We are writing to our locals to provide an update on the steps that the CEIU National Office has been taking to help address our member’s concerns regarding the ongoing situation in the Service Canada Centres resulting from passport delays.
Members of the CEIU National Executive across Canada are meeting with senior Service Canada management twice weekly to address this topic. The employer is consulting with the union as they conduct Canada wide fact-finding audits and review passport procedures. And while they have committed to implementing changes as needed to address the long lines and delays for those seeking passports, our union leadership has been frustrated with the length of time these changes have taken to implement.
To be clear, our union began advocacy on these concerns over a year ago, asking the employer what their plan was and making inquiries and suggestions regarding increased staffing, the addition of new site locations, the triaging of client requests, amongst others.
The employer has finally committed to hiring new Passport Officers and Citizen Services Officers for Passport Offices and Service Canada offices across the country, and is working with Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada to develop new training.
We also want to take this opportunity to communicate with our members regarding their health and safety in the front end. Passport delays are causing staff burnout, increased exposure and risk of Covid, as well as increased threats to their physical safety.
Incidents of harassment and verbal abuse of employees have been reported at some of our work sites. It is important that these incidents are reported to the employer on LAB 1070 (Hazardous Occurrence Investigations Report) and that CEIU local and regional health and safety representative are made aware of these incidents.
Our members should not feel unsafe going to work. It is the employer’s obligation under the Canada Labour Code, Part II, to ensure a safe working environment. Part II contains an employee’s right to refuse unsafe work. The following links contain information on this topic and we urge you to educate yourselves and seek assistance if you find yourself in unsafe working conditions.
CEIU is dedicated to representing our members. Aside from labour/management consultation, we have been working in solidarity with the Union of National Employees (UNE) who represents passports officers, and we are seeking a meeting with Minister Gould to raise our ongoing concerns. Our union leadership has also been present in the media to advocate for our members across the country. If you have questions, concerns or would like to report an issue, please contact your local or regional union representatives, or one of our regional union offices (information can be found at www.ceiu-seic.ca)
The CEIU National Office