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ACFO-ACAF, along with other federal public service bargaining agents and the National Association of Federal Retirees (NAFR), is calling on Treasury Board to immediately begin negotiations to update and strengthen the Public Service Health Care Plan.
ACFO-ACAF has been prepared to engage in negotiations for the Plan for years. In 2018, the bargaining agents of the National Joint Council (NJC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Treasury Board committing them to begin talks by March 31, 2019. In August 2020, ACFO-ACAF became the NJC co-chair representing all public service workers and their bargaining agents and wrote two letters to Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, one in September and one in December, requesting to begin negotiations immediately.
Nearly two years after the original deadline specified in the Memorandum of Understanding and several months after receiving our letters, Treasury Board has still not come to the table.
The Public Service Health Care Plan provides coverage for health products and services for most federal public service workers and is negotiated directly with Treasury Board by the bargaining agents of the NJC and the NAFR outside of the regular collective bargaining process.
The Plan has not been meaningfully changed since 2006 and requires significant updates to reflect recent medical advances, increases in the cost of health services and emerging technologies. Based on the feedback we gathered from members in our 2017 Public Service Health Care Plan survey, ACFO-ACAF is advocating for a comprehensive set of proposals to improve, strengthen and modernize the Plan.
While we understand that COVID-19 disrupted aspects of the Plan and has necessitated some delays or changes in priorities, the bargaining agents of the NJC have been ready to renegotiate the terms of the Plan for years. We believe that at this point, the employer’s repeated delays in coming to the bargaining table are a neglect of its duties under the Financial Administration Act and its stated commitment to collaborate with public service unions and the NAFR.
ACFO-ACAF has joined other public service bargaining units in submitting a final request demanding urgent action from Treasury Board and, if necessary, we are prepared to commence legal proceedings to compel the employer to negotiate.