FAQ: Tentative agreement for the SV group, common issues

Treasury Board’s SV group tentative agreement 

How do I know if I’m covered by the SV agreement?

The SV Group (Operational Services) is made up of any PSAC dues paying member whose job title is included in the following categories: 

  • Firefighters (FR)
  • General Labour and Trades (GL)
  • General Services (GS)
  • Heating, Power and Stationary Plant Operations (HP)
  • Hospital Services (HS)
  • Lightkeepers (LI)
  • Ships' Crews (SC)
  • Firefighters (Supervisory) (FR)
  • General Labour and Trades (Supervisory) (GL)
  • General Services (Supervisory) (GS)
  • Heating, Power and Stationary Plant Operations (Supervisory) (HP)
  • Hospital Services (Supervisory) (HS)
  • Lightkeepers (Supervisory) (LI)
  • Ships' Crews (Supervisory) (SC)
  • Printing Operations (Supervisory) (PR(S))
Where can I find out what we’ve negotiated in the new collective agreement?

The full text of the tentative settlement is available here. For the moment, you can learn about many of the improvements PSAC negotiated in our most recent webpost, and if you participate in a ratification webinar, you’ll also receive a ratification kit with all the proposed changes to the collective agreement. 

Why was a joint pay study not achieved?  

A joint pay study was proposed, and the team fought for it, but in the end, it was not secured. Although there are some benefits to a joint pay study, the previous two joint studies were fraught with disagreement between the parties, especially with respect to methodology and interpretation. Due to the need for mutual agreement on methodology and timelines, the employer could actually delay the SV team from tabling a fulsome wage and market adjustment proposal in the upcoming round. The absence of an agreement to a joint study in the tentative agreement does not preclude either party from undertaking a study of their own in preparation for the next round.  

Why were market adjustment not achieved or sent to arbitration?   

The market adjustments being sought far exceeded the available mandate outlined by the employer. Despite the relentless efforts of the team and pressure at senior levels of Treasury Board to revise the mandate to address the market adjustments, no new mandate could be secured. As an alternative, referral to arbitration was proposed to resolve the outstanding market adjustment question. But resolving an outstanding issue via arbitration requires mutual agreement of the parties and the employer would not agree to this mechanism. With such a restrictive mandate, the team was only able to achieve wage adjustments for the small lightkeeper group, whose wages were soon in peril of falling below the minimum wage in British Columbia. 

Were the results of previous joint pay studies considered in bargaining?

The previous joint pay study, completed in 2014, was reanalyzed and aged during this round to form the basis of our market adjustment wage proposal.  During bargaining, both at the table and before the Public Interest Commission (PIC), the Employer rejected our arguments that any specific classifications or sub-groups were paid below the market rate.

The joint SC pay study, completed in early 2019, was reviewed by the bargaining team and utilized throughout bargaining, including in our PIC brief and oral arguments before the panel earlier this year. The employer’s interpretation of the study was again markedly different from ours; i.e. any market difference of 10% or less was acceptable to them and they did not wish to be leaders on rates of pay.

Why was the 37.5-hour work week not achieved? 

This remained a priority for the SV team throughout this round of bargaining, but we were unable to secure a breakthrough on this during this round, in particular it was an item that far exceeded the available mandate. SV members will be able to recommend this proposal for the next round of bargaining that begins shortly. 

Why did we negotiate a three-year contract instead of a four-year deal like other unions? 

A three-year agreement will allow PSAC, as the largest bargaining agent, to set the pace of negotiations for the public service in the next round of bargaining.

How much of a delay can we expect before our new collective agreement is implemented?

Treasury Board has 180 days from the date of signing the new collective agreement to:

  • raise the pay according to the new rates
  • provide retro pay for the time elapsed since the expiry of the old contracts and
  • pay $500 as a penalty for extended implementation timelines

If the employer fails to provide retro pay within the 180 day deadline they will face additional financial penalties. Upon that failure, employees will be awarded $50 on day 181 and again every 90 days. This is in addition to the $500 listed above.

I am currently on maternity leave or about to go on leave. Will I be able to take advantage of the improvements to maternity and parental leave right away?

The changes to maternity and parental leaves will take effect on the date of the signing of the collective agreement.  

Once the agreement is signed, parents will be eligible for:  

  • An extension to maternity leave reassignment from 52 to 78 weeks, giving parents more flexibility to change positions in the federal public service when they return to work
  • An expanded supplementary allowance for every week an employee is on extended or shared parental leave 
  • Additional weeks for parents covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, when both parents work in the public service

But keep in mind that once you start receiving parental leave benefits, you cannot change the duration of your leave. 

Will retroactive pay be taxable?

Yes, retroactive pay is subject to taxes.

How will PSAC members vote on this tenative agreement?

PSAC members now have the opportunity to participate in online ratification votes. Details about the votes are available here. 

To ensure that you receive all updates and can participate in the ratification process, please ensure that you have either updated your contact information on PSAC’s member portal, or that you create an account if you have not done so already. 

Common issues

What are common issues and how are they negotiated?

Alongside negotiations for the PA group, PSAC bargaining teams for the TC, EB and SV groups also joined the PA group to reach a settlement for Treasury Board issues common to all groups.

What did PSAC negotiate at the common issues table?

You can see a full list of improvements in the SV ratification kit, and here is a summary of what we negotiated:

  • A one-time payment of $500 in recognition of the extended collective agreement implementation deadline and an additional $50 for every subsequent 90-day delay 
  • ​10 days of paid domestic violence leave 
  • Better language on return to work following a maternity or parental leave, giving more flexibility to parents who wish to change positions within the federal public service. 
  • Improvements to parental leave pay 
    • Updated language to match the new legislation including a new extended leave option and the sharing of parental leave 
    • Expanded supplementary allowance for every week an employee is on extended or shared parental leave 
    • Additional weeks for parents covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, when both parents work in the public service. 
  • New memorandum of understanding to explore the issues related to childcare in the public service 
  • Updated and improved language to match the new legislation on compassionate care and caregiving leave 
  • Better language to allow the use of employer facilities for union activities 
  • New memorandum of understanding to protect certain working conditions of civilian members of the RCMP 
  • New memorandum of understanding on mental health in the workplace to support the work of the Centre for Expertise on Mental Health 
  • In the event of workforce adjustment, the education allowance has increased to $17,000 
  • Deletion of Memorandum of Understanding on Supporting Employee Wellness. As a result, sick leave will remain untouched. 



August 28, 2020