Message from IRCC NVP candidate Cathy Morneau:
I would like to take some of your precious time to introduce myself. The resume that I submitted with my nomination for NVP Ircc was only 150 words and obviously that is not long enough for me to express who I am and what my goals are.
I am from Montreal, bilingual and have been an employee at CIC (IRCC) for over 13 years. I started out as a call center agent in Montreal for three years. This has given me the insight as to what it is like to be an employee stuck on the phone; unable to socialize, abnormal work hours without the possibility of changing them, being afraid of losing your job because you are late once in your career, weekly coaching, inflexible break time, etc.
I worked very hard to obtain my current position and I am a very proud Immigration and Citizenship officer. I have worked at various units within the Immigration Department. I have worked with citizenship, refugee claimants, Humanitarian and Compassionate files, Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, temporary resident permits, as well as the landing unit. I have also dealt with fraud cases as well as the more complex (REC). I also had the opportunity to have a temporary duty assignment in Africa where I dealt with the refugee selection process.
Change in IRCC is the key word. I’ve always said: “If I throw you one ball, chances are, you will catch it. But sending 15 balls at a time it is not easy to catch them all! “ That’s their strategy and it’s been working for too long! While CPC Vegreville is going though a difficult time, IRCC is doing a re-structure and refusing to go back to the table with the regional committee. I have strongly opposed this and will continue to do so, regardless of my elected position.
Some small anecdotes:
I was elected as NVP for woman’s issue for Quebec in 2014. With my 3-week-old baby in hand, I was sworn in. Despite my maternity leave, I asked the NBOD to allow me to continue to participate in union affairs, which was authorized under the by-laws. I remained involved as union leader during that time although my two substitutes were of great support. I returned to work in October 2015. I set up an activity for Violence Against Women in the Workplace, with paid leave to discuss Aboriginal women’s issues. These activities are very appreciated by the members however they have never been set up at IRCC.
I have tried to implement these same events for IRCC, however there is no collaboration from my employer. So last December I set up an activity involving a guest speaker in Montreal with simultaneous video conference in the 30 offices of Service Canada in Quebec, with the help of departmental technicians. I was able to convince the local management of IRCC to release 5 employees to participate, however it was leave without pay. I then met Louis Dumas (who is this??), who was impressed by the scale of the activity and the high level of participation. He believed in the merits of the activity and challenged me to do the next one with him and for IRCC for across Canada. An agreement was reached whereas the employees were able to participate in the activity on the employers time.
IRCC: my department! My colleagues! Me !:
From the beginning of my mandate I have demonstrated my determination that IRCC be recognized as an important participant in CEIU. My observation is that we need to strengthen our presence. Right from the beginning of my mandate, my desire to defend the rights of IRCC’s employees was prominent.
The Co-Chair of the Eastern Regional Union Management Consultation Committee for IRCC, Teresa MacInnnis suggested that I become the new Co-Chair of the committee. It was in agreement and I took on this added responsibility.
I have been a deputy trustee since March 2015. It was determined by the Trustee that I would be responsible for status of women in Quebec, as well as the NCR, Ontario and the Atlantic. I was also tasked with the responsibilities of the regional portfolio for Quebec. I am also member of the Ircc national committee, therefore I am on the majority of the meetings concerning IRCC, at the request of the trustee or the VPN. I have been a member of the national committees since August 2016 and I am an observer on the health and safety committee. I am confident that despite my recent involvement I am able to present our demands in a clear and concise manner.
I was unfortunately unable to be present at the announcement of the move of the CPC in Vegreville. Even though the department states that this is a move, I consider it a closure! I want to let you know that I would have liked to be there and to have challenged them on this decision as I believe this decision is unjustified, unacceptable and demonstrates that the members issues and concerns were never considered or addressed. The expertise of the employees, the quality of life nor their mental health was part of their decision making. If elected, I will continue to work with the union and those that are affected in reversing this decision!
For our members:
Last November I had an idea to express my dismay at the situation that was emerging: The holidays and people with payroll problems. I asked them to plan an emergency team to respond when the payroll is filed and that everyone is on leave. That pay stubs be available before Monday 26 and ensure that EAP is available.
I drew sketches of a poster for Christmas, a Christmas tree that caught fire with a poor child and a small letter to Santa Claus asking that Santa Claus stop the phoenix problems. I presented this campaign project to the afpc who was delighted. I then presented this to the National Executive to which they voted for unanimously to use this campaign! It was one of the first campaigns created by CEIU! Not only is it effective, but it was completed in a timely manner and at a low cost. This campaign has been a success!! I am convinced that we can do more, we are one of the strongest components! (available on Psac website)
On the table, with the employer:
Last September, I made a proposal to the national committee to create a committee on Phoenix to work together, to be more proactive and to improve the way our members work. On several occasions I handed Phoenix to the table and constantly do my duty to advocate, not only with the employer, journalists, but also with the Afpc to do more. I made front page newspapers in Quebec and radio media last December.
My last battles are the following, besides those of the members who do not get away with it.
– Requests managers to provide employees’ daylists and status so that we can collect information for members who are no longer paying dues (Phoenix)
– Time paid for members of the Local to collect this information
– Release time for
-Comptable paid for anyone who has experienced payroll problems (Not only for the initial application but for any changes that will be made following Q4 errors)
– Local access of managers for final approval and modification of some cases problematic
-Line direct for our managers with people who solve problems not taking messages
– Recognition of union members to absorb people’s anger
– Better service for our members and faster resolutions.
My vision for IRCC:
– Putting people first, whether in our union relations or with management;
-Working collaboratively and in cohesion with my colleagues
– Create a network which will enable us to be close to the members and their needs
– Ensure locals have a voice through their NVP
– Establish, in consultation with the employer, a firm timetable for local, regional and national committees and share it with all;
– Get back to consultation with the leaders of IRCC
– Negotiating the presence of social workers in the workplace
– Re-engage the members
– Education, training, networking
– Continue to pressure the employer to allow more telecommuting opportunities
– More transparency and consultation for acting appointments.
– Helping our members to understand the demands for accommodation, discrimination and harassment
-Create a climate of confidence and teamwork within the CEIU
Who am I and why do I?
” I do not know if it’s me that’s attracting all the complex cases to me, or if others just do not see it, but I still have this kind of challenge coming to me and it allows me to Realize me even more! ”
I believe my colleagues recognize my desire to make a difference for the better. I, too, have my doubts and doubts about the continuation of my commitment. Over time I realized that these are often external elements or events that put me in doubt. My convictions, my values and my desire to make things happen are stronger often are right about my doubts. But when it comes in the evening, I make my balance and I reiterate my commitment … and as long as I can justify what I commit myself and like many of you, I leave behind me In order to make fights that are not always obvious.
Beyond the trade unionist I am, there is a woman who does what she does despite all the criticisms and challenges that come from her entourage. I am a “by the book person” but always flexible. I have a vision and I know why I do what I do … I want to remind ourselves that we are human, we have our limits and we have to take care of ourselves to take care of others.