PRC Meeting Minutes (Oct 2013)

Minutes from the October 2013 Prairie Region Council meeting.

October 18 – 20, 2013
Winnipeg, Manitoba


  • Marianne Hladun, REVP Prairies
  • Satinder Bains, Southern Saskatchewan Representative
  • Shaun Brennand, Regina Area Council Representative
  • Dave Burchell, Persons with Disabilities Representative
  • Denni Ernst, Northern Saskatchewan Representative
  • Deborah Ferguson, Alternate REVP
  • Keith Gauthier, Young Workers Representative
  • Alex George, Aboriginal Representative
  • Alec Goertzen, Calgary Area Council Representative (October 18 & 19)
  • Tim Hogan, Prince Albert Area Council Representative
  • Timothy Hunt, GLBT Representative
  • Nancy Johnson, RWC Representative
  • Glen Johnston, North West Manitoba Representative
  • Darlene Lewis, Edmonton Area Council Representative
  • Jackie Nettleton, Saskatoon Area Council Representative
  • Susan Norman, Westman Area Council Representative
  • David Pearson, Lethbridge Area Council Representative
  • Clint Wirth, South East Manitoba Representative
  • Lisa Garnier, Regional Coordinator – Prairies
  • Jeffrey Vallis, Regional Political Communications Officer – Prairies
  • Alison Davis, Executive Assistant to REVP – Prairies


  • Jerad Cooper, Northern Alberta Representative
  • David Fandrich, Southern Alberta Representative
  • Chad Kemery, Separate Employer Representative
  • Petrina Runns, Directly Chartered Locals Representative
  • Matt Tijani, Winnipeg Area Council Representative


  • Imy Bhatty, Racially Visible Representative

1. Call to Order: October 18, 2013

The meeting was called to order by Sister Marianne Hladun at 9:07 a.m. 

2. Adoption of Agenda

The agenda was adopted with a change to bring up agenda items 8 (a), (b), (c) & (k) prior to the PRC reports.

3. Hours of Session

The hours of session were adopted.

4. Opening Remarks

Sister Marianne Hladun welcomed and administered the oath of office to Brother Satinder Bains and Sister Darlene Lewis. 

The scent free and harassment policies are in effect.  The harassment coordinator for the meeting is Sister Lisa Garnier.

8. Agenda Items

(a)  Regional staff role with local committees – submitted by Sr. Nancy Johnson

This agenda item was dealt with October 19th in the morning.

The draft document created by Marianne and Lisa was circulated to the PRC.  It will not be posted in the minutes.  Once input is sought from the staff, a revised version will be sent out. It will be for use of Committees/Area Councils/RAPC’s and staff in the region.

This document will help provide guidelines and input is being sought from Committees/Area Councils/RAPC’s and from staff.  Marianne and Lisa know that there have been challenges and hope this document will assist going forward.

Timothy asks for clarification on staff attending events and meetings.  Lisa advises that staff are not members of committees.  If there is a specific role for staff at an event then she would not deny the overtime request.  She has a budget that she has to work with so that must also be taken into account.  Staff reps will attend meetings as possible either in person or via phone.   It would be helpful, if the rep was unable to attend, if a quick email could be sent the next day – advising of how many people attended and if any resources are needed for anything that was decided at the meeting.

Bank statements should be sent to the RO’s and be reviewed by the Regional Reps and they will work with the Treasurer to make ensure financials are in order.  This falls under the role of the Regional Rep not the administrative staff. 

Glen would like clarification because in the Westman Area Council by-laws there are requirements for the area council to send out notices etc.  They keep their own email lists.  Marianne advises that if the Committee/Area Council wants to do that then they can.  Marianne asks that the email list please be shared with the RO so they have the same info.  Glen would like to have a list for their area that the RO maintains.  He is not being advised if members are being added to the list (bullet 6 under Regional Reps).  Lisa will address this with the staff.  Glen would like to see a list of who is being bcc’d at the top of the email for example: National Officers, PRC, MB Local Presidents.

Glen would like clarification on minutes.  Who should they be sent to?  Marianne clarifies that they should be sent to the Rep with a cc to the admin.  Minutes do not need to come directly to the REVP office as long as they are posted on the website. 

Marianne and Lisa suggest the possibility that administrative staff could keep separate lists for each committee/area council that could be shared via GroupWise.  They are open to suggestions and it can be discussed.

Marianne advises that the Equity Reps need to determine what committee they are responsible for so that they can convey information to them.

Alec asks how information is shared in RO’s with more than one Rep; as each is assigned with different portfolios and this can be challenging if the Rep is away.  Lisa asks when information is being sent to the assigned rep, that the other rep be cc’d for information. 

Alec is wondering if there is a template for posting minutes to the website.  Jeffrey advises that a Word doc is best because it is editable.  To post the minutes, the admin have to wipe the format and reformat it to work with the website format. 

Lisa advises that if there are specific issues or struggles for any committee/area council member then she would like to discuss them away from the meeting. 

Nancy would like to see a template for agendas and minutes, as well as, the minutes being numbered.  She has been advised that logos can no longer be used.  Jeffrey advises that they can’t go on the website because of formatting required in the website software but they could be included on the document sent out.

Marianne asks if it might be helpful to have discussions with committees/area councils to get feedback on whether a package with templates etc. would be useful.  Timothy thinks it might help with consistency across the region.  Glen would like a call with committees/area councils to see if they would be on board. 

The draft document will be revised and sent out with the minutes for feedback.  Once feedback is sought from staff and PRC then a call could be arranged with committees/area councils.

Changes to document:

Regional Reps section:

  • bullet 9 (final bullet):  clarify with addition of Committee/Area Council AGM’s

Regional Admin Staff section

  • expand final bullet to : assist with developing posters or flyers for committees/area councils. The committee will provide information on date, time, location, contact info, price (if applicable), meal provided or not
  • add bullet: a template be created and provided to committees/area councils to use for notices, agendas and minutes

(b)  Telling Our Stories video, what was the cost and under what budget line item was it dispensed – submitted by Sr. Nancy Johnson

Marianne advised that, to date, the cost of the videos is $30,140.05.  This includes the road trip, videographer, and any loss of salary/per diem for participants and editing.  There were forty three people interviewed and the plan is to release one video per month.  PSAC Prairies owns the footage. 

The funds were taken out of political action but a $15,000 portion will be coded back to the WAAA summer funds that were received. The videos had been included in the plan that was submitted to and approved by Ottawa.  The videos to date were well received by the NBoD

Nancy would like to know if a budget was set and how should it be explained to the membership that $30,000 was used for a video.

Alec would like to know what the monetary cap will be on this project and he also would like to know how the cost should be explained to the members.

Marianne says that this came out of a discussion at the April PRC meeting with the National Officers.  At that meeting we discussed the need for communication and to finds ways to show our members what the union has done for them.   In Quebec, they paid $30,000.00 for two videos. In NCR they spent $45,000.00 on 3 videos. The Prairies will get a minimum of ten videos on different topics.  She estimates that the remaining cost of editing will be approximately $5000.00.

David P. says that we are being attacked and these videos are one way of fighting it.

Clint says we are losing sight.  At Convention, a budget was passed and if these videos fall within line items then we have given the REVP and staff permission to spend it.  He thinks the videos are important as they put faces to the stories.

Nancy would like to know if the Communications Committee was involved in this project.  Marianne advised that Jeffrey was unable to convene a committee meeting due to unavailability and no response from committee members.  She is not disputing that the videos are high quality or valid but we must be fiscally responsible.

Marianne advises that attempts to reach the Chair of the Communications Committee have proven unsuccessful.  Deb has been appointed as co-chair to assist the committee in moving forward.  She has not received any emails or calls from members expressing concern.   The region receives $33,000.00 for political action work. There were additional funds available under WAAA, so a budget plan was put forward and the Prairies received $63,000.00.  The video project was included in this budget.

Dave B. asks if there have been many hits on the video and we need to strategize to get the videos shown more widely, the membership is being reached but not the public.

Marianne says that the videos were not meant for the public but rather to reach the membership base to build support and membership engagement.  There have been around 450 hits on the video.  You must have a YouTube account to leave a comment.

(c)  Replacement membership cards – submitted by Sr. Deborah Ferguson

Deb would like to see a simpler way for members to get membership cards. Marianne will check to see if it is possible to have something added to the website specifically for lost membership cards.

Jeffrey contacted Ottawa to look into this and currently members will need to create a member account.  They will look into adding requesting your membership card.  Currently, the other option is to go to and click on contact us and fill in your membership information and indicate that you need a card.

You can also access technical support under contact us for issues with the GroupWise email.

(k)  Participation/Accountability of PRC members – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun 

Marianne advised that the REVP office is not receiving responses from everyone regarding attendance at meetings.  Alison is wondering if Survey Monkey is the best way to gather the information or is there a different preferred method.  Hotels are being booked on the assumption that those who have not responded will be attending.  This is done to ensure that everyone will have a hotel room booked.  We have to sign contracts with hotels well in advance of meetings and overbooking opens up the possibility of us having to pay attrition for rooms not used.

Emails sent out will now say ‘action required’ in the subject field along with a brief description of what it pertains to.

Marianne calculated that the percentage PRC reports received this term range from 42% – 63% and there are some who have never submitted a report.   This is a requirement of the by-laws.

Dave B. says that he would prefer to use his personal email account.  Glen is also having difficulties with GroupWise.  Marianne advised that you can do a forward from PSAC email to a personal account.  Jeffrey will talk to IT to get instructions for specific devices.

Alec says that we should find out the cause or root of why reports are not being submitted.  We need to clarify if we need to offer more support, to say there is no report does not mean work is not being done.

Marianne advises if we are unable to meet that requirement, then our only option is to change the bylaws through a resolution to convention and we would have to be prepared to speak to the issue on convention floor.

Marianne advises that this agenda item is intended to start a discussion.  Members are clearly looking for accountability and the PRC needs to ensure we have processes in place.  There is currently no mechanism within the Bylaws to remove a Council member for non-attendance.  Marianne has asked Sr. Benson for an interpretation on what can be put in the by-laws. 

The PRC approved the following procedures for approving minutes:

  1. Draft minutes will be sent out and PRC will have two weeks to provide comments.
  2. If there is a minor change (grammar, spelling etc.) then a reply should be sent to Alison directly.
  3. If there are significant changes requested, it should be sent to reply all.
  4. After two weeks, Alison will send out an email requesting approval of the minutes.  It will include a link to Survey Monkey for those who wish to use it.  Or a reply email can be sent to Alison.
  5. If quorum is not achieved, then the minutes will be posted indicating this and a list of the responses.
  6. If a Council member does not respond, it will no longer be considered approval.

Note: The draft minutes will be sent to the entire PRC.  Those who were not present at the meeting are not able to provide approval.

The PRC approved the following procedures for official conference calls:

  1. Information and supporting documents will be sent ahead of time and an indication of what decision(s) need to be made on the call.
  2. Two date options will be provided for the call to assist with finding the best availability.
  3. This will be done via email.

5. Reports of Elected PRC Officers

There is a requirement in the PRC By-Laws for all Representatives to submit a report. The reports are attached as they are received.  The reports submitted were circulated and approved by the Council and can be found on the Prairies website.

Additions to reports:

Marianne Hladun:

  • It is noted that the report is missing a reference to the Mustard Seed, Calgary Women’s Centre and Foothills Foundation under AB Solidarity.
  • All the Alberta Solidarity funds that were donated have been distributed. 

Deborah Ferguson:

  • Had email problems or would have attended the By-laws Committee conference call.

Keith Gauthier:

  • Has not had confirmation as to the number of rsvp’s for the Young Worker’s meetings. 

6. Committee Reports

Communications Committee:

No report submitted. 

Deb has been appointed as co-chair.  The committee will find a time to meet during the PRC meeting as well as set a date for their next conference call.

Education Committee:

Report received. 

The PRC discussed the role of AF’s and the Prairies certification process.  AF’s can’t do an entire TUB course because it is bargaining unit work for the reps.  Lisa advised that AF’s in the certification process can do a section. AF’s are also often used at Regional Conferences to assist with facilitation.  Currently JLP facilitators are not automatically included in the AF network as within their training, they do not develop materials which is a large component of the AFTP. 

The PRC Education Committee will discuss this with Sr. Judy Shannon.  Tim, Shaun and Alex will bring this forward on the next committee conference call.

Marianne advised that the application is out for the new UDP and the deadline has been extended to November 5, 2013. 

Health & Safety Committee:

Report received. 

The Committee would like to have some input to enhance the H & S course developed by Brother Bruce Campbell.  Lisa advises that an email should be sent to Judy Shannon with a cc to herself.

Committee will meet at this meeting. 

By-Laws Committee:

Report received.

A final draft of the PRC Handbook was circulated.  The PRC will take time to review it one last time and send any feedback to Glen.  This will not become part of the By-laws or Regulations but will be a stand-alone document.  Once finalized, it will be posted on the website to provide information to those who may be considering running for PRC positions and as a guide for current PRC.

When PSAC moves to electronic claims forms, that section in the Handbook will need to be changed.  Until that happens, the current process will be left in the PRC Handbook.

This will be brought back on Saturday morning.

7. Finances (Appendix A)

The January 1 – August 31, 2013 expenses statement was provided to the Council. 

Marianne advised that the 2012 and 2013 finances have been redone, in Excel, as there are still problems with Simply Accounting.  The REVP office is working with Finance, in Ottawa, to rectify the problem. 

The Finance Committee has met and reviewed the financial documents.

The 2012 books have not been reviewed as of yet.  Marianne put out a request to the National Officers asking if they knew of anyone but received no names.  She will be asking the Treasurer’s of the Winnipeg AC/RWC/HRC to undertake the review and in the future rotate it between the Committees/Area Council’s in each province.

8. Agenda Items

(d) 2014 Prairies Convention – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

  • Convention Committees
    Convention committees will be divided by provinces.  Two Alberta and two Saskatchewan PRC reps will be moved over to the Manitoba committee to even out the numbers.  The National Officers will be offered two seats per province and one of those two seats will be a co-chair position.  Marianne will bring it forward on the November 7th conference call with the National Officers.
  • Childcare Onsite
    childcare will be offered, if requested, with a firm deadline to register.
  • Host Committee
    A letter of interest has been sent out and Sr. Louise Mardell – staff person assigned to the committee, has received sixteen names.  Marianne asked that there be a PRC co-chair from Regina and one one from Saskatoon.  Alex will represent Regina. Jackie and Nancy will discuss who will represent Saskatoon and advise Marianne.
  • Theme
    A tentative theme of “Telling Our Stories” has been added to the call out to tie in the video project.  The Communications Committee met over lunch and feels that a different theme should be used.  They have put forward Our Union: Bringing Us Together.  The committee is asking that any feedback or other suggestions be sent to Deb by next week. They will look at creating a blurb to explain the theme which would be added to the Convention Call.
  • Call out
    The Convention Call will be sent out November 27, 2014.
  • Resolution deadline
    The deadline for resolutions will be March 5, 2014.
  • Budget
    A budget is being worked on to take into account the additional expenses of holding Convention outside of one hotel.  In 2014, it will be held at a convention centre and contracts have been signed with three hotels.
  • Electronic Voting
    The cost for electronic voting will be approximately $5000.00.
  • Subsidies
    The full allocation from Ottawa will be used for subsidies.  Marianne has come up with some initials numbers that will guarantee a minimum amount for all potential delegates.  She will send out the breakdown via email.
  • Bags
    The Communications Committee will work with Jeffrey to look at bag options.
  • Agenda – chairing responsibilities, guest speaker
    Sr. Marianne would like chairing responsibilities to be shared by the PRC as it will be a great opportunity. She would like PRC to either chair or introduce guests/speakers.  To be brought back to the January PRC meeting.
  • Elder
    Alex has been assigned to finding an Elder for Convention.

(e)       Monthly PRC update conference calls (confirmation of date and time) – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The monthly calls will be moved to the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm MB time.  The next call will be on November 13, 2013.  Alison will send out an email with the dates for the next six months.

(f)            Update on “Inactive” Committees – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

This agenda item will addressed at a later date via email.

(g)           Conservative Convention Planning – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The Conservative Convention had been postponed due to the flooding and has since been rebooked at Stampede Park.  This venue is more challenging logistically but plans for a rally are moving ahead.  A special thank you to the Calgary PRC Reps – Br. Alec, Br. David F. & Br. Timothy for all the work they have put into this event.  The NBoD is fully on board and this is top priority in this region.  Speakers are currently being lined up.  There are funds available to rent a bus in Lethbridge if there are enough members and the same option is possible for Edmonton.  There will be a bbq after the rally in the same parking lot. 

(h)           Prairies Logo – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The PRC were shown two new revised logos from Guppy Design, as well as, another from an artist that Marianne knows.  The PRC are to provide feedback to the Communications Committee.

(i)             Discussion on resolutions to be submitted to convention on behalf of the PRC – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun

The PRC went through the by-laws indentifying possible changes for the By-Laws Committee.  The committee will draft these resolutions and bring them to the January 2014 meeting to be voted on. 

A Structure Committee was put in place and are tasked with looking at other regions structure and doing a structure review.  Feedback would be provided to the By-laws Committee to draft potential resolutions.  The Structure Committee is to be co-chaired by Shaun and Dave B.  The other members will be: David P, Deb, Nancy, Susan, Glen.  The co-chairs will contact Petrina and Chad to see which of them would be able to sit on the committee as a DCL/Separate Employer perspective is needed.  Marianne will be ex-officio on the committee.

Marianne will get a copy of the ruling that was made by Sr. Nycole Turmel regarding Locals being affiliated with area councils.

The PRC would like Marianne to get feedback from the National Officers on whether there would be support for a delegate entitlement change before spending the time on discussing possible options.

(j)             Report from Roundtable on Labour with MP Alexandre Boulerice – submitted by Sr. Marianne Hladun. Reported on by Br. Keith Gauthier.

Keith attended the meeting along with PSAC staff on September 13, 2013.  They had one and a half hours to discuss PSAC issues. 

8. Roundtable Discussion (October 18, 2013)

  • David P. would like to follow up on the sponsoring of a food bed at the Interfaith Food Bank.  There are different price options and the PSAC logo would be on it.  He will send the details to Marianne.  Timothy suggests that David P. take pictures and do a write up to send to Ottawa so it can be included in our history.
  • Sr. Lisa Garnier provided a staffing update.  Updates will be posted on the website.
  • Glen would like to know what is going on with pay in arrears.  Marianne says that there have been lots of questions on this and info will be put up on the Prairies website.
  • Timothy is wondering about the PSHCP.  Marianne advised that is has to be government ratified and Clement won’t sign.  They are also looking at raising level for retirees.
  • David P. advised that TC was signed today.
  • Timothy says FB’s are concerned. Marianne says that JP and Robyn met with Clement last week which resulted in being called back to the table.  They will be back at the table on Monday.
  • Timothy shared that New Jersey will be the 14th state to legalize same sex marriage.
  • Timothy advised regarding situation in Russia.  EGALE is working on it.  A resolution was submitted to the GLBT Conference but it was ruled out of order but they plan to have someone try to rewrite it and re-introduce.
  • Tim is wondering if there is any movement on ESA’s for the PA group.
  • Marianne will check on the status of ESA’s.
  • Marianne advised that the National Bargaining Conference will be held in February for Treasury Board tables.  Components send out the request for bargaining demands.  Every Component can put forward 25 demands and each Component has their own process.  Parks Bargaining Conference will be held in March.  There will be no Regional Bargaining Conferences.
  • Dave B. advised that he recorded against a resolution at the upcoming PWD Conference.  He would have liked to see it rewritten.  The resolution says that all PWD members would get advances prior to conferences, conventions etc.  He says the point is equality not difference.
  • Marianne advised that there is a list of advances that have never been recovered by PSAC.  Those funds often need to be written off.
  • Glen advised UNDE Bargaining Conference will be in mid November in Toronto.
  • Timothy asks for any news on OGS.  Marianne advised that David Orfald and other staff have met with TB over 30 times. Earliest conversion for two groups in PA would be 2017.  No realistic plan in place.  What was agreed to in 2008 is not going to happen.
  • Timothy asks about the request to AFL regarding representation for RCMP officers.  Marianne advises that PSAC did not get a request to intervene.
  • David P. asks if we know what the changes might be made to the Public Service Act.  Marianne says only what was in the Throne Speech.  They will be going after sick leave.
  • Bill 377 was re-introduced yesterday and has gone back to the Senate in its original form.
  • Jackie has talked to her MP and suggests that Senators also be contacted.

Meeting adjourned at 3:21 p.m.