Parks Canada: Members elect bargaining team and set priorities

Passion and commitment were on the agenda at the Parks Canada Agency's National Virtual Bargaining Conference, held from May 31 to June 2. Delegates from the Union of National Employees (UNE) and the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) came out of the conference more united than ever after electing their bargaining team and setting priorities for the new round of talks starting this summer.

Meet the Parks Canada Agency bargaining team:

  • Nicolas Angers
  • Alisha Campbell
  • Angela Decker
  • Birch Howard
  • Kassandra McKinnon
  • Omar Murray
  • Daniel Toutant
  • Jaison Van Tine

Alternates

  • Réginald Bernatchez
  • André Miller
  • Denis St-Onge

The bargaining team will be supported by the following PSAC staff:

  • John Eustace, negotiator
  • Djimy Theodore, researcher

Parks Canada Agency members proudly work to offer Canadians the best outdoor experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected their work, but they stepped up to guarantee safe access to green spaces across the country. Their essential work in these uncertain times ensured that everyone could keep connecting with Canada’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

At the bargaining conference, members outlined the impact of the pandemic on their work and proposed solutions to improve their working conditions, all of which must be addressed with the agency.

Here is an overview of the key issues discussed at the conference:

Job security

In an agency where seasonal and student jobs are common, achieving job security is a top priority. Under the current system, precarious employment creates a lot of stress and is detrimental to mental health.

PSAC is committed to opposing all forms of precarious employment and ensure that all members have access to indeterminate employment.

Fair wages

 We must secure wage increases that reflect the rising cost of living as well as our members’ skills, professionalism and dedication. 

Many members have also experienced a widening wage gap compared to their private-sector counterparts. We need wage adjustments that keep up with the wages of those doing similar work both within and outside the federal public service.

Remote work

We believe that provisions governing remote work will be most effective if negotiated into collective agreements.

We must also ensure that remote work is free from remote surveillance and unreasonable performance expectations, that employers cover associated expenses and that concerns relating to accommodations, ergonomics and health and safety are addressed.

Contracting out and privatization

Contracting out and privatization of public services increase costs and risk to taxpayers, reduce the quality of services, erode the internal capacity of the public service, create precarious work, and undermine initiatives that address pay equity and systemic racism. 

We must tackle the alarming increase in contracting out of government work, including through temporary staffing agencies. 

Work-life balance

We must also expand leave provisions (e.g. 699 leave, family-responsibilities leave and sick leave) to improve work-life balance, which is especially critical for women, caregivers and those with disabilities. 

We also need to negotiate flexible work options that allow members to shape their workday to match their personal and family responsibilities. 

Violence and harassment

Workplace violence and harassment are a health and safety issue that can have severe physical and psychological consequences for members.

We need to build robust mechanisms to tackle these issues, such as mandatory training and support for members.

Languages rights

Our membership at Parks Canada includes many Indigenous members and several parks are located on traditional Indigenous territories.

In recognition of this, it’s necessary to decolonize our collective agreement. We want the agency to formally recognize Indigenous languages and provide an allowance to members who work in their Indigenous language.

Next steps

Over the next few months, the Parks Canada Agency bargaining team will meet to discuss the bargaining issues prioritized at the National Bargaining Conference and work on a final package of bargaining demands that will be exchanged with the employer. 

Make sure to keep your contact information up to date via the member portal to receive all the latest updates as we prepare to negotiate your next contract.

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June 25, 2021