Everything you need to know about the Treasury Board agreements
Have questions about the Treasury Board agreements for the PA, SV, FB, and EB groups? Want the latest on the TC group? This is the page for you!
Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions related to the recent negotiations with Treasury Board and the impact of the government's economic and fiscal update on our collective bargaining.
We will be updating this page regularly, so check it often! If you have any specific questions which aren't covered here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did we arrive at these agreements?
A message from National President John Gordon
The PSAC/Treasury Board tentative agreements for the PA, SV, FB, and EB groups were reached after a marathon bargaining session from November 20th to. 23rd. These settlements have set a pattern that has allowed many other groups to conclude their negotiations as well. Over the past seven days, 12 other tentative agreements have been negotiated for:
- Canada Council for the Arts – Administrative Group (this is a first collective agreement for these members)
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Canadian Security Intelligence Service
- Communications Security Establishment
- National Capital Commission
- Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
- Parks Canada
- Statistical Survey Operations – Field and Regional Office Interviewers
I know that many of you are wondering why this sudden flurry of activity after 18 months of employer inaction at the bargaining table. Despite over 35 days of negotiations with Treasury Board, it took an economic crisis to motivate the employer to address some of our key issues at the bargaining table.
With the Canadian economy moving into recession, the federal government reacted by looking to control costs and spending. To do this, they needed to conclude negotiations across the federal public service, with PSAC and all other bargaining agents.
The window to reach these agreements was small, as the government made it very clear in the Throne Speech that they would be introducing legislation to ensure “responsible fiscal management of public sector compensation”. In other words, negotiate agreements now, or they would be legislated. To back up this threat, Treasury Board issued a press release to announce that it was mandating economic increases of 2.3%, 1.5%, 1.5%, and 1.5% across the federal public service, in the form of non-negotiable final offers.
I felt that the only responsible thing to do was to bring the negotiating teams back to Ottawa and try and negotiate tentative agreements before the legislation was introduced. While the economic increases were mandated and therefore not negotiable, I believed there was an opportunity to try and resolve other outstanding issues via negotiation. So the bargaining teams quickly returned to Ottawa and after four very long days of negotiations, the PA, SV, FB and EB groups achieved tentative agreements. The TC group was not able to conclude a tentative agreement, and have therefore applied for arbitration.
I know there are members who feel we should have defied the mandated final offer economic increases and pushed for more. I also know there are members who feel we should have refused to negotiate under such conditions, and waited until the Canadian economy improved. While negotiating under the threat of legislation and mandated economic increases stretches the definition of free collective bargaining, the National Board of Directors and I believed that it was better to negotiate agreements now, than wait for the economy to improve, or have legislation imposed upon us.
Through our negotiations, we were able to achieve some priority bargaining demands, such as: National Rates of Pay for SV trades members; commitment to classification reform in the PA collective agreement; a first collective agreement for the FB group that addresses important operational and economic issues; and a strengthened Work Force Adjustment Directive. Further details are available by visiting the individual group web pages at: www.psac-afpc.com
So despite very difficult bargaining and economic conditions, we were able to make important breakthroughs that will benefit members now and into the future. Legislation would not have given us these breakthroughs. Waiting for the economy to improve would have left the members in limbo for months or years. The solution was to negotiate and achieve the best possible agreements we can now without making concessions, to protect the economic and employment security of the membership. Your bargaining teams have accomplished this difficult task on your behalf.
Q: How has the definition of family changed and how does it affect different articles in the collective agreement?
A: The definition of family formerly found in the Bereavement Leave article has now moved from the Bereavement Leave article to the Interpretations and Definitions article. The definition of family in the PA, SV, EB and FB agreements now applies to Bereavement Leave and Leave without Pay for Care of Immediate Family. It reads as follows:
« Family » except where otherwise specified in this Agreement, means father, mother (or alternatively stepfather, stepmother, or foster parent), brother, sister, spouse (including common-law partner spouse resident with the employee),child (including child of common-law partner), stepchild or ward of the employee, grandchild, father-in-law, mother in law, the employee's grand parents and relative permanently residing in the employee's household or with whom the employee permanently resides (famille).
Although the entitlement remains the same for the bereavement leave article, this definition now allows members to take leave without pay for the Care of Immediate Family for a broader scope of family members such as: brothers, sisters, grand-parents and grand-children.
A provision for Compassionate Care Leave has been added to the Leave Without Pay for Care of Family article. This new clause allows an employee who has a family member at significant risk of death within 26 weeks to take leave without pay for a period of up to eight (8) weeks, during which the employee can access Employment Insurance payments after the two (2)-week waiting period. For the purpose of the Compassionate Care Leave clause only, the definition of family will be the definition found in the Employment Insurance regulations.
Q: In the Economic and Fiscal Statement delivered on November 27, Finance Minister Flaherty announced legislation that will put in place annual wage increases of 2.3%, 1.5%, 1.5%, and 1.5% for 2007-2008 through 2010-2011. What is the impact of this announcement on the tentative agreements this week?
A: The tentative agreements signed on or before November 27th are not affected by the announcement in today's Economic and Fiscal Statement.. All provisions negotiated in the tentative agreements, including the National Rates of Pay for the SV group, the $4000 lump sum payment for the PA and EB groups, and the new FB wage grid, will be honoured if all four of the tentative agreements are ratified.
Q: How many tentative agreements have we reached from November 18th to November 27th?
A: Quite a few! Here's the complete list:
Treasury Board: Program and Administration (PA) group
Treasury Board: Operational Services (SV) group
Treasury Board: Education and Library Science (EB) group
Treasury Board: Border Services (FB) group
SSO Field Interviewers
SSO Regional Office Interviewers
Office of the Auditor General Audit Professional Group
Office of the Auditor General Audit Services Group
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
SSHRC Admin & Foreign Service
SSHRC Admin Support
Communications Security Establishment
Canada Council for the Arts (Admin group) - FIRST AGREEMENT
Q: Does the announcement in the Economic and Fiscal Statement apply to Canada Post?
Q: Which employers will be covered by the legislated wage increases?
A: The Economic and Fiscal Statement says the legislation will put in place annual wage increases for the “federal public administration”. We don't yet have a complete list of which employers are covered. We will make the information available as soon as enabling legislation is tabled.
Q: Who is impacted by the government's announcement to suspend the right to strike on wages through to 2010-2011?
A: PSAC members employed by the CRA are impacted. Their collective agreement expires on October 31, 2010. PSAC members employed by CRA will be denied the right to strike for one year after their current agreement expires.
Q: Now that we have concluded tentative agreements, what's happening with the Essential Service Agreements (ESAs)?
A: The PSAC has been working hard for over a year and-a-half to conclude an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) with the Treasury Board that strikes a balance between our members' legal right to strike and ensuring that services that are essential to the safety and security of the public are maintained.
While this process is somewhat similar to the former "designations" process, the new Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) legislation is different in some important ways. For one thing, an ESA does not end with each round of bargaining. This means that at this point, your Union will continue to negotiate an Essential Service Agreement for each bargaining unit until a fair agreement is reached. This will ensure that an ESA is in place before the next round of bargaining begins so that members can exercise their legal right to strike.
Q: Has PSAC abandoned the fight for pay equity?
A: Absolutely not! Pay equity has been a longstanding priority for PSAC. The PSAC agreed to withdraw two pay equity complaints relating to the employer's failure to implement gender-neutral job evaluation plans in exchange for the Memoradum of Understanding in the Collective Agreement. While the pay equity complaints will be withdrawn if the tentative agreements are ratified, PSAC will hold the employer to its commitment to take action on classification reform by implementing gender-neutral job evaluation plans.
Rest assured, PSAC has not abandoned the ongoing struggle for pay equity in the broad federal public sector. The union still has several ongoing pay equity complaints – such as the separate employer pay equity complaint and the longstanding complaint against Canada Post.
EB & PA Group
Q: I was a member of the PA (EB) Group on December 15th, 2008, but was receiving E.I. benefits at that time. I know that I am entitled to the $4,000 lump-sum payment, but will it affect my E.I. benefits? Will they be reduced and/or will I owe money back to E.I.?
A: Absolutely not. The lump-sum payment will have no impact on your E.I. benefits (for instance, maternity/parental benefits) and you will neither have your benefits reduced, nor will you have to pay any money back.
The lump-sum payment is "income", which is why it is both pensionable and subject to tax. It is not, however, counted as part of your salary. As your E.I. benefits are calculated based on "earnings", and the lump-sum payment is not considered "earnings" for the purpose of E.I., this payment will not have any effect on your level of benefit.
Q: When do the terms of the agreement come into effect?
A: Rates of pay are back-dated to the expiry of the previous agreement. All other terms of the agreement are effective as of the date of signing. For example, the PA wage increase of 2.3% is effective from 21 June, 2007 and Treasury Board has up to 150 days from the signing of the agreements to both implement the new rates of pay and to issue cheques for retroactive pay.
Q: Is it possible to obtain a tax reduction on the $4000 lump sum payment?
A: The following are the federal and provincial income tax forms you can complete and print:
- T-1213 - Federal
Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source
- TP-1016 – Provincial (Québec)
Application for a Reduction in Source Deductions of Income Tax
For those who are interested, it is important that you act quickly because it can take from 20 to 30 working days at Customer Services to process the request for tax relief. You must then send the documents to Compensation Services for action. Checks could already be issued if you do not act quickly.
Reduction of tax deductions at source
Employees wishing to obtain a tax reduction on a lump sum payment of employment income must follow the procedure hereunder:
The request must be made in writing to the Customer Services Division of the Tax Services Office of the Canada Revenue Agency and to Revenu Québec located in the employee's region.
Employees can download a form from the aforementioned Internet sites or obtain one by telephoning their local taxation offices and requesting that a Tax Deduction Waiver request form.
(Please note that the Agency should forward its reply in writing to the employee within 4 to 6 weeks after receiving the tax deduction request form).
- If the CRA approves the tax deduction reduction request, he or she will receive a letter of authorization. Upon receiving this letter, the employee must give a copy to his/her compensation advisor. No requests to reduce tax deductions will be processed without this letter.
It is important to bear in mind that, in order to receive letter waiving income tax at source from both levels of government, it may take between 4 to 6 weeks and the Compensation Department must receive copies of these letters before issuing a retroactive pay cheque. At present, we do not know the date when these retroactive pay cheques will be issued, but given how long it takes to obtain these letters, the time frame may be too short.
Some documents state that a letter of exemption is not required for amounts of under $10,000. A check was made with the Tax Services Office, which pointed out that no such exception exists for federal public servants and that the letter is compulsory, regardless of the amount.
Q: Why is December 15th the determining date to be on strength in the PA and EB bargaining units to receive the $4000 lump sum payment?
A: The December 15th deadline provided some lead time for the Union to advise members about the eligibility criteria to receive $4,000 lump sum payment -- i.e. that they must be a member of the PA or EB bargaining units. For example, members planning to retire in the immediate future could delay their retirement in order to be on strength on December 15th. If appropriate, members in an acting position could make arrangements to return to their substantive PA job by December15th in order to be eligible to receive the lump sum payment.
Q: Will the lump-sum $4000 payment be prorated for part-time employees?
A: No: part-time employees who are on strength in the PA and EB bargaining units on December 15, 2008 will receive the full $4000.
Q: Were we successful in achieving allowances for AS Compensation Advisors and WPs?
A: No, despite the bargaining team's best efforts we were not successful. However, what we did achieve is a commitment from Treasury Board to undertake classification reform. This is significant because the need for classification reform is at the heart of the problem for compensation advisors because the work they perform now has become vastly more complex in the time since those positions were originally classified.
All PA and EB members will receive a $4000 pensionable lump for the withdrawal of the PSAC human rights complaint. The complaint focused on the fact that the Employer had failed to implement the classification reform it had committed to. This $4000 may be viewed as a step towards compensating PA and EB members for the federal government's delay in honouring previous classification reform commitments. Note that the new classification reform commitment provides us with clear grievable timelines in the Collective Agreement. Inclusion of these timelines in the Collective Agreement means that we will be able to use the more expeditious forum of grievance arbitration rather than the notoriously slow Human Rights Commission forum should the Employer fail to live up to its commitments to classification reform.
Q: Who is getting the $4,000 lump sum payment?
A: Every person who is a member of the PA or the EB bargaining unit on December 15, 2008.
Q: Do I get the lump sum if I am only in an acting position in the PA or EB group?
A: You get the money if you have been in an acting position in either the PA or EB group for more than four months on December 15, 2008. You do not get it if your substantive position is in another bargaining unit and you have been acting in the PA or EB unit for less than four months.
Q: Do I get the lump sum if I'm a casual employee?
Q: Do I get the lump sum if I am acting in a position outside the PA or EB bargaining unit, but my substantive position is a PA or EB position?
A: You get the lump sum if you have been acting outside the PA or EB bargaining unit for less than four months on December 15, 2008, but you do not get it if you have been acting outside of the PA or EB bargaining unit for more than four months.
Q: If I have been acting outside of the PA or EB bargaining unit for more than four months and am therefore currently ineligible to receive the lump sum, can I return to my substantive position in the PA or EB bargaining units on December 15 so that I don't miss out?
A: If you believe that it is financially more beneficial to you to receive the lump sum than to stay in your acting position, you can certainly ask to be returned to your substantive position by or on December 15, 2008. However, there is no guarantee that the employer will allow your request, especially if you want to then go back to your acting position again. Treasury Board is leaving it to individual departments to make these decisions on a case by case basis, so the best advice we can give is go ahead and ask if that is what you want to do.
Q: My substantive position is in the PA or EB group, but I am on leave without pay right now. Will I still get the lump sum?
A: You still get the lump sum if you are on leave, either with or without pay, because you are still a member of the PA or EB bargaining unit.
Q: Is the lump sum pensionable?
Q: Is the lump sum subject to tax?
Q: When will I get paid the $4,000?
A: Within 150 days of the signing of the collective agreement.
Q: Why am I getting $4,000 ?
A: The PSAC agreed to withdraw a pay equity complaint in exchange for two things: a lump sum payment of $4,000 for every member of the PA and EB groups and a Memorandum Of Understanding on classification reform, which is to be included in the collective agreement. You can find more information about pay equity, classification and the new agreement on the PSAC website.
Q: Are retirees eligible to receive the $4000 lump sum?
A: No, retirees are not eligible to receive the $4000 lump sum. This lump sum is not a pay equity payment; it is a lump sum payment to members on strength in the PA and EB groups on December 15, 2008.
Q: Is it only the Trades that are getting National Rates of Pay in the SV group?
A: No, all members of the GL, GS and HS groups will move to a national rate pay within the life of the Collective Agreement. All members move into the national pay grid on August 5, 2009 and will progress to the maximum throughout the life of the Collective Agreement. For more information.
Date Modified : 2010/01/29