7 times human rights prevailed in 2014

Human rights issues have always been a priority for PSAC members. Here’s a list of 7 feel good human rights stories from the past year.

  • Winnipeg PSAC member volunteers in Guatemala

From March 21 – April 4 members participated in PSAC’s Social Justice Fund delegation to Guatemala. They supported the efforts of grassroots organizations to improve livelihoods of Mayan campesinos in Guatemala through initiatives based on social justice and fair trade.

Jen Botincan, a PSAC/UNDE member from Winnipeg, was selected to participate in this opportunity, which sent participants to Quixayá, San Lucas Toliman, Solola, located in the highlands to the east of Lake Atitlan. She wrote a series of blog entries about her experiences.

  • Prairies delegates attends WorldPride 2014 experiences

PSAC sent members from across the country to participate in WorldPride 2014 events in Toronto and represent our union. Prairies members joined the PSAC delegation and participated in the WorldPride Human Rights Conference (June 25-27) and WorldPride Parade (June 29).

Many of the PSAC members who participated in WorldPride described the experience as transformative. The two members chosen to represent the PSAC from the Prairie Region described their experiences in reports posted to the Prairies website.

  • Peoples’ Social Forum brings more allies in movement to protect public services

The Peoples’ Social Forum brought together thousands of activists from several social movements from across the country who now have protecting quality public services on all their agendas.

It was a packed room on the third day of the Peoples’ Social Forum when the Assembly on Quality Public Services was held. More than half of about 300 participants were public service workers and members from PSAC, CUPE, NUPGE and CUPW. But the other half came from other social movements and community groups such as women, students, environmentalists, Aboriginal peoples and anti-poverty groups.

  • Member’s report from national child care conference

It’s time for the federal government to get serious and implement a national, universal child care system. That was the unanimous sentiment expressed by more than 600 participants at the Childcare 2020 conference in Winnipeg over the weekend.

The conference brought together parents, early childhood educators, union activists, researchers and politicians to envision what childcare could look like in 2020 if governments really cared. PSAC activists from across Canada participated, re-confirming our union’s commitment to affordable and accessible child care. Sherry Hunt, a childcare activist in Lethbridge and Prairie Region Council representative, attended the conference and shared her experiences in a report on the Prairies website.


  • New Joint Learning Program workshop on mental health in the workplace 

The Joint Learning Program (JLP) announced that a new workshop on Mental Health in the Workplace is now available to union members and their managers of the core public administration.

This workshop reflects the joint commitment of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the other participating unions to build awareness about mental health. It recognizes that inclusive and healthy workplaces require proactive approaches that engage all members of the workforce. This workshop is one of seven joint learning initiatives to improve workplace relations.

  • Member wins discrimination case and sets precedent for other workers

The Canada Border Services Agency discriminated against a PSAC member on the basis of his age, race and perceived obesity, thereby preventing him from securing permanent employment. That’s what the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in the case of Levan Turner – a union member who first filed a complaint against CBSA in 2005.

After nearly a decade of court proceedings, Turner will receive significant compensation to make up for lost wages. But more importantly, his case sets a precedent when it comes to fighting the kinds of discrimination that can influence job competitions and deny career opportunities to people.

  • Federal government will not appeal Johnstone case in win for family status accommodation

The period in which the federal government could seek to appeal in the case of PSAC member Fiona Johnstone has closed. This brings to an end her long legal battle to gain accommodation for her childcare needs. The government finally seems to have recognized that working families need help.

In May the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously upheld a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision in Ms. Johnstone’s favour.  The Canada Border Services Agency had refused to give her a fixed-shift schedule so that she could make arrangements for childcare.