ACFO – Working For You
OTTAWA – ACFO is a dynamic professional organization providing representation to over 3600 financial officers located across Canada.
Today’s ACFO is working towards meeting the challenges presented by the implementation of the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) where our expanded advocacy role reflects members’ values and the desire to see that the role of FIs is recognized as an integral part of the government’s drive for accountability and transparency.
ACFO is working for you: at the bargaining table, in meetings with senior officials and elected officials, in the public through press releases and interviews and, when needed, even in the Courts.
As the outgoing Comptroller General, Mr. Charles-Antoine St-Jean wrote to Milt Isaacs, ACFO’s Chair: “I am thankful for ACFO’s contribution for investing in the development of well researched position papers on important subject matters, but also for being a first-class partner in the efforts of my office of strengthening the capacity of our financial officers’ and managers’ community. While we had different perspectives at times on some issues, you represented the interest of the ACFO members to my colleagues and me, and our political leaders, at all times, in a respectful and thoughtful manner.”
Through collective bargaining, we strive to reach agreements with the employers (Treasury Board and NAV Canada) that will satisfy our members. While we all have personal aspirations and objectives, our negotiating team which includes Board members and nationally respected advisers advises the Association on what is achievable in various rounds of collective bargaining. We are in the process of preparing for this next round.
Our highly trained professionals working in our labour relations department work to support our members by trying to solve specific issues related to the collective agreement. Our Board of directors and staff are involved in departmental labour management issues on a regular basis and they attend numerous meetings throughout the country. This responsibility has increased due to the PSMA’s implementation.
In meetings with senior officials (from the Comptroller General to Senior Financial Officials, from Deputy Ministers to Treasury Board representatives), elected representatives (Ministers, Members of Parliament) and other individuals involved in the development of public policy, we continue our advocacy role. These efforts are not limited to members’ career development and benefits but also touch upon the financial management framework of the federal government, which has a direct impact on the type of work our members, do in serving Canadians.
Even before the public’s demand for increased accountability in government, ACFO worked to position our Association and our members as a pivotal link in the chain of responsible financial management.
ACFO is proud of our accomplishments and confident that the professional services offered by our Association are current, directed, practical and helpful. That being said, your Board would be remiss if we did not recognize the need for, and have the determination to, improve on services to our members.
Labour Relations Division
Our membership has increased and continues to increase by substantial numbers each year. Increased membership means that our labour relations team has had to expand to meet the needs of our growing association. The growing membership means a greater effort is required to research and defend the collective agreement.
The Labour Relations Division (LRD) of ACFO currently consists of four full-time Labour relations Advisors reporting to the Executive Director. The principal responsibilities of the labour relations division include the interpretation of and compliance with the FI Collective Agreements, facilitating the resolution of workplace disputes, staffing complaints, grievances at all levels, harassment complaints and other investigations, discrimination complaints and duty of fair representation complaints and assistance with disability and pension issues.
The (LRD) also participates on behalf of the members in various Employer/Bargaining Agent forums such as Union/Management Consultative Committees, National Joint Council Committees and labour relations/human resources working groups and steering committees, as well as providing labour relations advice to support the mandate and operational plan as determined by the Board of Directors and the Compensation and Benefits Committee.
ACFO members appreciate the valuable professional opinions offered to them by the (LRD) on a wide variety of important issues.
In June 2007, members selected binding arbitration as the dispute resolution mechanism in the event that a settlement cannot be reached with the employer at the bargaining table. The Compensation and Benefits Committee under the direction of the Board will now act as the senior policy advisory body in respect of all matters relating to compensation and benefits and is currently preparing the bargaining demands of the Association for presentation by the Negotiating Team. The C&B Committee will also designate five of its members to serve as our Negotiating Team, which will meet October 27, 2007 to prepare for the first round of bargaining.
National Joint Council
ACFO is a key player on the National Joint Council (NJC). The NJC is the main forum for co-development between the Employer and Bargaining Agents. Committees, on which ACFO is an active contributor, work on a myriad of issues such as medical and dental benefits, disability, workforce adjustment, travel benefits and pension issues. Where grievances are filed on these issues, ACFO staff participates in hearing and adjudicating them. This work is critical as all NJC policies affect our members and many directives are incorporated into our collective agreement.
ACFO labour relations advisors sit on the Work Force Adjustment Committee and the Disability Insurance Board of Management of the National Joint Council seeing that ACFO members are kept up-to-date with developments while ensuring that ACFO has a say in policy development on these important issues.
We also have ACFO representatives sitting on The Nav Canada Joint Council with participation on the Allowances Committee as well as the Benefits Board of Management.
Whether it’s strengthening the collective agreement, dealing with individual labour issues with the employer or representing ACFO at the National Joint Council, the Labour Relations Division of ACFO is working for you!
ACFO has created and is building a network of Representatives in all departments and regions of the country. Representatives will sit on a variety of departmental committees and in meetings with management representing the interests of FIs. This link with the membership should also provide strength in collective bargaining These Representatives will provide a communications link with the National Office. A healthy flow of information between ACFO and its membership will help the Association respond to the needs of the membership and fight for the rights of FIs across the Public Service and the country.
Above and beyond representing the members on all matters relating to collective bargaining, the collective agreement and the NJC, our Association is busy working on a number of developing issues, most notably Classification Renewal and Pay Equity.
ACFO continues to actively advocate for a Classification Renewal for FIs within the Public Service. ACFO has identified and raised a number of technical issues with respect to the current FI Classification Standard; most significantly, that the current structure fails to provide optimum mobility in the transition from level to level for the FIs.
A Classification Renewal would provide more opportunities for career advancement as well as longer periods for training and transition. The ability for ACFO members to advance within the classification structure is a cornerstone of the process to attract and retain the best financial officers to the ranks of the public service. ACFO continues its comprehensive research, with the aim of advocating for a Classification Renewal with Treasury Board.
Senior officials in the government have recognized the merits of the solutions offered by ACFO in regards to classification renewal and have indicated their desire to work towards providing a renewed classification system that reflects those recommendations.
By pursuing pay equity ACFO hopes not only to continue to fight for fairness and equitable compensation but to also develop a compensation legacy that will attract and retain the best financial officers available.
In relation to Pay Equity, ACFO is currently exploring the possibility of further investigating classification and compensation inequity issues. As we have discovered that the FI-01 and FI-02 levels are female-dominated and not being compensated at the same rate as equivalent male-dominated groups, we are carefully considering the launch of a pay equity complaint on behalf of our FI group.
Keeping In Touch with the Membership
ACFO belongs to you the members. Our Association will only be successful if we can understand the expectations and reflect the aspirations of our members in our initiatives.
Your ACFO Board is determined to reflect your wishes. In order to keep the lines of communication open we constantly strive to update our members with current communiqués and regularly consult members on important issues. For example, ACFO is currently involved with a multi-phased consultation of the membership designed to select the most palatable form of increase to the union dues.
ACFO is working for you to see that your opinions are heard and your expectations are met. Intelivote, the new electronic voting system put in place by your ACFO Board, illustrates your Association’s desire to provide modern state of the art interaction with the members. The system provides valuable demographic information to ACFO while preserving individual’s privacy.
ACFO’s on-going efforts to serve our membership reflect our commitment to provide modern effective representation on your behalf. Your ACFO Board is proud of our accomplishments and committed to strengthening our efforts as we continue to work for you.