Winnipeg HRC Mtg Minutes (July 21 2009)

Present: Don Rogers, Chris Davis, Craig Wood, Marc Danis, Donna Fedon, Hycinth Jayasuriya, Vimbai Dune-Chitohwa, Jocelyne Poirier, Jeffrey Vallis

Steering Meeting

Present: Don Rogers, Chris Davis, Craig Wood, Marc Danis, Donna Fedon, Hycinth Jayasuriya, Vimbai Dune-Chitohwa, Jocelyne Poirier, Jeffrey Vallis
Regrets : Heather Millar

Don and Jocelyn opened the meeting at 17:10. A round of introductions was completed.

Jeffrey Vallis, summer student employee of the Winnipeg Regional Office provided an overview and Q&A session about the “Protect Student Workers” national campaign .  The Public Service Labour Relations Act excludes student workers from the definition of “employee” – meaning that they are not allowed to bargain collectively to improve working conditions and are specifically banned from joining a union. PSAC recently filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government (scheduled to be heard in September 2009) arguing that specifically excluding students from the definition of “employee” in the Public Service Labour Relations Act violates student workers’ right to freedom of association. Committee members signed the petition and were provided with information pamphlets to distribute to their workplace and components. Jeffrey welcomes all inquiries and information requests via email to Jeffrey or by phone: 947-1601.

Jocelyn advised the committee that the Toronto Regional PSAC office now celebrates Black Emancipation Day  as efforts by the Ontario Black History Society to have August 1st commemorated annually by the Province of Ontario as Emancipation Day have been successful. The bill was passed in early December 2008. August 1, 1834 is the date when the British Imperial Act of 1833 “An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies” went into effect. For more information see Black History Society or Ontario Heritage Connection

Don presented the WHRC 2008 budget & financial statements. Reviewed and approved by the WHRC. The WHRC did not meet regional funding criteria for 2008 stemming from an insufficient number of meetings, largely due to extenuating circumstances. The Prairies REVP has approved a funding request for 2009. Don presented the 2009 budget, which was approved unanimously.

The committee discussed and reviewed the pros and cons of maintaining the current fiscal year (September to August) versus the traditional calendar fiscal year (January to December). The WHRC voted unanimously to revert to the traditional calendar fiscal year effective immediately. This change will align the committee with the vast majority of PSAC committees, programs, and funding criteria, and will be much less cumbersome to administer. The required 2010 budget proposal will be presented for vote at the January 2010 meeting.

The WHRC Mandate was reviewed. Minor changes to wording in several sections was proposed and approved by the committee. Jocelyn will ensure the new version of the Mandate is uploaded to the WHRC website and be available to distribution at the next WHRC meeting.

The committee reviewed WHRC web pages . Formatting changes such as the inclusion of a “contact us” button as well as realignment of various page sections were approved by the committee. It was also suggested the revised Mandate be posted to the WHRC page. Jocelyn will follow-up with Regional Office staff to ensure the changes and updates be completed in a timely manner.

Due to the change in the fiscal year of the WHRC, the committee discussed the format and frequency of WHRC meetings while being mindful of the PSAC requirement to hold a minimum of four meetings per fiscal year. The committee is especially mindful of the goal of visibility and discussions resulted in several decisions:

• Wherever practical, WHRC meetings will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.
• Wherever practical, separate WHRC business meetings will be minimized and business issues and updates will be incorporated into the first segment of standard WHRC meetings and events.

The committee determined that the meeting schedule, events, and topics for the remainder of 2009 would be:

OCTOBER 20: Sweat lodge at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House. This date is subject to change due to facility availability. Craig has volunteered as the liaison and will inform the WHRC as further information and updates become available. Should the sweat lodge be unavailable, the WHRC decided that an evening volunteering at the Silom Mission would be the replacement activity. Jocelyn, Don, and Craig will work together jointly to ensure the WHRC members are advised in advance of the final decision.

NOVEMBER 17: Marc has several contacts in the disability education field and will make contact with them to secure an educational and information presentation to the WHRC in advance of the official December 3 International Day of Disabled Persons.

DECEMBER 10: Annual Joint Committee Holiday Celebration. The WHRC will be the lead this year, so the WHRC selected Thursday, December 10, 2009 as it is also International Human Rights Day in celebration of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948  and further planning for this day will be determined as part of the business discussions incorporated into the beginning of each of the previous meetings.


2010 planned meetings:

JANUARY 19: WHRC Business Meeting. 2010 Budget and Planning. Review and approval of 2009 financial statements.

FEBRUARY 16: African Heritage Month / Black History Month. Details TBA.

Meeting adjourned at 18:55