Minority government brings new opportunities for PSAC members

The October election brought Canadians a minority Liberal government. That means PSAC and other unions will be able to more effectively lobby and fight for the things that matter to you and your families.

Phoenix

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has said the Phoenix situation could continue until 2023, yet government funding commitments so far have fallen significantly short of what is needed to end the Phoenix nightmare. 

PSAC will continue pressing for enough funding and urgent action:

  • eliminate the over 200,000 cases in the pay issues backlog
  • compensate workers for their many hardships
  • stabilize Phoenix
  • properly develop, test and launch a new pay system

Privatization and precarious work

Precarious or “non-standard” work continues to increase in the federal public service. As of March 31, 2019, 16.4% of employees were categorized as term, casual or student, up from 15.3% a year earlier. Public sector jobs also continue to be privatized through contracting out and using public private partnerships (P3s). When private partners fail, the public ends up having to pick up – and pay for – the pieces. In jurisdictions around the world, governments are bringing contracted out work and P3s back in house.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • stop any efforts to contract out existing public service work and bring work that is currently contracted out back into the public service, including stopping the use of temporary help service agencies. 
  • reduce, with the goal of eliminating, all precarious working conditions in the federal public service, including agencies, crown corporations and Statistical Survey Operations

Child Care

The federal government must play a leadership role in building a stable system of affordable, high-quality, inclusive child care for all, across Canada. Relying on private initiatives and parent fees to cover the costs won’t meet this goal.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • increase the federal early learning and child care (ELCC) budget by $1 billion annually for 10 years to meet the internationally recommended spending benchmark
  • implement the proposals in Child Care Now’s “Affordable Child Care for All Plan”

Pharmacare

Canadians spent $34 billion on prescription medicines in 2018, making drugs the second biggest expenditure in health care, after hospitals. Canada is the only country in the world with universal health care without universal prescription drug coverage. Right now, the system is fragmented, uneven, unequal and unfair. And it costs the health system billions in extra visits due to lack of drug coverage.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • provide sufficient long-term adequate and predictable funding to provinces and territories to cover the incremental costs of a national pharmacare program that is universal, comprehensive, accessible, portable and public
  • require the provinces and territories accept the principles and national standards for pharmacare in order to be eligible for federal funding

Indigenous peoples

The needs of Indigenous peoples have been clearly identified through years of study and reports. Action can no longer be delayed.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • make the necessary investment now to ensure access to clean water in all First Nations communities and to treat the illnesses resulting from years of unsafe water
  • implement the recommendations of the report on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls

Pay equity

A law was enacted in 2018 to make employers responsible for providing equal pay for work of equal value without unions or individuals having to file complaints which take decades to resolve. However, the law does not take effect until the regulations are finalized.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • finish consulting on the regulations and put them in place as soon as possible to make the law a reality.

Employment equity and accessibility

The current 20-year-old Employment Equity Act (EEA) covers four designated groups, and addresses barriers in employment for the federal sector. The EEA calls for regular reviews but there hasn’t been one in nearly two decades. The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) was adopted earlier this year, but no regulations or standards have been developed.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • conduct a review of the EEA with all stakeholders, including bargaining agents, to update and improve the Act
  • create regulations and standards for the ACA, in consultations with unions and other stakeholders, and implement them as soon as possible
  • implement the recommendations in the final report of the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion

Federal research grants

Corporate and industry influence in Canadian research is primarily driven by the profit motive. This can severely limit the types of research being funded. In addition, cuts to federal research granting agencies mean that part-time and sessional instructors in post-secondary institutions do not qualify for grants.

PSAC will push for this government to:

  • fully fund federal government research granting agencies

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December 4, 2019