On Wednesday, August 24th, National President David Neufeld, alongside USJE Regional Vice-President Heather McKinnon, visited the Public Prosecution Service of Canada office in Winnipeg. The visit provided an opportunity for all USJE members at the PPSC office to meet with their Regional Vice-President, the National President for USJE and Local President, Angie Sheard.
High on the agenda of the general meeting was USJE’s ongoing campaign to protect hybrid working environments. It is evident that the ability to work from home for members who can conduct their duties offsite is a top priority for many at PPSC. Many members expressed their satisfaction with the hybrid work environment that has been supported and maintained by local management.
President Neufeld also shared details concerning USJE’s Presumptive Injury Campaign. Members were informed that USJE wishes to see changes to the current federal legislation regarding Workers Compensation coverage and easier access to mental health support. Members confirmed that they are regularly exposed to explicit files that can have a negative impact on their mental health. Many members called for better mental health supports to help them deal with vicarious trauma they experience in the workplace.
Members were clear that most of their workplace challenges stemmed from staffing shortages and the consequential struggles with an increased workload. Necessary improvements to in-site trainings were also discussed along with the need for a better onboarding process for new employees.
Members also spoke about a need to build a more respectful workplace and hoped for improved communication with front line staff regarding internal changes, training and work assignment.
These issues were subsequently addressed by President Neufeld, RVP McKinnon and Local President Sheard during a debriefing with Chief General Prosecutor Michael Foote and General Counsel Erin Magas. Mr. Foote and Ms. Magas were very open to hearing the concerns of USJE representatives and curious to learn what challenges were identified by front line members about the workplace.
President Neufeld and RVP McKinnon were pleased to learn that local management is already working on plans to improve workflows in the office and are committed to supporting a hybrid work environment. It was also announced that the vacant positions mentioned by members earlier in the day have now mostly been filled. Furthermore, there is a willingness to follow up on training provided to newer employees to ensure that they are comfortable in completing their regular duties. Concerning a respectful workplace, both Mr. Foote and Ms. Magas agreed that all employees are to be treated fairly and equally and that the workplace should foster harmonious relationships in the workforce.