2024 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

Hello UVAE Members,

We are happy to announce that the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees’ (UVAE) 2024 Scholarships application process is now open.

All scholarships are available for Members in Good Standing (MIGS)of the UVAE (or who at the time of their departure from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) in the same calendar year were members in good standing of the UVAE), including their spouse, their common-law spouse/partners and/or their children. However, no more than one scholarship will be awarded to the same family in a given year.

UVAE offers members in good standing in post-secondary studies or their child going to College or University or a Trade School one (1) of five (5) regional scholarships for 2024 up to a maximum expenditure of $5,000.00 in Scholarships. UVAE will also provide one (1) additional scholarship in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) sponsored by Orbit Insurance.

The completed application must be postmarked no later than Friday, August 9, 2024, by 23:59 (EST).

The application will be reviewed as a whole, however, the scholarships will be awarded primarily based on the merit of the 500 to 800–word essay according to the essay topic determined for the given year, as well as on the applicant’s grades, volunteer and extracurricular activities.

This year, UVAE’s National Executive Officers have chosen two (2) essay topics for applicants to choose one (1) from. The essay topics to choose from this year are:

  1. How can Indigenous Land Acknowledgements move beyond symbolic gestures to create meaningful and lasting impact for Indigenous communities?
  • In a digitally connected era, what strategies can the Canadian labour movement adopt to enhance member engagement and increase union density?

In Solidarity,

Toufic El-Daher, National President

MAY – ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH

Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to honour the diversity within our workforce, which has been pivotal in shaping Canada’s labour landscape. From the early Chinese immigrants who worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway to the present-day Asian-Canadian workers we work alongside with.

Unions have played a role in advocating for the rights and well-being of all workers. Through collective bargaining, unions have fought for fair wages, safe working conditions, and equal opportunities, creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all. Unfortunately, inequality and exploitation remain in Canada. The exploitation of Asian immigrants persists is our country’s policies towards international students, many of whom are suffering under the weight of an unfair system that profits off young people who are working hard to better their lives.

International students play a significant role in Canada’s economy. They contribute financially through tuition fees, living expenses, and cheap under-the-table labour. This economic contribution often comes at a cost to the students themselves.

One aspect of exploitation lies in the high tuition fees international students are charged compared to Canadian citizens. These inflated fees, which are often four times what citizens pay, create financial strain, especially when the currency exchange (Indian rupee to the Canadian dollar) is taken into account. This forces desperate students to work long hours in low-paying or under-the-table jobs to sustain themselves. This situation is exacerbated by limited access to social services and healthcare, leading to a vulnerable and precarious existence for many international students.

The reliance of universities on international students as a source of revenue can sometimes overshadow their rights and well-being. This can manifest in inadequate support services, a lack of affordable housing options, and challenges in obtaining work permits post-graduation. All these factors contribute to a system where international students are exploited for their financial contributions while facing significant barriers and challenges.

Drawing parallels to the past, we can see similarities in how immigrant labour was utilized to build Canada’s infrastructure in the early 1900s. Immigrants were often paid low wages, faced harsh working conditions, and had limited access to rights and protections. Their labour was essential for Canada’s development but came at a great human cost.

By highlighting these parallels, we can raise awareness about the need to address the exploitation of international students in Canada. This includes advocating for fair tuition fees, improved support services, better working conditions, and pathways to permanent residency for those who wish to stay in the country after completing their studies. It emphasizes the importance of community and helping those who need us to stand up and advocate for them.

Respectfully submitted by,

UVAE Human Rights Committee

UPDATE: Federal Office Return Mandate: Statement from UVAE National President

Dear members of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees,

As you may have heard, the news is now official that the federal government has mandated employees to return to the office three days a week.

It’s very important to mention that we will be meeting with the employer on a regular basis to be part of the plan that Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) will be putting in place, we want to be consulted.  We have our next official meeting of the National Labour-Management Consultation Committee (NLMCC) scheduled in person with the Deputy Minister and VAC senior management on June 18, and this important subject will be the first item on our agenda.

Please see the update from PSAC by following the link https://psacunion.ca/psac-members-furious-over-three-day-person-mandate, PSAC has advised they will be filing an Unfair Labour Practice regarding the employers’ actions. 

As your National President, I want to assure you that I am committed, along with your UVAE National Executive Officers, to ensure that the voice of UVAE members is heard loud and clear in all discussions concerning your workers’ rights. Your concerns, priorities and preferences will be at the forefront of our discussions with the employer and the PSAC.

If you have any questions or require clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your local executive whom will forward your concerns to your respective Regional Vice-President (RVP). 

In Solidarity,

Toufic El-Daher

UVAE National President

Federal Office Return Mandate: Statement from UVAE National President

Dear members of the Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees,

As you may have heard, rumors are circulating about a possible mandate from the federal government for employees to return to the office three days a week. The UVAE National Office fully understands that such rumors cause concern across the membership.  

It is very important to mention that as of today, no official communication or directive has been issued by the federal government regarding a change in its current return-to-work policy. Any decision in this regard would have to be made through a consultative process, taking into account the contingencies and concerns of everyone, especially employees. 

Policies that have a direct impact on your working conditions must be developed in collaboration and consultation with bargaining agents.

As your National President, I want to assure you that I am committed, along with your UVAE National Executive Officers, to ensuring that the voice of UVAE members is heard loud and clear in all discussions concerning your workers’ rights. Your concerns, priorities and preferences will be at the forefront of our discussions with the employer and the PSAC.

If you have any questions or require clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your local executive.

In Solidarity,

Toufic El-Daher

UVAE National President

Yvan Thauvette, you will be missed!

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I announce the passing of Yvan Thauvette, UVAE’s National President for the period of 2003 to 2014. The whole UVAE family is in mourning with the departure of this action-oriented unionist full of heart.

UVAE pays tribute to Yvan’s memory and his unwavering dedication to the rights and interests of workers. His passion, commitment and leadership will remain in our hearts and continue to inspire future generations.

In February 2024, I was honoured to present him with a UVAE lifetime membership plaque voted by the national executive to recognize his achievements. It was a very moving and important moment that Yvan received this recognition during his lifetime, I saw joy in his eyes!

Yvan was an inspiration to us all, a model of determination and solidarity. Our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones and all those who have had the opportunity to work with him. May your soul rest in peace, my friend, our friend and colleague, Yvan Thauvette.

Toufic El-Daher
National President
Union of Veterans’ Affairs Employees