The USGE has been actively working with Correctional Services Canada (CSC) to create a work description that is truly reflective of the duties, responsibilities and working conditions of Parole Officers. In addition, the USGE and PSAC are actively working towards a new Classification Standard to replace the current 40 year old Standard that takes into consideration the uniqueness of Parole Officers within Corrections. The following is a recap on progress in these areas.
CSC DECISION ON PAROLE OFFICER WORK DESCRIPTION
The Office of the Assistant Commissioner Correctional Operations Programs at CSC published a memorandum regarding the review of the Parole Officer work description. The memorandum announced that one work description, with an effective date of March 13, 2007, reflective of the duties of both a Parole Officer within the Community and within the Institution was created. The memorandum also indicated that the classification level assigned to that position would be at the current WP-04 group and level.
The current WP Classification Standard is 40 years old and not reflective of the unique duties performed by Parole Officers. This fact makes it difficult to give credit for those duties when they are not an integral part of the Benchmarks.
What is CSC and the PSAC doing to ensure a new Classification Standard for Parole Officers working in CSC? Below is a breakdown.
CLASSIFICATION STANDARDS THE TREASURY BOARD OCCUPATIONAL GROUP STRUCTURE
During the last round of collective bargaining, the PSAC successfully negotiated a commitment from Treasury Board to revamp outdated classification standards as the current standards are antiquated. Prior to reviewing each Standard individually, Treasury Board insisted that a review of the Occupational Group Structures take place. This review is essentially creating a new structure of bargaining units that are more reflective of the types of duties being performed by public service employees.
Treasury Board has held a number of meetings with the PSAC and departments who have concerns with the current Classification Standards. Both the department and the PSAC have outlined concerns with the current WP Classification Standard. The USGE, as the Component responsible for Parole Officers, was asked to participate in a meeting with Treasury Board, which we did on November 9, 2010. In essence, we were asked to outline how our Parole Officers meet the goals and objectives of CSC as well as the goals and objectives of the Government of Canada. Other questions involved how the work was organized; how the work has evolved; to what extent are there alignment issues with the current Occupational Group Structure and are there workforce management issues that we believe are attributable to the Occupational Group Structure. Representatives of USGE were more than capable of addressing these concerns on behalf of Parole Officers. The anticipated date of completion of the Occupational Group Structure is May, 2011. Once that review is complete, a review of the new Classification Standards will be conducted. Once finalized, all positions will be reviewed and converted to the new Classification Standard. It is hopeful that this new classification standard will classify Parole Officers to a higher level they so rightfully deserve. At that time, our members will be in a position to grieve their classification on conversion.
WHAT OTHER CONCERNS DO PAROLE OFFICERS HAVE AND HOW ARE THEY BEING ADDRESSED?
CSC’S PLAN TO CHANGE RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN THE MATRIX
As of today, CSC has not taken the decision to remove responsibilities from the CX group within the Matrix and assign them to Parole Officers. While there are discussions ongoing to that effect, CSC has confirmed that no decision will be taken at this time.
INSTITUTIONAL PAROLE OFFICER WORKLOAD FORMULA
This workload formula will determine how many inmates Parole Officers will have assigned to their case load. The formula takes into consideration the type of inmate being assigned (aboriginal, mental health, etc.); the risks presented by a particular inmate and the inmate’s needs. This combination would determine how much time is required for a Parole Officer to perform a task. It is important to understand that this number will often vary from institution to institution and from unit to unit depending on the obligations of the Parole Officer to the inmate; the needs of the inmate and the risk factors involved.
The USGE National Office has been pushing CSC to implement the workload formula and has requested that it be presented to EXCOM for decision.
Quite often, Parole Officers ask USGE’s position on the issue of two-tier bargaining. Simply put, collective bargaining is the responsibility of the PSAC. That said, one has to look at the concerns of the Parole Officer group to determine whether or not two-tier bargaining would be a viable option. Looking at the concerns above, two-tier bargaining would not address the concerns voiced by our Parole Officer group – more particularly the issue of Classification. This issue can only be addressed by the development and implementation of a new Classification Standard – a responsibility that lies solely at the discretion of Treasury Board as employer.