I respectfully submit my report for May 2022 to August 2022.
We continue to work on the direction given to us by the Convention delegates.
We have started to see some re-entry into the VAC offices across the country. Our National Executive are working hard with all locals who raise concerns on the re-entry, confirming that the health & safety of our members is top priority and to respond to the many changes that our members face.
Members continue to stay strong and are working hard to meet the needs of our Veterans in a department that is continuously implementing new changes and processes.
Remember to take time to do something for yourself occasionally.
I continue to meet with Senior Management on various topics and concerns while working to build the collaboration and consultation between the Department and the Union at all levels. Some concerns are dealt with where others we find, we are having to chase the department to affect the common sense changes that are needed.
We continue to put pressure on the government and our Minister through meetings, letters and media to reduce the Case Manager case loads to an acceptable number without contracting out our members work.
We launched our CM Campaign on the new RSVP contract in June 2022 and received great responses from members and the public who took action on our campaign to send messages to the Minister. We put digital ads up through Facebook, Instagram, media, television and radio. We took out transit ads in Ottawa and Victoria which ran from July to mid August.
We have our Campaign website which is uncoverthecosts.ca/veteransaffairs. We have a Case Manager contact list and have been sending out updates to the Case Managers through Newsletters and have held Townhall meetings to hear the concerns from the Case Managers and to provide updates on how UVAE is fighting for their work to remain.
We sent out CM Campaign swag materials to all the locals to distribute to their members. We have also provided items to the RVPs to distribute in their communities at upcoming Labour Day events and Legions.
The Department officials including the Minister do not appear interested in meeting with the Union to discuss our concerns and the concerns of our CMs. I have sent a few letters to the Minister to request a meeting to discuss the concerns. One of the letters that I sent to the Minister got passed to the Deputy Minister to respond and my follow up letter to the Minister has gone unanswered to date.
We have done press releases and multiple ads in the media to raise awareness on the concerns of this new contract and the ongoing high caseloads. The Minister himself has been requested to comment by the media to which the Minister has declined. Does this Minister truly care about his staff and our Veterans? In my opinion, he has not shown care or concern to date. We will be ramping up our actions with the Minister in the coming months.
Our request for an independent and external review of Case Manager workloads at Veterans Affairs Canada has been ignored by this Minister. He has not responded to our request and neither has any department official for them to join UVAE on this independent review. He noted back in January that the Department will carefully consider all the recommendations put forward by the union however, we have heard nothing else since.
I have sent a request in August to the ACVA (Advisory Committee on Veterans Affairs) to request that their committee take on a study of the Case Manager workloads at VAC. If ACVA takes on this study and UVAE is requested to testify at ACVA; UVAE will be bringing in Case Managers from across the country to testify to what their caseloads are like and what they feel is needed to reduce the caseloads without contracting out their work. We are still waiting for the presentations from the Department on the Case Management Renewal and Guided Support which are scheduled in September.
National Office Operations Human Resources
No changes in National Office staff. The three employees are still working from home and continue to provide services to our members and to the National Office. I am still monitoring the COVID numbers and will be looking at a re-entry plan for staff and elected officers to the office in the early New Year.
Our Audit is complete and the documentation has been sent to all Locals. Our Finance Committee will be working with myself and our Financial Administrative Officer to start creating our next budget for 2024 to 2027 to be presented to the next Triennial Convention being held in October 2023.
We continue to send communications to our membership through a variety of platforms within the Regions and Nationally. We encourage all members to provide their personal email addresses to their local executive so that we can maintain an up to date and current list to be able to update all members on important things.
The Human Rights Committee continue to write articles for our members and are working on a logo contest to determine which logo UVAE will use on a go forward basis for our Human Rights information.
The Newsletters are sent out to our membership through UnionWare with posting to our website and Facebook pages. Thank you to Zarina and Rosa for all their hard work and dedication to the UVAE Human Rights Committee.
Communication is key for us to continue to inform and engage our members. We must work together to get more members involved in the challenges we continue to face within the workplaces. Working together we can effect the changes that are needed.
Labour Management Consultation Committees (LMCC)
For our National Labour Management Consultation Committee (NLMCC) with the National Executive Officers and Senior Management we are still waiting on the employer to schedule this which was requested in August 2021.
The department seems eager to stay with a Joint NLMCC with the other 4 bargaining agents within VAC. However, UVAE has advised the Department that UVAE wants to maintain our own NLMCC with the Department. I will continue to work with the Department to have our own NLMCC again. UVAE has requested the Department Senior Managers to join UVAE for a face to face training through the Joint Learning Program (JLP) on Labour Management Consultations. We are waiting for confirmation that this will take place.
I am still waiting on the department to come back to the table to discuss updating the Guidelines for LMCCs as the current ones are from 2011.
Essential Services Agreement (ESA)
I have been advised by the Department that even though we have our signed ESA agreement for the PA group that they are reviewing the list and will be sending me additional requests as well as some administrative changes. I have advised the Department that UVAE is not willing to add additional positions to the ESA list. I will wait to see what requests they submit to me and will review them fully before providing the Department my official response.
Health & Safety
We continue to see some changes within the Health and Safety Portfolio within the department over the past year and a bit. I know that the 4 (four) UVAE Reps on NOHSPC will continue to work together to increase the Health & Safety within VAC and to hold the department to their responsibilities under the Canada Labour Code Part 2.
National Local Presidents Conference
The planning and organization of the Conference is in full swing. We are just working on finalizing items with the hotel around the rooming list and food selection. It is shaping up to be a full conference of training to provide our local executive additional knowledge which will assist our locals in providing representation to our members.
I want to thank all our members across the country for their continued dedication and service to Veterans.
Thank you to all the Local Executives across the country for your ongoing activism and engagement of your members to help make the workplace a better place to be and for the work that you do to ensure that members’ rights are being protected.
I want to thank the NEO for all your support and hard work. We have completed a lot of things as a team and within your respective regions. As a team we will continue to accomplish the work and affect the changes that are needed for our members across the country.
We will continue to work with perseverance to ensure that members are supported and that they have the representation when needed.
I will provide further verbal updates to my report at the September NEO.
I am proud and honoured to represent all UVAE members.
I look forward to continuing to provide leadership within UVAE and to move us forward in the days and months ahead.