"I hope our members know that we are working to ensure their health and safety, protecting their rights and that we’re here to listen if they do have concerns.”
Simone Zobatar has devoted years of her volunteer time to our union. Like many of us, she began contributing as a union steward after being encouraged by a member of her group’s executive.
She was then quickly appointed to the group executive as a member at large. Over the years, her confidence, skill and experience grew as she took on roles as Treasurer, Vice-President and in April 2018 was elected AFS Penticton sub group President.
A path that many PIPSC members follow, there is a place for everyone in our union’s leadership.
“Since becoming a steward, I have had the opportunity to learn from some of our great leaders, in our regional office, our AFS group President, our national President. Collectively, I know they work countless hours for our members across the country and it’s rewarding to be a part of that. It’s rewarding to help our members find solutions for issues that may come up for them.”
Simone knows that this hard work pays off, pointing to the work and life balance that our union work has ensured. She values being able to take leave if her children are sick or have an appointment or to care for an elderly parent.
Beyond this, in the last round of bargaining PIPSC won a new leave for a “person who stands in place.” This means that members can now access leave to care for a close friend or family member who wouldn’t have previously met the definition of family. Simone knows so many people who don’t have access to these kinds of paid leave and can’t care for the ones who mean so much to them.
As a union leader, Simone has worked hard to build strong relationships with management. These relationships allow for productive collaboration that prevent many of the issues that could arise in her workplace. Even while working from home, she will continue to prioritize this strategic approach to labour relations.
Simone is so proud to help local members find resolution to workplace issues. The most important thing for her is to make sure that members know that we are here for them.
A Chartered Professional Accountant, Simone, works for CRA as an auditor. Her workdays are spent auditing high net worth individuals and their related entities to make sure they pay their fair share of taxes.
She says, “an incredible amount of money leaves this country because people are avoiding paying taxes.”
Simone follows the money to figure out tax avoidance schemes. The hundreds of millions of dollars that Simone and her colleagues retrieve are used to provide the infrastructure, health care and public services Canadians deserve.
“When you see people working hard, making a decent salary, paying more taxes than these companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars, that’s the frustrating part. We bring in hundreds of millions of tax dollars when we uncover these tax schemes. And this has a substantial impact on all Canadians,” Simone explains.
Canadians benefit from the work of public servants, Simone reminds us.
“For example, the systems that our CS Group was able to implement in order to administer pandemic benefits on such a timely basis, is second to none. They were able to get money out to people that really needed it,” she shared proudly.
Public servants have a great impact on our economy, our social programs, our health and well-being. And that impacts the lives of everyone in our country.