FAQ: CFIA tentative agreement and ratification vote

Ratification votes for Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) members will begin on Wednesday, August 23rd and end on Friday, September 8th at noon ET. 

How do I register and vote on the tentative agreement?

PSAC will be holding mandatory virtual information sessions and you can vote at any time after attending a session up until the voting deadline September 8 at 12 p.m. ET.    

All PSAC members working for CFIA will have received an email from communications@psac-afpc.vote on August 22nd with the link to PSAC’s voting platform and your unique credentials needed to log in and register for a session. 

If you do not receive an email by August 24, check your junk mail or promotions folders in your personal email account. If you’ve checked those folders and still don’t have the email, we may not have your personal email on file, and you can fill out a PSAC membership form to update your contact information, or get in touch with your PSAC Regional Office
  
Once you submit the online membership form, PSAC will issue your voting credentials to you as soon as possible. 

Use your ballot number and PIN in your credential letter to register for an online vote session. 

Once registered, you will be sent a reminder to log into the voting platform using your credentials (no separate link) ahead of your mandatory ratification vote information session. After you have attended, you will be able to vote in the online portal.  

Following each information session, you can either vote immediately or stay on to participate in a live Q&A session on Zoom with members of the CFIA bargaining team to answer any questions you still have after the mandatory session. 

Who is eligible to vote? 

Only PSAC members in good standing are eligible to vote in the ratification process. Members who are not yet in good standing will be notified in their credential letter and given an opportunity to sign a membership card. Please check the credential email containing your ballot number and PIN for more information. 

What if I did not receive a credentials email with my ballot number and PIN? 

If we only have your home address on file, your voting credentials will have been mailed to you. 

If you did not receive an email on August 22, check your junk mail, and/or promotions folders in your personal email. If you’ve checked those folders and still don’t have the email, or if we don’t have your personal email on file, you can fill out a PSAC membership form to update your contact information or contact your PSAC regional office.  

Once you submit the online membership form including your personal non-work email, PSAC will issue your voting credentials to you as soon as possible. 

I require an accommodation and/or technical support.

Please log in to the platform and join the information session a few minutes early to make sure you can address any technical problems in advance. 

If you require an accommodation to participate fully in the information sessions (such as ASL interpretation), please contact your PSAC regional office as soon as possible. 

Can I use the employer’s equipment or network for the ratification vote?

It is preferable to use your own computer, tablet, or smartphone, using your home network or mobile data. The vote platform works in all modern browsers and is optimized for mobile devices and tablets. 

Will there be an opportunity to ask questions after the mandatory information session? 

Yes, bargaining team members will be available after the information session to answer members’ questions. This optional Q&A session will be held immediately after the mandatory information session over Zoom. A link will be provided during the information session. 

What is the wage increase that was negotiated?

The CFIA bargaining team negotiated wage increases totaling 12.6% compounded over the life of the agreement from 2022–2025. PSAC secured an additional fourth year in the agreement that protects workers against inflation, as well as a pensionable $2,500 one-time lump sum payment that represents an additional 3.5 % of salary for the average CFIA member.   

When will the new collective agreement be implemented?

Non-monetary items become effective upon signing the agreement. Compensation increases, including premiums, will be implemented within 180 days after signature. If the employer is unable to meet this deadline, PSAC members will receive a lump sum of $200 if the outstanding amount owed is more than $500. 

When will the new contract come into effect?

A majority of voting members participating in the ratification must vote in favour of the agreement for it to be ratified. If a majority of members who have voted “yes” in the ratification vote, PSAC will meet with the employer to sign the new collective agreement. The new negotiated provisions come into effect on the date of signing, unless otherwise specified. 

Who will get retroactive pay for the negotiated economic increases?

The annual economic increases included in the new collective agreement are retroactive to the date the former collective agreement expired. This means that you are entitled to retroactive pay for the period you were employed and a member of your bargaining unit, regardless of current employment status (e.g. retired or no longer member of the bargaining unit). 

Will retroactive pay be taxable?

Yes, retroactive pay is subject to taxes.  

Who will get the lump sum payment?

As part of your economic package for this tentative agreement, a one-time, pensionable, lump sum payment of $2,500 will be paid to each employee who is a member of the bargaining unit on the date of signing of the new agreement. Additionally, the one-time lump sum is to be paid to employees on Leave Without Pay (LWOP). Part-time employees working more than 1/3 of full-time hours will receive the full lump sum. The employer has 180 days after the date of signing to issue the lump sum payment. 

The payment will be based on the substantive position occupied by the employee on the date that the collective agreement is signed. 

As such, an employee who is on an acting assignment outside the bargaining unit but whose substantive position is in the bargaining unit will receive the lump sum.

The lump sump does not apply to: 

  • An employee who is on an acting assignment in the bargaining unit but whose substantive position is outside the bargaining unit;
  • Excluded employees who are eligible to receive performance pay; 
  • Non-unionized employees who are eligible to receive performance pay; 
  • Casual employees, students, term employees (less than 3 months), and part-time employees (working less than 1/3 of full-time hours) 
If I retired recently or left the bargaining unit, will I get the lump sum payment?

Unfortunately, no. The lump sum payment is only given to members of the unit who are employed in the bargaining unit on the date of signing.  

Can I participate in the ratification vote if I’m on an acting assignment in a different bargaining unit?

If you are on an acting assignment that falls outside the CFIA bargaining unit, you are not eligible to participate in the ratification vote.  

I still have more questions about voting. Who can I contact? 

Contact a PSAC representative at your nearest PSAC regional office

Where are the ratification vote meetings and locations? 

The ratification process is being held virtually on PSAC’s online voting platform. You must register for a session using the info in your credential letter to log into the voting platform. For the full list of sessions.

Are the proposed CFIA economic increases the same as the ones in the ratified collective agreements for the Treasury Board core units (PA, TC, SV, EB), Parks Canada, and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? 

Yes, the economic increases for these units are identical: Year 1: 1.5%, Year 2: 4.75%, Year 3: 3.5% (minimum) and Year 4: 2.25%.  

Note that the starting dates and expiry dates of the various bargaining units are staggered:  

TB core units and Parks Canada’s Year 1 starts in mid-2021 and CRA’s Year 1 starts  

December 1, 2021. Unlike the other units, the CFIA collective agreement matches the calendar year. The old CFIA collective agreement expired on December 31, 2021, and the new CFIA collective agreement would come into force on January 1, 2022 (Year 1). Regardless of the starting dates, the economic increases are the same for these units.

 

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August 16, 2023