Frequently Asked Questions 

 The purpose of this module is to provide members with a quick reference to questions and respective answers which are of common interest to all. It has been noted that members tend to seek the same information continually on a specific range of subjects. This causes the CFPA Executive, but mostly the National Chairman, a great deal of time, repetitively responding to each individual, where that time could be used to better advantage on other pressing issues.

It is also an unnecessary use of valuable time for those who must either e-mail, telephone, or in some other way contact a representative to answer their concern. In some cases, the time waiting for a response can be fairly long which may be disconcerting to the member if the information is needed quickly. 

Not every question can be covered here, however it is intended to be a live document and continually reviewed, amended and expanded as necessary. Members are encouraged to submit questions at any time. In the event that specific questions are deemed to fit into the intent of this document, they will be inserted and answered accordingly. 

It is hoped that in the interest of saving time for all parties, you will refer to this site first for your answers. If the information is not available, or incomplete to your satisfaction, then of course feel free to approach a CFPA representative for additional assistance. 

All questions have been segregated into specific subjects, such as Pensions, Grievances, Use of Vehicles, etc. Where possible they may also be grouped closely together within subject areas if the material is reasonably related. An index page is also included for ease of reference. 

Note: Each question will have a lead-in date applied to it such as 06/05 (June 2005), 07/05 (July 2005), etc. This will be of benefit to the reader in determining the recency of newer questions and newer concerns. The majority of the initial group of questions will be seen to reflect (06/05), as this is the time period during which the module was originally designed.

Pension

Unfortunately not. The Association has addressed the members concerns on this issue over many years and made numerous attempts to secure some amicable solution to the problem. The “Employer” that must be dealt with in this case is Treasury Board, not TC or TSB. The same provisions currently apply to our Nav Canada members as well.

When pensions were being negotiated back in the 60s, two groups were able to obtain an accelerated plan. The two groups were the Correction Officers and the Air Traffic Controllers, both considered at the time to be high burn-out occupations. Due to changes in the Income Tax Act, should the Air Traffic Controllers ever come back under Government control from Nav Canada, they will not be eligible for reinstatement of an accelerated pension program. The Correction Officers (and it is likely the few remaining ATC employees remaining at TC) have been grandfathered.

Treasury Board can not offer any other alternatives and because of the stipulations contained within the Income Tax Act, they will not attempt to modify our pension plan, regardless of how valid the circumstances are.

Articles negotiated in the contract are directly related to salary and conditions of work. They are also vulnerable at the expiry of each contract to change or loss. If it was possible to insert a “Pension Adjustment” clause into the contract it would likely be attacked every time the contract expired and eventually damaged. Furthermore your contract is intended for those who are currently employed and has no bearing whatsoever on anyone who has quit, been fired, laid off or retired, so those who leave would not be eligible for future positive (or negative) adjustments.

Furthermore, any article in the contract relating to monetary gain is seen by Treasury Board as drawing from a specific amount set aside for a settlement, therefore any gain received under the guise of a “Pension Adjustment” would only have come from some other area such as EDA for example, thus in fact, no gains would actually be made. Should such a pension adjustment be held in some sort of trust until retirement, then it means that the money lost from that which would have been gained in EDA for instance, as per our example above, would not be available to you now.

Basically none. There are no options out there other than personal investments, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) and other such ventures which the CFPA has been able to determine. Unfortunately, you are on your own to ensure financial stability outside whatever pension and Canada Pension Plan / Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP), Old Age Security (OAS) benefits you can acquire.

Your pension will be reduced either at age 65 or when you begin receiving a CPP/QPP disability pension. This reduction reflects the fact that the contributions to the public service plan and the CPP/QPP are integrated - you contributed less to the public service plan on the portion of your salary up to the CPP/QPP maximum.

Refer for more information on this subject to the following site: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/pension-plan/plan-information/public-service-pension-glance.html

Unfortunately, the Association does not have authority or mandate to intervene in an individual’s personal financial situation. The CFPA also does not have access to any financial legal expert that would be able to assist in situations such as the one described above. Our mandate would be limited to ensuring that the Employer is treating our members in accordance with the appropriate provisions and statutes.

It is recommended that members experiencing problems such as this contact their Pay & Compensation Advisor and Superannuation Advisor for guidance and process. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, the CFPA would not be allowed to act on your behalf in such matters.

1  - 2% per year served to a maximum of 70%; and 

2  - Your best 5 yr salary up to your last day of work before you turn 69 years of age. These are consecutive years, not any 5 years. 

For an employee with in excess of 35 years continuous service you will receive 70% of your best five years up to age 69, not 70% of your best five years over your entire career 

Example: 

Age 64 to 69 you made an average of $100,000.00 per year. You will receive $70,000.00 per year or 70% when retired. 

Between Age 69 and 77 you won that management job you always wanted which paid $1,000,000.00 per year. When you finally retire at 77 don't expect $700,000.00 per year when you leave. You will still only receive $70,000.00 per year. 

In summary, if you have 35 years of service, consider not working past age 69. 

An additional point of interest centres around the fact that after 35 years of continuous service you will still contribute 1% of salary towards indexing of your pension, however that will also cease after the 1st of January following your 69th birthday.

 

Hiring Standards

The hiring qualifications were laid down initially in a document titled Public Service Commission (PSC) - Hiring Standards and have been in force ever since the mid sixties at least and to date have never been seriously amended especially in respect of the AO Group. The qualifications were based on input valid for the time and likely linked to the desire for a specific level and type of background relevant to that period. 

The basic requirement for an Airline Transport Licence - Aeroplane (ATPL) was seen as a high qualification to attain back then, therefore those who obtained it were for the most part very experienced pilots who had been working in the field for a number of years. As an example, there were at least seven (7) written examinations, all long hand, as opposed to the three (3) (including the instrument exam), multiple choice type required now. 

Back then there was no ATPL for helicopters; therefore the highest licence obtainable was the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Over the years much has changed including the fact that there is now an ATPL-H and a larger number of pilots in all categories working in the industry with diverse backgrounds and experience. TC and TSB have a growing requirement for expertise in all these fields and needs to hire the best in each. 

The minimum experience requirement for an ATPL on aeroplanes is 1,500 hours of specific and varied flight time. The ATPL for aeroplanes requires a valid Group 1 Instrument Rating but there is no requirement for any additional instrument flight experience beyond the obtaining of the rating in order to meet the hiring standards. HPS applicants according to the hiring standards do not require an instrument rating at all. The existing Standards are certainly seen nowadays as being inadequate to qualify for a CAI and ETP position when you take the requirements, intent of the positions and tasks into account. In the case of our HPS members, it is seen as an advantage to include the Group 4 instrument rating, however much of the equipment being currently flown cannot be used in IMC. 

A few years ago the issue was addressed to the PSC asking that the Standards be reviewed, specifically to attempt upgrading the minimum flying experience requirements. A minimum of 3,000 hours was proposed at the time. There was a definite intention for that project to take place, however a major re-organization of the PSC was beginning to take shape and to date nothing has evolved. 

Furthermore, when the idea was proposed to the Association Executive at the time, there was a concern over increasing the experience levels in that, under certain conditions, we may lose valuable prospects, who may be low on aviation experience, but high in other related expertise valuable to the Department(s) and AO Group. 

The current hiring standards for our sub-groups are found at the following site: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/staffing/qualification-standards/core.html#ao 

In a word, no. The PSC Hiring Standards referred to in the above question are quite explicit concerning the minimum qualifications necessary for the hiring of CAIs and ETPs. It is expected that those requirements will be maintained in order to retain your status as a CAI/ETP within TC or CAI within the TSB. 

Should you allow your Group 4 instrument rating to lapse, you would no longer be capable of exercising the privileges of your helicopter licence under IMC and therefore would no longer meet the hiring standards. Specifically, a CPL-Aeroplane licence does not meet the PSC Hiring Standards, whereas a CPL-Helicopter Licence with Group 4 instrument rating does. 

The PSC language is quite explicit and does not allow for any other options. You must hold EITHER an ATPL-Aeroplane licence with Group 1 instrument rating or a minimum of a CPL- Helicopter licence with Group 4 instrument rating. 

There is one exception however that must be addressed and that is the fact that some of our members lose their medicals and therefore have no licence privileges. Why is it that they can continue as CAIs? The answer to that is they now fall under other approved policies where they are allowed to retain their positions in a non-flying role until other suitable employment is found for them. Normally they can stay at their job for up to 2 years, however there are cases where that has been extended, especially if the individual is approaching retirement, but, due to past experience and knowledge levels, the position will not be detrimentally affected.

 

Use of Vehicles

Use of Government Vehicles

The use of Government vehicles is addressed within the Travel Directive, specifically the following should be noted:

2.8.1 When the employer considers that travel by an employee-driven vehicle is desirable, the employer shall authorize the use of a government vehicle, if practical. Employees shall not use government vehicles for the purpose of obtaining a meal or for other personal travel, unless specifically authorized. Where convenient public transportation is available, the use of government vehicles should not be authorized. Revenue Canada has also made the use of a Government vehicle a taxable benefit under certain circumstances, especially if you take it home. Transport Canada is expected to track such usage and issue you with an appropriate T4 slip. Members are often asked to take a vehicle home so as to be in a position to travel the following day to required work locations. Such a request raises a number of questions you must be aware of.

  • Does the taking home of the vehicle place me in the taxable benefit category? Yes.
  • Is TC tracking such usage and issuing T4 slips? Perhaps in some regions, however it is our belief that it is not happening everywhere.
  • If TC is not tracking such usage, could that not place me in potential trouble with Revenue Canada? Of course it does.
  • Is there any way to get around this taxable benefit situation? Some members scheduled to use a Government vehicle on a regular basis will park their personal car in a convenient parking lot near home, use public transit to work, bring the Government vehicle from work that night to the same parking lot and leave it there. They then drive home in their own car, drive back the next morning and pick up the Government vehicle. It is unwieldy, but it does legally avoid the taxable benefit issue. Obviously TC gets a claim submitted for the Government vehicle’s parking charge(s).
  • Can I stop on the way home to pick up groceries or the kids? Definitely not, unless specifically authorized.
  • If I used the car for personal use and had an accident, am I protected? The Government self-insures their vehicles, plus you know the rules. You could be in trouble and the Association may not be able to defend you.
  • If I am in a Government vehicle, am I not on Government business, even though I am going to or from home? It is the belief of the CFPA that you are, in fact it should be considered as travel status with all which that implies.
  • If I am therefore on Government business, should I not either go to and from home during my normal hours of work, or put in for overtime? The way the CFPA sees it, yes.
  • If I put in for overtime, doesn’t it have to be pre-approved by my manager? Yes.
  • Do you think my manager will approve such overtime? Do you?

Use of your personal vehicle for Government business

First it must be realized that you have an option to offer the use of your own vehicle, but no one has the right to demand it of you. It is imperative that prior to either asking for permission to use it, or agreeing with a request to use it, that you consider the pitfalls that may occur.

In the previous issue the subject of carrying passengers and personal use was addressed when driving a Government vehicle. If you use your own vehicle for Government business you now have to consider any consequences which may arise if passengers are carried or personal use is mixed in during the agreed to period.

Insurance is your responsibility and according to Article 2.2.5 of the Travel Directive:

Privately owned vehicles or other types of transportation used on government business shall have at least the minimum provincial/territorial state/country insurance coverage of public liability and property damage.

Note that in the event of an accident according to article 2.2.4 (Vehicle Insurance) of the Travel Directive the “employer assumes no financial responsibility other than paying the authorized kilometric rate and Supplementary Business Insurance premium (SBI), when required.”

What, by the way, is SBI? In certain areas of the country like Toronto as an example, it is a requirement to carry this extra insurance for Government use of the vehicle. The premium amounts to approximately $300 a year and as indicated above should be covered by the Government, which in reality means agreed to and paid for by your manager. For one or two trips? It is very doubtful that will happen. If you don’t have SBI when required and an accident occurs while on Government business, your insurance may just become invalid, as it is likely your personal policy will cover such use.

Further to Article 2.2.4 “ The employer is not responsible for reimbursing deductible amounts related to insurance coverage.”

Assume, however, that such problems are taken care of and off you go on Government business using your own vehicle. Let’s take a look at a theoretical scenario. You leave from home en route to a site in your personal vehicle as agreed to by your employer. You decide to do a small side trip and drop the kids off at school. You are involved in a major accident. Were you on Government business? In your mind you were, but it is highly unlikely that the Government of Canada would agree with you.

Would they therefore defend you in a court case like they would have if driving a Government vehicle within the rules laid down? Not likely. You, dear member, are on your own.

There may be times when you may be asked if you are willing to use your personal vehicle, or may wish to. Be cautious before agreeing to do so and weigh all the consequences very carefully. In fact here is one last consideration, especially for long trips. There is only a fixed kilometric rate which is paid and yet you have to absorb the accumulated mileage, wear and tear, risk of accident and possible repairs on your vehicle. Is the benefit gained worth it? That is your personal choice to make.

Some information on the subject may be found at the National Joint Council web site in the Travel Directive.

Very definitely. There is an extensive bulletin available on the subject from Canada Revenue Agency and can be accessed at:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it63r5/it63r5-e.html 

If you have possession of a Government vehicle where any personal driving may be included, it is important that you review this document concerning any items which may affect you.

An excerpt from this document is reproduced below as it is one of primary importance:

Personal Use

1.5 In addition to what would obviously be considered use of a motor vehicle supplied by an employer that is not in connection with or in the course of the taxpayer's office or employment, i.e., personal use (e.g., vacation trips, personal shopping trips, etc.), such use includes travel between the employee's place of work and home, even though the employee may have to return to work after regular duty hours. An exception occurs, however, where (as required by the employer or with the employer's permission) the employee proceeds directly from home to a point of call other than the employer's place of business to which the employee reports regularly (e.g., to make repairs at customers' premises), or returns home from such a point. These particular trips are not considered to be of a personal nature. Also, where privately owned motor vehicles are prohibited from entering a restricted area where the employment duties are performed, and the distances to be travelled within the restricted area are such that a motor vehicle is necessary, the use and availability of the employer's motor vehicle within the restricted area is not considered to be for personal use.

Employers and employees should keep records on the use of a motor vehicle so that the total kilometres driven in a calendar year by an employee or a person related to the employee may be properly apportioned between business use and personal use.

Furthermore, under the topic of “calculating a standby charge benefit” within the Bulletin, the standby charge represents the benefit an employee enjoys when the automobile is available for personal use. If the employee does not use the automobile for personal driving, there is no taxable benefit, even if the vehicle was available to the employee for the entire year. This applies as long as the employee requires the use the automobile in the course of his/her employment.

In Government operations it is quite possible that the employee may not have the same vehicle in his/her possession continually. Under the topic of “fleet operations” within the same Bulletin, if an automobile is assigned to an employee from a fleet or pool on a long-term or exclusive basis, you have to base the standby charge on the specific automobile in the employee’s possession. If however, the fleet is mostly the same or is considered to belong to a particular group, the standby charge can be based on the average cost of the group from which it was provided. Both the employer (manager) and employee must agree to this.

Note 1: The WSIB is a Provincial Board for Ontario only. All other provinces have similar Boards; however some of their provisions and limitations may vary. 

Note 2: At the time of publishing this issue is still somewhat in dispute and has not been fully addressed. Driving the vehicle is work and therefore the employee should be paid accordingly. Either treated as overtime during such periods or accepted as work when driving during normal working hours. Either way then, there is no question whether the employee is on duty or not. 

A: In reference to note 2 above, we consider the answer as yes and will defend it accordingly. The employee is considered to be “in the course of employment” when required to drive a vehicle to and from work for the purpose of that employment. This also applies to the going to and from work in any other conveyance under the control and supervision of the employer. 

Be advised however that any distinct deviation en route for the purpose of a personal errand will nullify any benefits during that diversion, so be very careful.

Entitlement under the (Ontario) Workplace Safety and Insurance Act - Overnight Accommodation, or the Workers' Compensation Act extends to persons travelling in the course of employment to and from various places. Coverage also extends to accidents occurring in such places as hotels when the employer is paying the worker's expenses. The worker is covered should he suffer injury by accident at any time while in the hotel engaged in reasonable acts such as dining in the restaurant and using washroom facilities. If the worker chooses to dine in a restaurant other than in the hotel, but within a reasonable distance of it, coverage is also extended during this activity. There is no entitlement if the worker is injured while visiting a movie theatre or cocktail lounge or engaging in some other personal activity.

Note 1: It has been determined that an employee is covered while travelling anywhere across Canada, however the provisions for travel outside of Canada were unavailable from our WISB contact.

Note 2: Accidents occurring to employees while in Ontario from other provinces should be covered by their particular Boards. It should be further noted that provisions will vary. As an example it has been determined that there is time limit of only seven (7) days travel allowed by one provincial Board.

The following provides information regarding collision/liability damage waiver (CDW or LDW) insurance coverage when employees travelling on official government business rent cars at locations outside of Canada. The Treasury Board Travel Directive, provision 2.2.2, states that: "Collision damage waiver coverage for the entire period that a vehicle is rented is required. This coverage is included when travelers use a government approved individual designated travel card and shall be reimbursed in circumstances where an individual designated travel card is not used". The provision above implies that CDW insurance coverage is automatically included when the individual travel card (ITC) is used to pay for the rental vehicle. We have been advised by AMEX officials that in certain countries (e.g., Italy, Corsica, Costa Rica, Australia, etc.) legislation is in place prohibiting the application of this type of insurance coverage. In such cases, the insurance must be purchased over the counter at the car rental agency even if the ITC is used to pay for the car rental. Under these circumstances, employees will be reimbursed the additional costs for CDW insurance, based on receipts. Employees, travelling to a location outside Canada and planning on renting a car, should confirm insurance coverage prior to leaving on their trip.

There is a case where one of our members was travelling on government business when the rear window of his parked rental car was smashed and his flight bag was stolen. The damage was promptly reported to the rental company, a police report was filed, and a replacement vehicle was delivered to the member an hour later at his hotel. 

A week after the incident his flight bag was recovered by the police with most of the contents still inside. The few items missing included a digital camera and a very expensive pair of sunglasses.

All in all, the member found himself “out of pocket” for a little over a $1000 worth of personal equipment. His dealings with insurance companies, the rental car agency, his department’s travel benefits group, and the Treasury Board policy people revealed some very interesting facts about his exposure to personal financial risk while on government business…. And we’d like to share those with you: 

  • Current Government Travel policy permits members to claim for CDW/LDW (Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver) insurance charges when they use there own personal credit card for payment of the rental vehicle. However, you must not accept CDW/LDW if you use your Government of Canada American Express Card because the coverage is already provided by the card. 
  • If your rental vehicle is vandalized, stolen, or damaged in an accident using either your personal or government credit card for payment, when you did not elect to take CDW/LDW offered by the rental agency, you must file the claim with the credit card’s insurance agency. The insurance claim to reimburse the rental car company for its loss becomes yours to manage and is treated no differently then if it had been an occurrence involving your own vehicle. The only slight twist is that you are more than likely not dealing with your own insurance In other words, your personal insurance record is impacted because you have filed a claim. In the case of the Government of Canada American Express Card, you would be filing a claim with Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. The impact of your rental claim may well be felt when your personal insurance becomes due for renewal.
    Note: This insurance is not primary in that if some other insurance will cover the loss, then it must be utilized before Royal & Sun Alliance will pay. If your personal vehicle insurance covers you when driving anyone else’s vehicle, then you must claim through them first. 
  • If you take out CDW/LDW insurance protection when you rent the vehicle, the rental car company files the claim for loss or damage for whatever In a quote from an AVIS representative, “if you are renting in the U.S. or Canada, it (LDW) waives your responsibility towards the Avis car completely”. All you are liable for is the rental charges for the vehicle while the insurance claim is handled internally without you getting involved or your record being affected. As one person explained it, “you hand over the keys, point their representative to the smoking datum wrapped around a pole, and ask for a replacement vehicle”
  • Some “gold’ cards provide similar insurance coverage to Amex, but normally if you read the fine print you might find that there are some For example, CIBC Aeroplan Gold does not cover personal effects stolen from a vehicle. So if you do suffer a loss then your only recourse is to file a claim under your own home insurance policy. That normally isn’t a great option since most of us have fair-sized deductibles attached to our policies and, once again, it impacts upon your personal insurance claim record. On the other hand, the Government of Canada American Express Card does provide up to $2000 coverage. Once again, though, it becomes a personal claim with your name tagged to it.
  • Most car rental companies offer Personal Effects Protection (PEP) for a nominal fee of $2/day. This insurance coverage is not to be confused with the acronym PAI, which stands for Personal Accident Insurance. If you elect to take out PEP, current Treasury Board Travel Directives do not permit reimbursement of these charges and a recent TB ruling stated that PEP constituted an “incidental” charge for which we receive a per diem.
  • If you chose to use your own vehicle for government travel be very careful in making sure that you are completely covered. Depending on the circumstances, most of our insurance policies have “riders” dealing with the specific use your 

These few bullets all raise some interesting questions regarding our exposure to personal financial risk while on business. Accordingly, the Canadian Federal Pilots Association has decided to approach the National Joint Council and express some of our concerns. In the meantime, we can only advise you to make sure that you make a deliberate effort to understand the coverage you are being provided and make an informed decision about minimizing your exposure.

In the case of our member, his event resulted in a personal claim having to be filed through the underwriter of his credit card company and the loss of over $1000 of personal effects…’nuff said.

The Quick Reference Guide used when processing travel claims has an error in it that states PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) "sometimes referred to as PEP" is not a claimable expense in that personal accident insurance is to cover "Employees only for sickness, injury, death and not eligible for reimbursement as already covered by 2.1 of Travel Directive" These statements in the guide are incorrect since the term PEP stands for Personal Effects & Property or Personal Effects Protection (depending on the rental company) These terms are industry standard and reflect the type of coverage that is outlined in the rental agreement. PEP provides insurance coverage on anything inside the vehicle like your departmental laptop or your suitcases' contents. The problem that rental car companies make is in their "billing summaries". They frequently list PAI and PEP charges on the same line as PAI/PEP which creates the misunderstanding that they are both types of Personal Accident Insurance.

According to information received from the TC Policy Section, the guide has been updated and corrected accordingly.

Yes, definitely. According to 11.16.2 of the Motor Vehicles Operation Directive you require a first aid kit, which should be provided to you upon request by the Department. The following is reproduced from that Directive:

11.16   First Aid kits
11.16.1  Motor vehicles shall be equipped with First Aid kits in accordance with the requirements of the First Aid Directive.
11.16.2  At the request of the employee, when any authorized government business travel involves the use of a private motor vehicle, the department shall provide a pocket first aid kit as referred to in the First Aid Directive.

 

Leave

It is the opinion of the Association that this will not be done and if attempted would be a contravention of the current contract. It is possible that management may decide sometime in the future to test the waters and actually follow up on a threat to do so. Should such an event occur, file a grievance immediately! 

In previous contracts Overtime - Article 19.04(a) stated that management had the right to schedule compensatory leave, however, under the latest contract this is no longer the case. Most people have pretty good working relationships with their managers and use their compensatory (comp.) leave on an ongoing basis at mutually agreeable times so as to avoid large accumulations at the end of the year and to also avoid having to use it up at inappropriate or busy periods. 

The increased use of comp. leave, largely used as a tool by management to avoid paying for overtime, etc. has resulted in more people ending up with significant accumulations of annual leave at the end of the year. Management asserts that they have the right to schedule annual leave as well, but as indicated above have yet to do it. We have told them clearly that this cannot be done and their authority in this regard is now limited even further as per the changes in Article 19.04(a) of the contract. Our review of Vacation Leave - Article 23 confirms that annual leave is scheduled at the request of the employee and management’s authority is to either approve or deny that request subject to certain conditions. The language of Article 23 does not contemplate the forced scheduling of annual leave on a routine basis by management.

Note: There has been some assertion by management representatives that they have old Public Service Staff Relations Board cases that prove that the employer can schedule employees for leave that they did not request. Our research indicates that there is no history of any manager ever doing this with our group and there are no cases on record concerning our group. The cases that we are aware of were a couple of isolated situations where employees were abusing the intent of annual leave and never took any so that they could request a full payout at the end of the year. The intent of annual leave is to provide annual rest periods for employees, not to provide a means of earning an extra month’s pay every year. The cases cited demonstrated a clear pattern of abuse over time.

Our situation is different in that employees are taking considerable time off during the year (6 to 8 weeks in some cases) as a result of comp. leave and they are caught up in a situation where their work responsibilities will not allow them to take all of their annual leave as well. It can be easily seen that if the workload requires an excess of comp. leave to be accumulated and subsequently forced to be burned off, such individuals will end up in a “Catch 22" situation. Management would be very hard pressed to make any case to justify forced scheduling of annual leave.

 

Call-Back

Article 43.02(b) says: 

43.02 An employee who receives a call to duty or responds to a telephone or data line call on a designated holiday or day of rest or after he or she has completed his or her work for the day, may, at the discretion of the employer, work at the employee’s residence or at another place to which the employer agrees. In such instances, the employee shall be paid the greater of 

  1. compensation at the applicable overtime rate for any time worked, or
  2. compensation equivalent to one (1) hour’s pay at the straight-time rate, which shall apply only for the first time an employee performs work during an eight-hour period, starting when the employee commences the work. 

Of course, if the requirement for the work necessitates that the employee leave their residence and go to another location (their office or other work location) to conduct the work, then the employee is entitled to a minimum overtime compensation equal to four (4) hours at straight time in accordance with Article 43.01. 

However, in situations where the employer agrees/requests that the employee should do the work/response from his/her home; outside of normal scheduled hours of work, then they will be compensated in accordance with Article 43.02. 

During any eight (8) hour period starting when the employee gets the first call/starts work, the employee gets one hour of straight time pay for the first call/period of work, regardless of duration (e.g. five (5) minute phone call). This starts the eight (8) hour clock and the employee then keeps track of the work performed within the eight (8) hours. 

If the time worked in the eight (8) hour period adds up to one (1) hour or more, then the employee would claim the total of the amount of time worked at the applicable overtime (O/T) rate 

Note: Remember that all calculations in our contract are done in half-hour increments, so the minimum O/T would be 0.5 hours and the next possible increment would be 1.0 hours. 1.0 hours of O/T would always be greater than the Art. 43.02(b) rate of one four at straight time. (i.e. 1.0 X 1.5 is more than 1.0 X 1.0) 

Once the eight (8) hours is up, should the employee get another call or be required to check e-mails, or whatever, and stays home to do so as directed by their manager, then the minimum compensation of one (1) hour at straight time applies again and after another eight (8) hours, again. The employee would start tracking the time(s) to see if they do an hour or more of work in the next eight (8) hours. 

This type of situation usually arises when an employee is on Standby, which is different than Call- Back, so as to respond to calls on behalf of the employer and if this is the case, then they would be receiving this compensation over and above/in addition to their standby pay that is covered in Article 44 - Standby. 

The above information is to provide the member with enlightened information in order to provide appropriate compensation to the employee for the unscheduled and unannounced intrusions on one’s home life and to allocate a cost to the employer for contacting/disturbing an employee with a work-related issue during off-duty hours, even if that contact is only a very short duration phone call inquiry.

 

Grievances

Theoretically you can file a grievance on anything, but we must be practical and especially if you are expecting to be represented by your Association, there must be some discernible validity to the complaint and a means of viable resolution. 

Grievances are normally filed against a contravention of the contract and it must be remembered that your contract includes those many other Directives and Provisions common to all the unions, such as the Travel Directive, Dental Plan, etc. 

In many cases a member is aware of a disturbing situation in advance of actually deciding to file a grievance. In such instances where it is apparent that you are experiencing events which may contribute to the presentation of evidence later on, begin immediately to document any and all associated conflicts, whether actual or perceived, noting date(s), time(s) and particulars. With the assistance of your representative, you will be able to extricate that which can and cannot be used in your allegations/defense later on. This step cannot be stressed enough. It applies regardless of whether the complaint has been building over time as referred to above, or is a “one of” event. 

It is not always possible, but it is suggested that a grievance may sometimes be avoided by confronting the offending individual, preferably politely and tactfully. Prior to doing this however, it would be wise to discuss the option with your representative and to also determine whether your representative should accompany you if it is decided to attempt that approach. If the issue can be cleared up amicably without having to go through the grievance process, it can alleviate a lot of possible ill will and stresses between the parties in the future, especially if they have to work together. 

Should you determine that a grievance is necessary, contact your representative as soon as possible to discuss the matter. The purpose of this action is to ensure that all the facts are presented and discussed early in the process, before they begin to fade, become embellished, or are altered involuntarily. It does happen. 

Due to the broad spectrum under which grievances can be filed, your representative may not have an immediate answer in respect to validity, possible solution, or advice and may have to draw others into the matter. Those others would most likely be CFPA representatives with background in that area and/or the National Chairman. Periodically, your representative may have to contact individuals outside the CFPA, such as other unions’ representatives with experience in the field of the complaint, or even Human Resources personnel. If this is necessary, your representative would so with appropriate discretion. 

Your representative will have access to the appropriate grievance forms and will walk you through them should it be determined that there is a need to file. 

From this point forward, you must listen to and work with your representative in order to address the complaint properly. It is important that you do not diminish your credibility by slandering your opponent or causing ill will toward him/her among your colleagues or other staff. Such action will only hurt you in the long run. Regardless of how sensitive or damaging you may think your complaint is to yourself, remain on the high road throughout.

Article 35 of the contract is quite specific concerning grievances and should be reviewed in its entirety. In reference to Article 35.11 especially, there is a definite stipulation concerning the time periods between each level for a response from management. These time periods are not hard and fast however and your representatives often have to “push” for responses when they are surpassed. 

In some cases it is prudent to allow an extension to the time lines at one or more of the levels, however, it must be at the agreement of the party being approached for the extension (usually the union in most cases). 

In some cases the grievance may be against the party who represents the first level of grievance. In instances such as this, the grievance usually would move automatically to the next level unless there is an alternative individual at the first level agreeable to the parties and available with the skills to address the issue. 

The Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) now addresses three (3) different categories of grievances, Individual Grievances, Group Grievances and Policy Grievances. Normally you the member would only be involved in the “Individual Grievance”, which for the most part refers to disputes arising out of the contract and its interpretations, or any matter affecting the terms and conditions of employment, such as disciplinary action, demotion, termination, suspension or financial penalty.

If the issue can be referred to adjudication, which is an additional process after the “final step” is completed within the Department, then that decision would lie with you and the Association. It may be evident that adjudication will not overturn the Department’s decision and the option to move ahead and attempt the process will require serious discussions with your representative(s). If it is determined that taking the case further would be futile, the Association would not proceed as it would be a waste of the members’ resources.

In the event that adjudication is a viable and credible option, the case will be heard through the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) provided it is linked to the contract directly.

In many cases such as grievances against the Dental Plan for instance, such cases are put forward to the National Joint Council (NJC). There is an excellent explanation of the PSLRB process at the following web site: https://www.fpslreb-crtespf.gc.ca/en/index.html Click on Services, followed by Formal Adjudication

There is also an excellent description of the three grievance categories mentioned above there as well under Grievances.

That totally depends upon the seriousness of the case and the need for legal counsel as determined by the National Executive. Lawyers aren’t cheap and cause a heavy drain on Association funds; therefore a definite need is warranted before applying those funds in such an activity. Remember, Association funds belong to all the members, therefore every factor must be weighed carefully against the need and potential outcome for the membership at large before committing them. 

Many members have arbitrarily requested or in some cases demanded a lawyer to represent them in the past and in some cases of extreme nature, it was warranted. The Association success rate however, using its own resources and experienced representatives is extremely good and if the case can be won, we usually do it.

This does not occur often, but it does happen. As both parties are dues-paying members, both are eligible for equal representation by the Association and the Association is responsible to ensure that fairness prevails. 

The process is such that each member will be assigned an Association representative agreeable to the person to which each is assigned. At that point each representative is instructed to defend their “client” to the maximum extent possible. The issue is a grievance which requires resolving and it is not to take the forum of one member against another on any sort of personal level. It is recognized that this is sometimes hard to do between the involved parties, but the representatives must remain aloof of any such involvement for the good of the resolution, the future working relationship of the parties and the Association’s credibility. 

In some cases, the grievance may be filed against a CFPA representative. In such a case, the grievor may feel that other representatives on the local Executive are too close to their colleague and therefore may feel uncomfortable about using local representation. If this is the case, the Association National Executive or Chairman must weigh the seriousness of the grievance and subsequent impacts and decide whether it is viable to bring in a representative from another Region, or possibly have the National Chairman or Labour Relations Officer take the case on personally. Previously, the Association has also brought in outside help in the form of past Chairmen, or outside experts, who have the necessary background and ability to represent the member properly.

Under the PSMA, there are now three (3) categories of grievances which may be filed. Section 208 of the Act talks about Individual Grievances and states:

  1. (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (7), an employee is entitled to present an individual grievance if he or she feels aggrieved
  2. (a) by the interpretation or application, in respect of the employee, of
    1. a provision of a statute or regulation, or of a direction or other instrument made or issued by the employer, that deals with terms and conditions of employment, or
    2. a provision of a collective agreement or an arbitral award; or

(b) as a result of any occurrence or matter affecting his or her terms and conditions of employment. 

Section 215 of the Act refers to Group Grievances and states: 

  1. (1) The bargaining agent for a bargaining unit may present to the employer a group grievance on behalf of employees in the bargaining unit who feel aggrieved by the interpretation or application, common in respect of those employees, of a provision of a collective agreement or an arbitral award. 

And finally Section 220 of the Act is concerned with Policy Grievances and states: 

  1. (1) If the employer and a bargaining agent are bound by an arbitral award or have entered into a collective agreement, either of them may present a policy grievance to the other in respect of the interpretation or application of the collective agreement or arbitral award as it relates to either of them or to the bargaining unit generally. 

Note: There is obviously much more to each of these Sections then the brief presentations above. For a complete review of each in their entirety you may go to the link below and access “The Act Bill C-25”, click to the Contents page and scroll down to Part 2 - Grievances. https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/37-2/bill/C-25/second-reading 

Until recently, you as an individual had to make a decision to stand up and put yourself on the line, or continue working under the stress of whatever it was that offended you. This is no longer necessarily the case. Under the new PSMA legislation, the Association can now protect members in sensitive situations by taking cases forward under the CFPA’s representation provided that it is linked directly to the collective agreement/arbitral award

A caveat has to be noted here however, that in some cases where there are only a few people working in a Section and it is obvious to all that the complaint primarily affects that particular group of members, it still might be highly suspected or evident who the complainant was. 

The Association cannot and should not handle every grievance in this manner. The impact to the individual filing the grievance has to be analyzed and a decision made by either the National Chairman and/or the National Executive in such matters.

 

Travelling Time

Article 20.01 (a) of our collective agreement states that: “On a normal working day on which the employee travels but does not work, the employee shall receive his or her regular pay for the day.” 

Overtime by definition in Article 19 is only available for work. In accordance with Article 20.01 (b), it is only if you work and travel in the same normal working day that you are entitled to additional travel time pay up to twelve (12) hours at the straight-time hourly rate. 

In the example cited above, the total hours for the travel are not specified, but for an employee to have an expectation of claiming extra hours, the hours would have to extend beyond the employee’s normal scheduled working hours. In the case cited above, the interpretation by management is correct. If you only travel and do not do any work, you are only entitled to receive your daily rate of pay. 

A point that all employees should consider is that the maximum travel time the employer can schedule you for without mutual agreement is nine (9) hours. 

Travelling time in a day considered as a minimum of 0.5 hour up to 9 hours. 

In Section 3.3.10 of the Travel Directive, which is part of our collective agreement, it states: 

“Unless mutually agreed otherwise, itineraries shall be arranged to provide for

  1. a suitable rest period, and/or
  2. an overnight stop after travel time of at least nine (9) consecutive hours.

Travel time is the time spent in any mode of transportation en route to destination and/or awaiting immediate connections. This includes the time spent traveling to and from a carrier/terminal. 

A suitable rest period shall not be unreasonably denied.” 

In combination these clauses serve to protect the employee’s normal daily pay for travel of short duration when no work is done that day, and while the employer can schedule an employee to travel beyond his/her normal scheduled hours of work and/or beyond seven and a half (7.5) hours duration, this flexibility is limited to nine (9) hours from the time the employee leaves his/her residence to the time the overnight accommodation is reached. 

It is recommended that the employee ensure that the intended flexibility being exercised by management is restricted to the maximum of nine (9) hours. 

While this may not be the answer the employee would like in this situation, there is likely to be other times where a trip of short duration will show these clauses to be more advantageous to them.

First, this should not be confused with our collective agreement Article 50 - Development Training or Education. That Article relates to employee requested seminars, conferences, etc. and is specific in its application under those circumstances. 

In employer requested situations we have a totally different matter and what often happens is that the manager attempting to minimize budget expenditures, plays on the member’s desire to attend a tantalizing or personally beneficial event. You, however must hold your resolve and refuse, unless all contractual requirements are met. This is done for a number of reasons: 

  1. - If you accede to your manager’s request, you place your colleagues in a tenuous position for future Your acquiescence will be thrown up in their faces with the statement that “Jack/Jill is a player, why aren’t you? 
  2. - What must be realized here is that you are on Government Your manager represents the Government of Canada when requesting you to carry out your duties and you represent the Government of Canada when you perform them. As such you are being paid for the performance of those duties. Travel on behalf of the Government of Canada is a paid for activity. 
  3. - Most important of all is your personal protection! If you accept the stipulations to travel to/from such events without receipt of appropriate remuneration, you are effectively travelling on your own time and therefore in the event of illness, injury or more serious disaster, you may not be fully or properly Think carefully before accepting such propositions from your manager.

According to the decision determined in an earlier NJC grievance, you would be eligible for a dinner allowance. According to the NJC decision the intent of Article 3.3.9 (and although not referenced, Article 3.2.9) the grievor was not treated within the intent of the Directive and therefore was awarded the allowance as being on travel status regardless of the allotted overtime restriction.

 

Delegation of Authority

As far as the actual Delegations of Authority (DofA) go, they are Ministerial Delegations of Authority and as such, the Minister is completely in control to do whatever he sees fit to do. If the Minister decides that certain employees will have certain authorities and others will not, then that is exclusively within his purview to do so. While the employees and their union representatives may have opposing opinions on the optics of such an initiative, or how this change would line up with previous experience and past history, we do not have the authority to dictate to the Minister how, or in what way he should delegate his authority. Ultimately the Minister will be held accountable for the decisions he makes.

Note: The Minister of Transport of course is not versed enough in the day-to-day responsibilities and duties of those over which he exercises control, therefore such changes to Delegations would likely be made only after advisement from Departmental Management. These are the people who are supposed to know.

Basically no, but in theory the position could be reviewed and re-classified to a lower level which would not affect you at the time, but upon your leaving, it would certainly apply to your replacement. 

Currently, Transport Canada is conducting an overall review of DofAs and their realignment of issuance because of recent difficulties and changes to the security system. The CFPA has been assured that there will be no effect on anyone’s classification and/or pay level as a result of this change by the Department. The Association will hold the Department to that assurance and continue to monitor the situations closely.

Don’t bet your career on it! According to the Department of Justice, assistance will be not be provided for actions taken outside those duties for which you have a valid DofA. It is a very interesting situation to ponder that should your “inaction” result in a serious and perhaps calamitous event taking place, where would the Government stand then, not only in the protection it would be responsible to provide for you, but also in its explanation to the Canadian public?

 

Overtime

In Article 18 scheduled hours of work are presented and in that Article it refers to normal scheduled hours of work. Overtime as described in Article 19, commences once a weekly total of thirty-seven and one-half (37 ½) hours of normally scheduled work has been exceeded. One may argue that if you are asked to work outside your normal daily scheduled hours of work you should be paid overtime and in actual fact you will be, as the total at the end of the week will be more than the 37 ½ hours referred to in the contract, provided you accumulate the required hours of duty during that period (i.e. work your scheduled week without other types of leaves, such as unpaid/annual leaves, etc. interfering). 

In the case of days of rest and statutory holidays however, the situation is different and Article 19 becomes more explicit concerning the compensation you deserve. 

Article 22 -Designated Paid Holidays, lists those days which are considered as paid holidays for employees. In the example above Good Friday and Easter Monday are included in that category. 

Note 1: HPS members on Shipboard Duty have different contractual arrangements for covering days of rest and statutory holidays. 

Using the example above you are requested to work each of the four days during the long weekend. The work is not Standby, but actual assigned duties during the entire period. On Good Friday which is the first statutory holiday in this example, you are entitled to time and one-half (1 ½) hours for the first seven and one-half (7 ½) hours worked and double time (2X) for any additional hours worked that day. This is covered under Article 22.05 (first paragraph). 

Note 2: Double time applies to any day in this scenario where the first 7 ½ hours have been exceeded. 

Saturday is your first scheduled day of rest, therefore you are entitled to1 ½ your daily rate of pay, as per Article 19.02 (a)

Sunday is considered as your second consecutive or “contiguous” day of rest and therefore you are entitled to 2X your daily rate of pay, as per Article 19.02 (c). 

Easter Monday is the second statutory holiday in this example and since it is linked to the overtime entitlement from work on the previous day, which was a day of rest, you are entitled to 2X your daily rate of pay as presented in Article 22.05 (second paragraph).

 

Staffing and Staffing Dispute Resolutions (Competitions & Appeals)

According to the Public Service Employment Act, an Open Competition means a competition that is open to persons who are employed in the Public Service as well as to persons who are not employed in the Public Service. 

A Closed Competition means a competition that is open only to persons employed in the Public Service.

The process for disputing the results of a competition is called an Appeal. Whereas a grievance when filed may ultimately be heard by the Public Service Labour Relations Board, an Appeal relates to the field of staffing and falls under the authority of the Public Service Commission (PSC)

If you feel that the competition was unfair to you, then immediately contact your local CFPA representative and present the case as you see it. With the assistance of your representative, it will be determined if there is validity in filing an Appeal.

Not long. Upon publication of the competition results, you will normally have no more than two weeks (10 working days) in order to file. This time period could vary and is normally published along with the results.

Unlike a grievance which has great latitude in its application, an Appeal must relate directly to the content of the Statement of Qualifications (SOQ), or in some cases, the process (which is often difficult to prove). If you are justified in your belief that you were unfairly marked in one or more areas, or specific qualifications were not accurately assessed, possibly resulting in you being screened out or graded at a lower grade, then you have validity to appeal. 

You cannot appeal strictly on perception of bias either in favour of someone else, or against you. For such allegations to be considered, you must have indisputable proof, often impossible to get. As an example, you would have to have a panel member make a derogatory statement to/about you and a witness(es) overhear it.

Appeal, definitely. Most competitions will likely be against your peers, friends and colleagues. What must be remembered by all parties is that the Appeal is not against the winner, but against the system where it is believed that the process was flawed with one or more competitors being assessed incorrectly, thereby affecting the results.

If you feel you were assessed incorrectly, most definitely. If you don’t and the Appeal is not won by the appealing competitor, the original winner stands and the competition is closed. By also appealing, you may win your case, thereby forcing a new competition to be run.

It’s supposed to be! In some noteworthy cases in the past, it was not uncommon for the SOQs to be altered in order to screen out specific candidates and/or ensure that the individual desired acquired the position. Since it now becomes a brand new competition, it is legal to change the SOQ, however, not always a very honourable thing to do.

As stated above there have been cases in the past, but not all competitions are altered. Regardless, you should appeal if justified, otherwise over time the system will deteriorate and eventually no recourse will be given any credibility. Appeals do expose flaws in the competitive process and most managers do not wish to acquire a reputation of unfairness when it comes to their employees.

 

Sick Leave

Our previous Chairman addressed this issue a few years back for exactly the reasons stated above. It was linked with an attempt to look for avenues to “enhance” our departure package, especially in lieu of the fact that most of us never attain a full pension. 

The Treasury Board (TBS) official at the time fully understood the case as presented and was cognizant of perceived abuses across the entire civil service. His response at the time was shocking in that TBS felt that in the long run scheme of things it was cheaper to live with the abuses then to establish a pay-out program for retirees. This was astounding in light of the amount of productivity that must be lost and therefore the cost to the taxpayer over the years. 

Our current Chairman and Bargaining Team also attempted to reach an agreement with the Employer during the last round and were told basically the same thing. It was stated emphatically, that there will never be any such arrangement available now or in the future. Sick Leave is designed for the purposes of covering employees financially when illness strikes and it will not be tampered with in any way.

 

Flying Accidents

Yes. There is a Treasury Board policy titled Flying Accidents Compensation which details by which compensation and be claimed. Access the site at: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/index_e.asp Once there, go to Policies and then to Compensation for Work-related Injury or Death. 

Also, be aware that the CFPA now has a very comprehensible life insurance plan for the members which includes benefits in the event of death while flying. You can receive more information through the CFPA web site.