Progress was made at the Parks Canada bargaining table last week. PSAC’s Parks negotiating team met with the employer from May 28 to 30 in Ottawa.
The team continued to push for demands that would establish parity with the core public administration and discussed important issues such as mental health in the workplace and improvements to maternity / parental leave. Additional topics discussed this week included improvements to Park Wardens’ terms and conditions of employment, child care and joining the National Joint Council.
Parity for Park Wardens
The team also tabled a new article that would align Park Wardens’ terms and conditions of employment in line with the law enforcement community. Those improvements include:
- a conversion of seasonal Park Warden positions to year-round positions
- a ‘25 and out’ retirement option that is in line with other law-enforcement retirement plans
- establishing an appropriate mental health support program
- improving legal indemnification and protections for liability issues
- ensuring Park Wardens are held to a fair standard that is not higher than regular RCMP Officers
- firearm practice time for Park Wardens who are required to carry a firearm
Creating a Joint Committee on Child Care
PSAC’s bargaining team made a presentation to the employer on the child care crisis and proposed the creation of a Joint Committee on Child Care. The presentation highlighted major concerns surrounding child care such as: child care scarcity, the lack of affordable child care, and the increased vulnerability of employees with non-standard work hours to child care challenges.
Research shows when employees have access to child care the employer experiences better recruitment success, lower rates of absenteeism, healthier workplaces and higher retention rates.
The proposed Joint Committee on Child Care would allow representatives from both the employer and the union to work together to research the needs of Parks employees, determine their current child care challenges, and recommend the best solutions to alleviate some of those issues.
Joining the National Joint Council
A presentation was made to the employer on the benefits of joining the National Joint Council (NJC). Joining the NJC would help Parks Canada members ensure parity and consistency between Parks Canada members and with the core public administration.
The NJC facilitates co-development, consultation and information sharing between government employers and public service bargaining agents. It is a forum where each party works together to resolve problems, to ensure consistent application of terms throughout the entire public service, and to discuss important issues such as isolated posts, government housing, travel, relocation, commuting assistance etc.
Several other PSAC bargaining units are already members of the NJC, such as Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Communications Security Establishment, and Treasury Board workers.
Next bargaining meeting
The Parks bargaining team will be meeting with the employer again at the end of July.