December 23rd 2021
The National office will be closed Dec. 24th at noon until January 4th, 2022, this is my last opportunity to share my reflections of 2021. How do we summarize 2021?
It was an extremely challenging year for union representatives, members working in the post offices, and the communities at large to adapt to the new protocols being put in place and to adjust to pandemic life. We spent a lot of time and effort trying to protect all our members and consulting with Canada Post about getting more supplies in the offices and of course the vaccine mandate. Initially when Canada Post offered mandatory twice weekly rapid testing as an alternative to COVID 19 vaccinations, we agreed. However, when Canada Post got pressure from the Government and changed their practice by withdrawing the rapid testing option, we requested an extension to the implementation date to after the New Year, so there would be more time to prepare for staffing the post offices. When the Corporation declined both, we filed a national grievance and our grievance requested the initial option of offering rapid testing, so our members would not be put on LWOP. Our grievance was denied, and our next step is to go to arbitration.
Some of you inquired about whether Canada Post would be supplying N95 masks since they are now recommended by Doctor Tam. Their response was “the Public Health Agency of Canada PHAC has not changed their standard. We are maintaining our current standard which meets PHAC requirements. We will not be providing N 95s”. For those few CPAA members that are on High-Risk leave their approved leave will end sometime in February.
We also spent a lot of time on the Pay Equity file. Canada Post had staffing issues during this process and validating over 5,000 applications, proved to be a lot harder then initially thought. I am happy to report we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel. December 23, 2021, an additional 719 payments went out and an additional 685 + payments will go out the first pay period in January. There are roughly 1100 outstanding files to be completed and processed for payment. We are hopeful that all payments will be issued early in 2022.
From the National Officers and staff here at Queen Mary, we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with peace and joy. Thank you for all your dedication and the work you have done in 2021 to keep your communities thriving. Rural Post Offices are the hub and heart of the communities. We look forward to working with you all in 2022.
Urgent Update To All CPAA Members:
November 27th 2021
We learned Friday November 26th that in one region of the country a directive was issued to all Local Area Managers and Local Area Superintendent instructing them to have CPAA members prevent entrance and distribute letters to other CPAA members and RSMC’s who have not complied to the mandatory vaccination practice. This is contrary to assurances the Corporation had earlier given to the national executives of the Association.
CPAA absolutely reject the notion that our members will be placed in such a position. The Corporation has been put on notice that for each workplace where our members are asked to distribute letters or prevent an employee from accessing the workplace and where the Association becomes aware of the practice, we will file grievances. CPAA members instructed to distribute the letters should not put themselves in situation of insubordination. We recommend that you comply with the directive, inform the Manager or Superintendent that you are complying under duress and report the occurrence to your CPAA representative without delay so that grievances can be filed.
Mandatory Vaccine Practice Update
November 10th 2021
There is no disputing that the Canada Post vaccination practice is a polarizing issue, and we continue to hear from our members from all sides of this issue.
In an earlier message posted on our web site, we shared the legal opinion we received on the practice versus the collective agreement, the Canadian Human Rights Code, and the laws on protecting confidential personal information. Based on this advice, it is our view that filing a grievance against the practice will not succeed. We can however file grievance against the employer on how the practice is implemented.
On November 9, 2021, CPAA filed a national grievance against the Corporation for the employer’s refusal to delay the implementation of the vaccination practice, as well as refusing to allow rapid testing for employees who refuse to get vaccinated. Under the terms of the collective agreement, the employer would normally have until December 15th to reply to the grievance. However, since the start of the pandemic, the parties have mutually agreed to extend those deadlines which means that Canada Post has until January 20th to reply.
Also on November 9th, the Association formally put the employer on notice that for each post office the Corporation closes because of the implementation of the vaccination practice, we will file grievances.
Advance copy – COVID note from CPAA National Office, appearing in the November Canadian Postmaster
November 8th 2021
The demands of COVID-19 have put all of us to the test. The questions it has raised for the Association are among the most difficult and troubling we have ever faced.
You will see an insert this month from the Association’s legal counsel that describes some of the implications of the vaccine policy introduced by the Corporation. The insert speaks about the balancing act that CPAA has had to do in protecting the rights of all its members.
We have had to make sure that people are able to work in a safe environment. That’s particularly hard in our small offices. We have had to respond to people who were unable to comply with the Corporation’s requests, and to find solutions. Now we have the vaccine mandate.
There are people who are legitimately unable to be vaccinated, usually for medical reasons. We are continuing to make sure those people can be accommodated to the extent possible.
There are also people who have said they are fearful of the vaccine and are unable to bring themselves to get the shot. We are working with the Corporation to see if there are measures that might be available: for example, a delay for the requirements in some individual situations.
We also face the reality that there are many members who have been vaccinated and want to minimize the risk of catching COVID, or a severe case of COVID. They don’t want to expose a vulnerable family member, or a child who is not yet able to be vaccinated, to the disease. That is a perfectly understandable and legitimate concern.
We are speaking with Canada Post regularly to find the greatest range of options to try to satisfy those legitimate concerns on both sides of this issue. It is not easy, and the consequences, no matter where the balance ends up, can be severe for someone who feels their interests were not protected. We did request an extension until February 2022 from Canada Post, so our members could have more time to adjust and make alternate arrangements. Canada Post stated that they have to follow the Minister’s orders and cannot change the timelines. A possible National grievance for members being put on Leave Without Pay as of November 26, 2021, is under consideration.
We will not back away from these issues. We will get the best information we can, and make sure Canada Post makes its decision based on the science, not just a directive from the government. In the end, no matter what we do, some will be disappointed. Some will be angry. That troubles us, but we have a responsibility to make the best decisions we can for the good of each member and for the good of the membership as a whole. Balancing acts are always less fun to perform than they are to watch. We will continue to work to make sure that the balance is the best possible.
Mandatory Vaccine Practice Update
November 2nd 2021
We have had several inquiries regarding the Mandatory Vaccination Practice that was imposed on all federal workers by the federal government. Since we work for a Crown Corporation this practice will apply nationally to all Canada Post employees, contractors, and visitors to Canada Post facilities, this excludes customers. For your convenience we broke down this practice in easy-to-read statements.
- Members will have to “attest” their vaccination status between October 29 and November 12, 2021.
- Between November 12 and November 26, CPC will follow up with members who have not provided their vaccination status, to remind them that it is required to work. After November 26, members who refuse to comply will be deemed unwilling and be placed on Leave Without Pay.
- Members who are fully vaccinated will continue to report to work as usual.
- Members attesting as partially vaccinated or as intending to become fully vaccinated, must be fully vaccinated by January 29, 2022. These members will continue to work, but will be required to perform rapid testing prior to entering the workplace twice a week until they are fully vaccinated.
- Those who attest as unable to be vaccinated* will have to provide relevant information to CPC that meet any of the prohibited grounds of the Canadian Human Rights Act, so their accommodation requests can be evaluated. Throughout this accommodation process your Union representation will ensure your rights are protected.
- Those who attest as unwilling to be vaccinated, or considered as such under the practice, will be placed on Leave Without Pay. The ramifications of being on Leave Without Pay can be found on the Canada Post Question and Frequently Asked Questions document we have re-posted on this website.
- Rapid testing will not be available for members who are unwilling to be vaccinated.
*We have also reached out to our legal counsel for an opinion on the Mandatory Vaccination Practice, which you will find attached to this document. This opinion will also be printed in our next magazine that will be going out at the end of November. CPAA will continue to defend your rights and ensure your workplaces are safe.
Vaccine Practice Update
October 28th 2021
Canada Post has finalized their Mandatory Vaccination Practice. If you go to the “What’s New” header on this website, click on “Covid-19 Pandemic”, you will find the Mandatory Vaccination Practice along with the Questions and Answers document from Canada Post.
If there are any other further updates on this Practice, we will be sure to inform you.
Pay Equity Updates
October 28th 2021
CPAA realizes a lot of you have been patiently waiting for your pay equity settlements. To bring you up to date:
We have been told that there is at least 1600 eligible applicants who have not returned their Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA). Without this signed returned agreement from you, Canada Post is not able to issue your payment, as per the signed agreement. For those of you who have sent back your signed NDA’s, the hold up for getting payment issued has been staffing issues at Canada Post. With over 5,000 eligible applicants this has clearly been a challenge. We continue to meet with Canada Post, to inform them of your frustration with not receiving your payments more timely.
If you have not signed your NDA because you have proof to challenge the amount, please send it to the pay equity team as soon as possible or email. You can also call Accesshr 1 877 807-9090 and wait for the prompt to press # 3
Please continue to email your questions and concerns to CPAAequity.equiteACMPA@canadapost.postescanada.ca
CPAA members have been more than patient with the many delays while we wait for pay equity money. The Corporation is now mailing successful claimants an agreement (NDA) to not disclose the amount of the settlement and following receipt of that signed agreement, it should take around 8 weeks for the cheque.
A mailing was sent to eligible applicants during the week of May 17, 2021. It contained each applicant’s work history during the period from September 1, 1992 to March 31, 1997, and a non-disclosure agreement. Applicants were asked to sign and return the non-disclosure agreement by June 4, 2021. Due to production delays in issuing the mailing, documents will be accepted after the deadline, though these payments may be delayed.
Please continue to email your questions and concerns to CPAAequity.equiteACMPA@canadapost.postescanada.ca
Letter to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, on December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women
On the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, I am writing on behalf of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association to request concrete support for rural Canadian women, who comprise 95% of our membership.
Women’s shelters everywhere are feeling the pressure of the pandemic, especially in rural parts of the country. ln September of this year, a report from Women’s Shelters Canada pointed to a lack of funding and resources for women and their children fleeing abusive relationships, particularly in rural, remote, and Northern areas.
A disproportionate number of women seeking shelter from abuse in rural Canada are lndigenous. According to Statistics Canada, in April 2018, around 20% of women and children in non-lndigenous shelters identified as First Nations, M6tis or lnuit, compared to an overall population count of 4% of Canadian women (age 18 and older) and 8% of children as a whole.
Just a few days ago, on November 25th, Women’s Shelters Canada confirmed that rising rates of abuse are emerging from pandemic conditions, with isolation and COVID restrictions being used by abusers to control, silence and confine women’ The organization stated that “The demands on shelters – in terms of capacity and in dealing with more severe cases of abuse – have only increased as the pandemic continues.”
As Postmasters and Assistants who live and work in over three thousand rural communities, we are constantly looking out for our neighbours and their families. We are deeply concerned with the lack of funding and resources for emergency and second stage shelters, as well as the distances that rural women must travel to access them. Canada can and must do better for our rural families.
ln both your capacities as Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and as Minister for Rural Economic Development, our Association urges you to work with organizations such as Women’s Shelters Canada to increase funding and resources for women’s shelters in rural, remote, Northern and lndigenous communities.
We would like to renew our request for a meeting with you and look forward to hearing from you.
National President, The Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association
National President’s Message
The following is an edited version of the report delivered by the National President at CPAA’s Annual Meeting in October. For a full copy of this report, please contact the National Office.
This year has certainly been one for the history books and has presented many challenges for our members and for the Association as we, along with the rest of the world, faced the COVID-19 pandemic which has to date taken the lives of over ten thousand Canadians and more than a million people worldwide. This global pandemic demonstrates the importance of public services such as health care and postal service to our communities. We can only hope that this will be remembered for many years to come.
From the very beginning, the government stated that post offices were part of Canada’s pandemic plan response so our members remained as frontline workers on the job while others were staying home. The pandemic meant that online ordering skyrocketed, and our members are still struggling to cope with ongoing Christmas-level volumes of parcels.
During the first days and weeks of responding to the pandemic hitting our country, the situation was changing by the hour, creating a great deal of uncertainty and confusion. CPAA Officers were in constant communication with Canada Post, both at the National and Branch levels. We continually pressed management on the urgent need for safety and protective equipment. Our offices, and communications platforms were flooded with questions, comments, and concerns from our members. We kept track of everything coming in and made sure our members’ concerns and demands were raised with management. We sent out information about special leave and quarantine leave, the relevant Health and Safety legislation, and Public Health directives.
The Association continued to demand Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while remaining cognizant of the fact that sorely needed medical supplies and protective equipment stocks were depleted the world over and were being reserved for frontline health care workers. By the end of March, Canada Post had begun to ship out gloves, sanitizing lotion, barriers and then face masks to our post offices. Some members found the PVC barriers were flimsy and overall, the lengthy wait for this protective equipment created a great deal of stress.
While our members were waiting for this equipment, they devised their own creative and memorable ways to try to keep safe. We are grateful to all our members who shared their stories and photos with us and with each other to keep our spirits up. I continue to have weekly calls with Canada Post and all the union leaders to discuss all COVID related issues in our post offices. This has proved to be very helpful with resolving issues quickly.
At the National Office, Officers and staff at first worked from home, except for myself and Sylvie, the Office Manager. Since we are an Ontario
workplace, in July, it was deemed by the government safe to bring everyone back into the office. I must say it was nice to see the whole team again. It certainly has been a steep learning curve for everybody to conduct our meetings virtually via online platforms such as Zoom. However, the
teleconferences and online meetings have been quite successful to date. We have also saved our Association a great deal of money that would
otherwise have been spent on travel.
We all know that meeting online is not the same as meeting in person for some events. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to postpone our Just For You educational sessions. We hope to be able to deliver those in 2021. Similarly, we have had to pause our election process for Health and Safety representatives. The pandemic is far from over and we are facing a resurgence of cases heading into the colder months. I hope we can continue to stay safe and look out for each other. As a Union, that is our job.