An Update on Work Force Adjustment at DOJ :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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June 1st, 2012
June 1st, 2012

An Update on Work Force Adjustment at DOJ

On April 30, 2012 the AJC issued a communique in reaction to the 2012 Budget Cuts at DOJ and committed to help its affected members by, among other things, pressing DOJ for more information in order to help members make informed choices.
In its pursuit for timely and useful information in addition to emphasizing the importance of compliance with the department's notice and consultation obligations under the Workforce Adjustment Directive (WFAD), the AJC has taken the following steps:

    - Marco Mendicino, then president, issued 2 letters:  one on April 28, 2012 that was referenced in the April 30 communique and another letter dated May 17, 2012 imploring management for a response.  
    - In mid-May, NCR Governing Council Representatives Ed Bumburs, Francis Descoteaux and Douglas Faulkner held 3 information sessions for affected members.  Mr. Mendicino and Ms. Blais each attended one session.  More sessions may be held for those affected members who did not receive an invitation.
    - On May 18, 2012, the AJC filed an access to information request.
    - Lisa Blais, picked up from where Mr. Mendicino left off, and wrote Mr. Joel Oliver, the Acting Assistant Deputy Minister on May 22 requesting a response and expressing concerns regarding a June 1 deadline that has been imposed on affected members in the aboriginal affairs unit to voluntarily leave the department and misinformation being provided to affected members at DOJ information sessions.
    - On May 29, 2012, in the course of the NLMCC meeting, the AJC proposed more frequent WFA committee meetings to be held on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to be attended by principals or their alternates as required to ensure the flow of information.  The AJC also requested that the June 1 deadline referred to above be reconsidered to ensure that member may make informed decisions regarding their future.
    - On May 30, 2012, Ms. Blais reminded Mr. Oliver of the need for a response to her May 22 letter.  
    - On June 1, 2012, the AJC filed a policy grievance with Treasury Board in connection with DOJ's failure to consult the AJC and provide proper notification under the WFAD.
    - The AJC has been collecting and continues to track reports from members in order to hold the department accountable.

While we are undoubtedly dismayed by the length of time that has elapsed from the date of our initial requests for information, we can finally report that we have more information regarding the Priority Placement Unit (PPU) and the function of the new Workforce Management Board (WMB).  We are advised by management that the WMB is intended to replace what was previously known as the Oversight Committee.   Terms of reference for the WMB are currently in the development stage.  Details can be found in the attached response from Mr. Oliver and note that we have taken the liberty of translating his response for the benefit of all our members.

While Mr. Oliver's reply raises some serious concerns regarding the department's ability to determine the projected cost-savings relating to the reduction of the workforce for example, his response does provide greater clarity regarding the functioning of the PPU which is intended to complement the current Public Service Commission priority administration process.

In addition to the extra details regarding PPU and WMB, the AJC acquired the following information that affected members may have already received.

    - On May 14, 2012, the AJC received copies of the selection criteria to be used in the Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio and an Employee Guide on WFA that was developed by DOJ without consultation with bargaining agents.
    - On May 15, 2012 affected members were advised that they have until June 1, 2012 to volunteer to be declared surplus if they choose not to go through the SERLO process and leave with a Transition Support Measure (TSM) or TSM with Education Allowance.
    - On May 22, 2012, the AJC received copies of the selection criteria to be used in the Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio, more particularly the Environment Canada Legal Services Unit.
    - The AJC Affected members are being invited by DOJ to sign consent forms to facilitate the search for other employment opportunities within DOJ using the PPU.
    - On May 29, 2012, the DOJ indicated during the NLMCC meeting that decisions on selection should be finalized by the end of June for Bijural Units and the Aboriginal Affairs.
    - Late on May 31, 2012, Mr. Oliver provided us with a response confirming that LAs in the Aboriginal affairs unit now have until June 11, 2012 to volunteer to leave the department.

In the meantime, we will continue to press the department for more information regarding among other things:

    - the selection criteria to be used in the bijural sections and other affected units to the extent these have not yet been disclosed or finalized;
    - a copy of the employer guide on WFA that DOJ appears to have distributed to our members;
    - attend the next WFA Committee meeting on June 19, 2012

The AJC will also be working on a separate communique informing unaffected members who wish to leave the federal public service early of the alternation option.  Please stay tuned.

Rest assured that the AJC is doing what it can to impress the importance of transparency and integrity in the WFA process.  After all, as professionals, we expect professionalism.

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