Following months of hard work and consultation, our Parks Canada team presented a package of proposals that reflects the urgent need for improved working conditions for our members across the country.
In response, the employer tabled a package of demands full of concessions to workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for more than two years.
Unfortunately, the government doesn’t seem to recognize what the public already knows – that access to national parks, hiking trails, waterways, and historic sites have been vital to Canadians’ physical and mental health during these extremely challenging times. It’s long past time Parks Canada members are fairly compensated for the work we do.
Some of our priorities for this round include:
Our bargaining team continues to fight for stable jobs. Despite the importance of our work on behalf of Canadians, more than half of all Parks Canada workers are on seasonal or term contracts.
- Contracts must include term conversion provisions and the same opportunities to become indeterminate workers as other federal workers.
- New or existing workers who have been trained must have the opportunity to access work before it is contracted out by the employer.
- PSAC must be consulted before decisions are made to consider contracting out current and future work.
- Temporary staffing measures must be subject to review by PSAC on an annual basis.
Parks representation on the National Joint Council and the Joint Learning Program
The National Joint Council (NJC) is a space where public service bargaining agents and government employers can share information. Becoming a member would allow Parks Canada members to take part in important discussions such as isolated posts, government housing, travel, and relocation.
The Joint Learning Program (JLP) provides valuable workshops on mental health, violence and harassment, employment equity and a host of other topics to federal public service workers. Participation in both would give Parks Canada members the same opportunities as members in other PSAC bargaining units and the core public administration.
Better support for park wardens
Though they face considerable challenges on the job, park warden working conditions are not in line with those of other federal law enforcement workers. The new collective agreement must:
- Support park wardens’ mental health in the workplace by providing peer support and a mental health training program to all park wardens.
- Provide park wardens with the option to retire after 25 years of cumulative service without penalty.
PSAC believes that workplaces should support good mental health. Being involved or witnessing a traumatic incident can cause severe stress and potential mental health issues. Due to the nature of their work, many Parks Canada employees have such experiences. The Agency must establish critical incident debriefing for high-stress or traumatic events to be available within 24 hours of an incident by request of workers or their immediate supervisors.
Equity in the workplace
Leave provisions must be expanded to include leave for Indigenous cultural practices and provide an Indigenous languages allowance. Call to Action 57 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the responsibility of all federal departments to provide training on the history of Indigenous peoples, including treaty and cultural rights—must be also be implemented.
Work-life balance and leave provisions
Leave provisions are crucial to work-life balance. The lack of job-protected leave has greater negative impacts on women, pregnant employees, caregivers, and people with disabilities. Flexible working arrangements, including the right to disconnect after work hours, must be standard for workers whether they are in the field or working remotely.
- Remote work arrangements must be voluntary for all workers, and employees must also have the right to grieve remote work requests that are denied.
- Employees should not be required to provide a medical note for sick leave that is less than five days.
- Broaden medical leave provisions for pregnancy and chronic medical conditions.
Our bargaining team is scheduling more bargaining dates with Parks Canada.
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