judith.

Science Advisory Committee (SAC) – Norma Domey

Norma summarized SAC activities. In the past we only had one representative and now we have Norma and Michael. Debi, our president, has been very strategic to have this committee to give her and board sound advice on science and to keep us relevant. This is one of the ways we can make an impact and influence what PIPSC is doing on science. Last years activities were discussed. The scientific integrity agenda was very successful and Norma attended the lobbying workshop to lobby our MPs. This is going to be very strategic for us in dealing with the new government. Norma again reminded participants to sign the evidence for democracy petition and also remind your subgroup and members at work. Canadian Science Policy Conference (November 2016) is of particular interest to us.

  Questions

Joanne Papineau – Can you give more information on the science policy conference? Norma – Although I have not attended in the past, my understanding is that it mainly covers social science. It’s a way to increase our visibility and we would like to be on the table so that we can have influence on policy. Mike has attended this meeting in the past. Mike – In addition to social sciences, it also covers other science with focus on policy.

Steven Colwell – Does SAC directly interact with science departments? For example fisheries and environmental assessment acts and navigable water protection act. Certainly consultation teams have a role to play, but PIPSC can also get involved. Norma – The SAC has not been involved in legislation, but we have discussed on how the departments are affected lately and I will bring this back to SAC for discussion.

Motion to accept all reports by Yves Thériault, seconded by Nadia Roufaiel    

Thomas asked for any motions from the floor for the AGM

There were no motions. Participants were reminded that if they have any motions for the PIPSC AGM, please send them to Norma Domey.   

Round Table

Overall comments received on AGM were very positive. Members asked for details on the delegate selection, issues in purchasing promotional items from PIPSC preferred supplier, and asked to keep working on scientific integrity. They asked that the meeting minutes should be sent in advance to delegates.  

Motion to adjourn AGM by Mathew Scuby, seconded by Marcus Peck

Meeting adjourned 4:30 pm

Prepared by:

Sushil Dixit