Report of the Equal Opportunity Coordinator – May 2021

I would like to respectfully submit my NEO Update for the period from November 2020 to April 2021 as Equal Opportunities Coordinator (EOC) for the Union of Veterans Affairs employees.

In this role, I am a member of the National Diversity and Advisory Committee (NDIAC) and have attended several meetings to ensure our Terms of Reference for the new inclusion committee gets reflected with our concerns going forward. I also sit on the Charlottetown Local Health and Safety committee and sit on the National Occupational Safety & Health Policy Committee (NOSHPC) Bargaining Agent committee. I also chair the newly formed UVAE National Human Rights committee. I am still learning in this role and hope to be better at leading this in the future. I learn something new every day and we write articles each time there is a National commemoration for various organizations.

As EOC I am a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s (PSAC) Human Rights Committee. I am also a member of the VAC Gender Bases Analysis+ committee. Along with doing my regular duties in my Veterans Affairs job as project assistant, the challenges facing us in the union can be incredible. This past year while working from home during the Pandemic has put all our Health and Safety issues at the forefront on a continual basis. This can be a very demanding situation on a day-to-day basis and the workplace is extremely busy with issues from our members.

As a Joint Learning Program (JLP) facilitator I also took training a few months ago to deliver new JLP sessions in the virtual platform.

The EOC position has no voice or vote on the National Executive (NEO) and this has been presented time and time again at our UVAE Convention. It has sparked much debate, but in my opinion, this position needs to be funded and have the same recognition as the other NEO positions. I will support the resolution that puts forward the rationale and background to finally do the right thing and create the new provisions for this very vitally important elected position.

On March 25th, 2021 I was re-elected as the President of Local 90001 with over 1000 members. Last year I was re-elected as the Secretary to the PEI Federation of Labour. Also, I am the President of the PSAC PEI Regional Women’s committee, President of the PSAC PEI Human Rights committee, and 1st VP of the PSAC Area Council.

I have been a strong advocate for Human Rights through my various activities with PSAC, the workplace and with UVAE. I want to thank everyone for their support and assistance during the past several months.

At times it can been stressful as well as taking its toll on some of our members. It is extremely important to continue to advocate for all our members who have issues in the workplace and to listen to their concerns.

In Solidarity,

Debi Buell