Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
July 7, 2011

CEIU examining options as HRSDC’s year-long freeze on term employee accumulation of service towards indeterminate status puts unions in classic ‘Catch 22’ position

On June 29, in an e-mail addressed to all staff, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada announced that it would be opting out of the Treasury Board’s Term Employment Policy.  At the time that the e-mail was circulating, union representatives were sitting in a boardroom with HRSDC senior officials being told the same thing.

Some information that was provided to the unions that was not included in the email includes:

*It is important to note that this does NOT apply to ‘sunset terms’ hired for a clear, delineated period.

Also unmentioned in the all-staff e-mail was HRSDC’s rationale for opting-out of the Treasury Board policy: to avoid an excess of indeterminate staff triggering Work Force Adjustment while the department searches for efficiencies as demanded by the Harper Government.

Perhaps due to the above information not being provided initially, the decision has caused much concern – both in the workplace and inside the leadership ranks of the CEIU.  In the end, CEIU is caught in a classic “Catch 22” dilemma as a result of the potential rift that this could create between indeterminate and term employees.

Therefore, the primary message from CEIU to each and every member is “don’t be fooled by the actions of the employer”!  The amount of work will not change, nor will the need for both term and indeterminate employees to provide important services to the most vulnerable of Canadian citizens.

For now, CEIU will look at all of its options, as limited as they may be since at issue is a policy and not a clause or section of the collective agreement. Nonetheless, CEIU is consulting with the PSAC (in its role as our bargaining agent) regarding the utility of launching a Federal Court challenge to this interpretation of the term policy.

In the meantime, any CEIU member who feels that they are not being treated according to HRSDC’s commitments outlined in the e-mail and through its discussion with the unions should contact their Local representative or the CEIU Union Office for their region.

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