The Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU), a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), held its 16th CEIU National Triennial Convention at the Westin Hotel, in Ottawa, from September 7th to 11th, 2023.
Elder John Henri Commanda, a retired CEIU member, provided the Convention’s Indigenous Opening.
With 220 delegates in attendance, 72 observers and 11 guests, for a total of 303 participants, this year’s convention was the biggest one so far for CEIU. Part of the delegates were the eight (8) members of the CEIU National Women’s Committee and the eight (8) members of the CEIU National Young Workers Committee, attending their first convention as representatives of these two (2) committees because of a resolution that had passed at the 2021 CEIU Convention. There were a number of delegates in attendance as first-time delegates.
Under the theme ‘In Solidarity, Everything is Possible’ the delegation started with a bang, singing the song ‘Solidarity Forever’. This was followed by the adoption of the hours of session, the agenda, and the rules of order.
A Moment of Silence was observed in memory of the members and staff that we have lost since our last Convention with their names being projected on screen.
This was followed by the ratification of the appointment of the Credentials Committee and the three Resolutions Committees. Delegate Tourkmani read the Statement on Harassment, and delegate Censoni read the Statement on Unjust Profiling. The National President named the three members of the Anti-Harassment Committee for the duration of convention.
The National Vice-President for Human Rights, delegate Rodrigues introduced the first guest speaker, Michelle Zakrison, a high-energy drag king, dancer, performer, choreographer, actor, and comedian who has performed in multiple cities.
Michelle engaged the delegation during the Diversity Awareness Session, which forms part of Convention agendas, as per a resolution that passed a few years back.
With her bubbly personality, and comedian side, Michelle’s presentation was appreciated by all. She ended her presentation with a short story book reading. The participants rose to their feet with cheers and applause for the great presentation.
The National President, delegate Bourque, presented a summary of his Report of the National President to Convention. He was followed by the National Executive Vice-President, delegate Warner, who presented her Report of the National Executive Vice-President to Convention. Each of their presentations was followed by questions from the delegates.
Day 2 of convention started off with Sharon DeSousa addressing the delegation, in her role as the PSAC National Executive Vice-President. Talking of how, after the trusteeship, CEIU has worked to build a much stronger component of the PSAC and of the lessons learned.
The Finance Resolutions Committee were invited to the front of the plenary room to present their Report.
The prepared budget for the years 2024, 2025 and 2026 was presented by delegate Chima, one of the two co-chairs of the Finance Resolutions Committee.
The National President opened the floor for questions and debate on the presented budget of 2024-2026. Delegates lined up to the mics to ask questions or clarification.
The following referrals were adopted and sent to the Finance Resolutions Committee for consideration:
- That the employee special consideration line be increased to $9,000 from $7,500.
- That the family care line item be increased to $45,000 from $30,000.
- That the dues be reduced to 0.625% from 0.732%.
A motion to increase the strike top-up to $75 per member, per day, from the present $50, was defeated.
A further motion, asking for a recorded vote when the time came to vote on the adoption of the budget was adopted.
The Finance Committee continued with their Report on the third day of convention.
The revised budget for the years 2024, 2025 and 2026 was debated. More referrals were sent to the Committee, who gathered during break to deal with the referrals.
These referrals were as follows:
- To increase the equity group line item to $50,000 for each year from $25,000
- To decrease the postage and express line item to $50,000 to $25,000 for each year
- To ensure that there was a balanced budget as per the resolution of record.
After break, the new revised version was presented, and the delegates were then ready to vote on the adoption of the budget.
As a motion had been put on the floor the previous day to have a recorded vote for the adoption of the budget, each delegate went to the mics to cast their vote.
After 40 minutes of voting, the National President announced the results of the vote: 201 in favour, 3 against,14 abstain and 2 were absent for a total of 220 votes.
The budget was adopted and so were the audited financial statements for the years 2021 and 2022.
The By-Laws Resolutions Committee were next to come to the front of the plenary room to present their report. Delegate Matheson and delegate Morris, the two co-chairs of the By-Laws Resolutions Committee read the report.
The following resolutions were presented:
- Resolution A-27: CEIU By-Law-14, Sub-section 14.6 c) & k) – ADOPTED.
- Resolution A-75: Name change for the First Nations/Metis/Inuit Equity Group – ADOPTED.
The delegates returned to the mics on the morning of the 4th day of Convention to continue with the debate on Resolution A-63 – Paid leave for NVPs which was then DEFEATED.
However, the delegates did ADOPT Resolution A-64 – Paid leave for NVPs, which was similar to the previous except that this resolution called on CEIU to provide the financial means to finance this resolution, which has a cost of $1.5 million per year.
Other resolutions that were debated on the 4th day of Convention consisted of the following:
- Resolution A-1: Addition of a Black member to the National Human Rights/Race Relations Committee – ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY.
- Resolution A-34A: Election of NVPs at Presidents’ Conferences – DEFEATED.
- Resolution A-22A: By-Law 15 – Name change for the Racially Visible equity group – ADOPTED.
- Resolution A-15A: By-Law 14, sub-section 14.2 – Three yearly meetings of the National Executive – ADOPTED.
- Resolution A-67A: Regional Budget review – DEFEATED.
- Resolution A-29: National Conference for the Development of Young Workers – ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY.
The last Resolutions Committee to come and present their report was the General/PSAC Resolutions Committee. The two co-chairs, delegates Côté and Gardiner presented the committee’s report.
The delegates voted on the following resolutions from the General/PSAC Resolutions Committee:
- Resolution C-28: PSAC Racially Visible Action Committee name change – ADOPTED.
- Resolution C-18: PSAC Membership in Good Standing During Maternal/Parental Leave – ADOPTED .
- Composite Resolution C-20A: PSAC Delegate Formula National Conferences – ADOPTED.
- Composite Resolution C-26A: Structural Review of the PSAC structure – ADOPTED.
- Resolution C-15: PSAC Constitution – Member in Good Standing during Maternal and/or Parental Leave – ADOPTED.
- Composite Resolution C-13A: PSAC Chemical and Environment Sensitivities mandate – ADOPTED.
- Composite Resolution C-16A: PSAC Member in Good Standing status on Maternity Leave – ADOPTED.
- Resolution C-6: Anti-Racism Plan – ADOPTED.
- Resolution C-3: Allies training provided by CEIU – ADOPTED.
- Resolution C-31: CEIU Ban on the use of Nestlé products at CEIU events – ADOPTED.
Both the By-Laws Resolutions Committee and the General/PSAC Resolutions Committee were able to present the resolutions that they had listed as their top ten (10) priorities.
As per the CEIU By-Laws, elections for three (3) positions must be held in the afternoon of the 4th day of Convention.
The Nominations and Elections Chairperson, Sharon DeSousa announced the nominations that were received as well as called three (3) times for any nominations from the floor for each of the positions.
For the position of CEIU National President, the following nominations were received:
- Eddy Bourque
- Adam Murphy – who then withdrew his nomination.
- Crystal Warner
Delegates voted on the two nominations. Eddy Bourque was elected as the National President. Prior to continuing with the election of NEVP, delegate Bourque thanked the delegates for their vote.
The Nominations and Elections Chairperson continued with the 2nd position, that of National Executive Vice-President (NEVP).
- Sargy Chima
- Judith Côté
- Lyle Gall
- Phil Matheson
- Adam Murphy
- Lisa Prescott
After a few rounds of voting, Sargy Chima was elected as the CEIU National Executive Vice-President.
For the 3rd and last position to vote on, that of Alternate/NEVP, the Chair of the Nominations and Elections Chairperson read the nominations received:
- Judith Côté
- Lyle Gall
- Phil Matheson
- Adam Murphy
Phil Matheson was elected as the Alternate NEVP.
All three newly elected officers, Bourque, Chima and Matheson were sworn in by the Chair of the Nominations and Elections Chairperson.
The National President did the swearing in of the newly elected National Vice-Presidents (NVPs) as well as the newly elected Alternate NVPs in attendance on the last day of Convention. They all lined up at the front of the delegation and signed their Oath of Office after their swearing in.
In his closing remarks, the National President thanked the delegates for making this Convention a very productive and successful one. He continued by thanking the members of the three (3) resolutions committees, the staff, the technicians and the interpreters. A big thank you was also given to the observers for taking the time to come out and observe the CEIU Convention.
Even with a change in venue only two (2) months prior to the start of Convention due to a strike at the Hilton Lac Leamy Hotel where CEIU was scheduled to hold its Convention, the staff were able to pull it off and make this Convention happen.
President Bourque thanked the outgoing NVPs and welcome the new National Executive for the 2023-2026 cycle, but ended by thanking all the members, stating that CEIU is only as strong as its members, and the core of this Union.
Elder Commanda provided the Indigenous closing.
With the National President asking for a motion to adjourn, the 16th CEIU National Triennial Convention adjourned at noon, on September 11th, 2023.