What a year 2016 has been!
On behalf of USGE and all of our Regional Vice Presidents, I want to wish everyone safe and happy holidays.
Since becoming President in July 2014, my priority has been to ensure that more Canadians and decision makers fully appreciate the work that our members do every day to keep Canadians safe.
One of the things of which I am most proud is the launch of our latest ONE MINUTE video on Parliament Hill this past November. We are incredibly proud of this video and hope you are too.
Some of USGE’s other notable 2016 activities include:
- creating USGE’s first federal pre-budget submission;
- organizing and hosting a Hill Times Panel on Criminal Justice reform (with resulting press);
- coordinating an initiative to support fire relief in Fort McMurray;
- launching USGE’s first study on occupational stress injuries among all USGE’s members (report due to come out this Spring);
- participating in meetings with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, and staff;
- organizing five regional conferences across the country;
- offering many directed trainings;
- resolving over 300 grievances;
- partnering with international development group ‘Schoolbox’ to fund the building of a school in Nicaragua;
- bringing much needed transparency to USGE’s financial management and reporting; and
- successfully appealing the National Attendance Management Program (NAMP) administered by Correctional Service Canada.
Several Regional Vice Presidents and I also made key presentations to Parliamentarians including the following:
- National Vice President David Neufeld and I presented on the risk of occupational stress injuries for our members at the House of Commons Public Safety Committee;
- Regional Vice Presidents Bill Bailey, Jackie Oswald and Carol Osborne made a presentation at the federal government’s mental health caucus;
- A number of RVPs and Local Executive members also coordinated important site visits for federal MPs at several federal correctional institutions.
And our work is having an impact. Decision-makers are beginning to recognize USGE.
At a recent event on Parliament Hill, Liberal Member of Parliament, Pam Damoff stated: “There’s nothing more important than the work that USGE members do. A huge thank you to all of you for what you do for us.”
Of course, as we look to 2017, we will continue to work to address one of our biggest challenges in 2016: the disastrous roll out of the Phoenix pay system which created havoc for many of our members, and undue hardship for employees working at the Miramichi pay centre. We will continue to work with PSAC and the departments to have this resolved.
We have also begun the exciting and significant work of beginning to organize USGE’s Triennial Convention to take place in Toronto in July of 2017.
Taking this into account, and building on 2016, you can be assured that 2017 will be a stand out year for our Union, and our members.
Our dynamic team of Regional Vice Presidents, our dedicated staff, and I bring a steadfast commitment to tirelessly advocate for USGE and its members in ways that are smart, strategic and highly visible. Every day, we strive to offer the highest standard of service possible.
During the holidays, please note that our national office will be closed between December 24th and January 2nd. We look forward to connecting with you in the New year.
In the meantime, I’d like to wish you very happy holidays,
National President/Président national