Update on SMSM-1102 (PSDC CR-04) Grievances at Service Canada (ESDC) – May 2020

Since the latest update was posted on our site in January 2020, CEIU held two meetings with the ESDC Labour Relations team on March 25th and April 29th, 2020 in order to assess the impacts of the public health situation on the processing of the file. Highlights of those meetings are as follows:    


- When the pandemic broke out, the Department was forced to put the file “on hold” in order to concentrate on the current situation with COVID-19. Since then, they have started working on the file again, although progress is slow because of the Department’s other priorities and of the fact that many employees are teleworking. The Department plans to work on the file at full speed once employees are back in their offices in Gatineau, Québec. The return date remains undetermined for the moment, but we hope that employees will be back for the month of May.


- For members who were incumbents at some time since September 13th, 2018 of a PSDC position within Pension and Integrity related operations to which the new Program Services Officer (PM-01) job description applies and whose salaries have not yet been adjusted from CR-04 to PM-01, Compensation has been forced by the present situation to put on hold the files that were ready for processing. We will soon be informed of when they plan to be able to move forward with these files.


- For those who have been incumbents since September 13th, 2018 to whom the new Program Services Officer (PM-01) job description within Pensions or Integrity related operations applies and who have filed grievances, several files have moved forward and the return of employees to their offices will allow for the next steps of their processing.


- For members who have filed grievances on the job content of the PSDC position within Pension and Integrity related operations between 2008 and September 13th, 2018 but left their position before September 13th, 2018, ESDC expected to complete the documentation and send it to the persons involved by March 31st, 2020. Although many letters were sent to members in the Ontario and Western Regions before the present situation, none were sent in the Maritime and Québec Regions. ESDC will carry out mailings upon the return of employees to their offices in Gatineau, Québec. For the moment, ESDC maintains its goal to finalize retroactive payments by December 31st, 2020 provided that all required documents are duly filled, signed and returned in a timely manner.


- Lastly, we have agreed with ESDC’s Labour Relations to move up the dates of our meetings in order to identify the impacts of the government’s next announcements on the processing of this file. We will keep you informed.


Follow-up on other recourses

It should be recalled that CEIU worked with the PSAC Representation Section further to ESDC’s decision not to consider and provide backpay to members who did not file a grievance and permanently left their positions before September 13th, 2018 (date when the new job description was signed by management). An application for judicial review by the Federal Court was filed on March 15th, 2019 to challenge ESDC’s decision to exclude the members in question.


The Federal Court hearing was held on January 15th, 2020. The decision was handed down on April 3rd, 2020. You will find it by following this link: https://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/468546/index.do?q=SMSM


We were waiting for the French version of that decision, but we have been informed that it might take a few months to obtain it. We are sorry about this.


The Court refused to exercise its discretion to consider the application. It decided that the applicant must first exhaust its recourses pursuant to the FPSLRA and that PSAC’s policy grievance, filed in March 2019, should be expedited. The notice of appeal was submitted by PSAC to the Federal Court of Appeal within the required time frame.


With respect to the policy grievance filed on March 29th, 2019 to denounce this deplorable situation, we are working with the PSAC to get a hearing date with Treasury Board, knowing that no hearing date was obtained in spite of the many follow-up attempts made by CEIU with TBS in the past year. We wish to have the grievance heard by September 30th, 2020. We will keep you informed.


In closing, please continue to check the CEIU website for further updates on the issue.