Hello members, happy new year.
I hope you were all able to spend time with family and friends over the holidays and spend some time for yourselves.

At home and in the workplace, the health and safety of our membership continues to be of utmost importance.

The RCEA, along with PIPSC, is maintaining our biweekly meetings with the NRC Labour Relations and Human Resources. We are working to ensure that members’ concerns and questions are being addressed. The RCEA also continues to meet biweekly with Treasury Board, OCHRO, PSOHP/PHAC and all the bargaining agents to discuss and consult on public service wide concerns.
In late December, Treasury Board and Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) updated guidance in response to the swift moving Omicron variant and its increased transmissibility. TBS recognizes that “no one-size-fits-all approach” is perfect or easy for each government department and these guidelines were recommended for the health and safety of employees and workplaces.

These included

  1. It is recommended that all employees of the core public administration receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so in their jurisdiction.
  2. Departments and agencies should pause any planned increases to building occupancy, review current occupancy levels to ensure physical distancing can be maintained (when operationally feasible) and consider increasing remote work as required. Organizations should maintain the flexibility to adjust further should transmission rates increase, taking into account operational requirements and local public health considerations.
  3. Masks should be worn indoors in all shared spaces, even when physical distancing is maintained.
  4. Departments should avoid non-essential international travel, taking into account travel advisories. Avoid any discretionary large gatherings, such as non-essential training events or conferences.

Also recommended was for employers to remind employees where to find support and services if needed, including:

The Employee Assistance Program
https://www.canada.ca/en/government/publicservice/wellness-inclusion-diversity-public-service/employee-assistance-program.html

Mental health and COVID-19 for public servants
https://www.canada.ca/en/government/publicservice/covid-19/protect-mental-health.html
https://www.canada.ca/en/government/publicservice/wellness-inclusion-diversity-public-service/employee-assistance-program.html

Great news for retired and former RCEA members, who were employed between 2016 and 2020. You are now able to apply for the Phoenix general damages for late implementation of collective agreements during those years. Former members, legal representatives of a former member or estate of a deceased member are eligible. The maximum would be $2500; the breakdown being $1000 for 2016-2017, $500 for 2017-2018, $500 for 2018-2019 and $500 for 2019-2020.  Please be reminded that all of these amounts are subject to all tax and related deductions. To be eligible a member must have been on strength for at least one day in the applicable fiscal year, had your pay through the Phoenix pay system and been an RCEA member.

To find more information and the link to the forms please refer to:
https://rcea.ca/2021/12/17/phoenix-general-damages-now-open-to-retired-and-former-rcea-members/

If you have any concerns or questions on this or any other issue, please contact your union office at office@rcea.ca

Stay well,