President's Corner

Expanding our toolbox: reflections on collaboration on International Labour Day

With the approach of May Day, I want to take a moment to reflect on the importance of the international labour movement and on ACFO’s growing role on the domestic and international stage. International Labour Day reminds us that labour issues cannot be contained within a single workplace or even within national borders, especially in our increasingly globalized world. Unions and other labour organizations must work together if we are to affect real change.

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to see and participate in the work of the ACFO team and it’s been eye opening for me to see just how dedicated they are to the FI Community. I have also seen our staff meet with organizations representing 8-10 million employees in Canada, in the United States and across the world to learn how these groups represent their members and advance the policy ideas important to them.

While in Washington to observe the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers’ (IFPTE) legislative and advocacy conference, for example, we were able to meet with officials from:

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) Employees Organization
  • The Society of Energy Professionals (Canada)
  • Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters (USA)
  • Communications Workers of America
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Federation of Government Employees
  • Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (USA)

One of the things that struck me throughout these meetings was the overwhelming generosity of these professional public service unions and other progressive groups we met. People have given of their time and shared their hard-won experiences simply to help us learn how to advance our goal: to maintain the health of the FI Community and the integrity of the public sector financial system.

I was also gratified to see that, in turn, these groups view ACFO as a partner worth having. ACFO has a growing reputation — both within Canada and abroad — as an effective, prudent and cooperative organization. We are proud to be seen as leaders in our community and to have people look to us for insight into issues of sound financial management.

ACFO is learning how to apply other groups’ experience and expertise to our own policy agenda. The result of these efforts is that ACFO is better able to advocate for FIs in the workplace, at Parliament Hill and on the world stage. For evidence of this, look no further than the complaint ACFO drafted against the unconstitutional Bill C-59, which was jointly filed at the ILO by Public Services International and the Canadian Labour Congress, or our recent appearance before the House Special Committee on Pay Equity.

Finally, throughout the past few weeks I’ve seen that the ACFO team truly draws their inspiration from the dedication and skill of the FI Community. If anything, ACFO’s growing role on the international and domestic labour stage is evidence of that. We aren’t just content to use every tool in our toolbox; we’re committed to expanding that toolbox in our efforts to advance the best interests of FIs. It’s the level of service you deserve and that you model for us every day.

It’s truly an honour to represent this wonderful group.

Dany Richard, CPA, CMA, MBA
Executive Vice-President

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