CFIA Bargaining: Management attacks work-life balance; union tables improvements

PSAC’s bargaining team representing members at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) held a fourth bargaining session for a new collective agreement between June 11 and 13. 

Having proposed concessionary changes to the Employment Transition Policy during the May talks, CFIA management returned to the table this month seeking a slew of unacceptable concessions. The most egregious amongst these include: 

  • Changing hours of work to 6 AM-10 PM so that management can schedule shifts into the evening without additional compensation (i.e., shift premium). Currently, hours of work are 6 AM-6 PM. 

  • Redefining the work week to include the weekend, allowing management to schedule shifts on Saturdays and Sundays without additional compensation. 

  • Drastically reducing the required notice for shift changes from seven days to just 48 hours. 

  • Creating a new staffing definition called the ‘inspectorate’ and giving management the right to schedule these workers at any time without additional compensation, such as overtime pay or premiums. 

Management is pushing for these changes under the guise of creating an agile, mobile and flexible organization and workforce. While PSAC fully supports fulfilling CFIA’s mandate to safeguard Canada’s food supply, this cannot be achieved by introducing regressive changes to the collective agreement. In fact, proactively ensuring the safety of Canada’s food supply demands adequate investments in staffing rather than short-sighted attempts to squeeze more out of current employees.

Moreover, the above proposals, which will make it harder for CFIA workers to plan their lives, run directly against the Trudeau government’s stated support for better work-life balance.  

Union tables reasonable wage increases, pushes for progress on child care and other initiatives 

In contrast, the union bargaining team tabled a range of proposals to improve the lives of members at CFIA: 

  • Wage increases of 3.75% per year for 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

  • A child care agreement committing both parties to undertake joint research and analysis and develop recommendations to assist CFIA workers in accessing quality child care services. 

  • An agreement committing both parties to continue work on promoting and monitoring mental health in the workplace. 

  • A Joint Learning Program between PSAC and CFIA to improve union-management relations and foster a healthy work environment. 

PSAC is committed to helping build CFIA into an organization that can adapt to future trends and continue ensuring food safety in Canada. However, the union will not accept concessions and will remain focused on strengthening the collective agreement.  

The bargaining team looks forward to the next bargaining session, which will be held from July 16 to 18. 

Send us your pictures of solidarity! 

We want to collect pictures of PSAC members at CFIA taking action in support of bargaining. Whether it’s holding signs in support of a fair contract in the workplace or a lunch hour rally, please send your pictures and messages of solidarity to the bargaining team member for your region listed below.  

PSAC at CFIA : Bargaining for our future!  

Atlantic: Jan Pennington
Québec: Audrey St-Germain
National Capital Region: Marlene O’Neil
Ontario: Robert MacDonald
Manitoba: Andrew Neufeld
Saskatchewan: Karen Zoller
Alberta: Dorothy McRae
British Columbia: Terri Lee

Negotiator: Hassan Husseini 
Research Officer: Silja Freitag 

Download employer proposals:

Download PSAC proposals:



June 26, 2019