A union representing federal public servants has filed a bad-faith bargaining complaint against the Canada Revenue Agency.
In December, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced that all federal public servants would be returning to the office at least two to three days per week.
In a statement, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada claims the revenue agency’s recent decision to impose a “one-size-fits-all” return mandate — instead of negotiating at the bargaining table — amounts to bad faith.
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“You cannot just remove a core issue from the table — which has been established as a top priority for members — and call it anything other than a bad faith manoeuvre,” Jennifer Carr, the union president, said in the statement.
A complaint about bad faith may be made when a party allegedly does something with an ulterior motive, lacking fairness or honesty. The union says it wants an order directing the revenue agency to engage in meaningful bargaining relating to remote work.
The union and the revenue agency have been in negotiations since last October when they were discussing telework, but at a bargaining meeting in January the agency announced that telework would no longer be part of the talks.
Carr says the revenue agency’s decision will delay and potentially prevent an agreement from happening. The union represents over 14,000 revenue agency employees who Carr says have been working “safely and productively” from home since March 2020.
The return-to-office mandate has been a contentious issue since its announcement, and the union has been against the decision from the start.
“The pandemic forced governments to modernize labour practices, and these practices need to be embedded into employee contracts,” said Carr. “It protects everyone. It’s just good labour practice.”
The agency has not responded to a request for comment.