Report: 2016 Interregional Conference

Interregional Conference June 16-19, 2016

Clarkson, Bob and I attended the interregional conference held this past June. The main concepts discussed in this conference were operational requirements, social media training and mini advanced local officer training.

Operational requirements are sited almost daily in the Call Centre environment. Everyday decisions are made for the members using this concept. At 55 Bay St. N. members are affected too, based on their workload. There are principles to operational requirements and I will share some of these principles that the PSAC has outlined.

PSAC “Operational Requirements” some principles

  1. Operational requirements must be based on the work itself to be performed, not on administrative or economic criteria
  2. Consideration of overtime costs are not proper concerns in determining whether or not operational requirements exist.
  3. Operational requirements are a question of fact to be determined in each case.
  4. The onus of demonstrating that operational requirements do not permit the granting of leave for any purpose specified in a collective agreement rest with the employer.

The reasons are twofold:

Knowledge of operating requirements is in the hands of the employer.

More importantly, the employer has undertaken an obligation, the release from which is contemplated only in special circumstances. To not impose the onus on the employer to establish the exceptions to the right granted under the relevant provision of the collective agreement could undermine its intent.

  1. It has been held that the employer must consider the real alternatives available regarding the use of other staff: it has also been mentioned that the employ’s refusal to consider the use of other staff did not mean that the denial of leave was unreasonable.
  2. The employer must organize its operations and the service so that employees can exercise their rights under the collective agreement. The employer cannot hide behind staff shortages and operational demands such as training. These are not acceptable excuses to relieve that employer of its obligations.
  3. There may be unusual operational requirements of a temporary nature when an employer may block out periods of time in which leave will not be granted because of anticipated needs (i.e., new plants, increase  in cross border traffic). When the employer plans the operations and clearly knows its operational requirements, it has been held the employer can rightly refuse a request, for example, compensatory leave.

References available upon request, all pulled from case law.


Our collective agreement references operational requirements. The main concept that I would like to highlight is the onus is on the employer to provide adequate definition of Operational Requirements. The employer has the knowledge of operational requirement which is in their hands. Remember operational requirements are a question of fact, not fiction!

Sebastien Bezeau a Political Communications Officer from the Atlantic Region gave a presentation on social media. He explained some basic concepts on how each social media works and how to present your union on social media. He reviewed Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, You Tube, Dropbox, Flicker, etc. It was interesting, comprehensive look at various media. He explained how to get the most for your union by effectively using social media. We looked at social media to reach be active with and engage your membership. It was a productive presentation on the power of social media.

The mini local executive training was good review for me. They had the participants divide up into groups based on their position on their local executive. We focused on our own responsibilities to the local reviewing key objects. As representatives for our local we need to grow and work together to improve the workplace for the membership and to uphold the collective agreement.

At the conferences we learn, debate and discuss what is happening in our local and to find out what is happening in other locals. These conversations are always valuable and I am happy to say I use everything I learn and apply to our own local 00014.

In solidarity,

Gina Degner

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