Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Friends:
So much has happened so quickly in the last few months – so many disruptive, destabilizing and world-changing events have taken place already this year.
I am referring of course to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bringing with it a real threat to world peace and long-term devastation and hardship for so many. And I am referring to the so-called Freedom Convoy’s disruption of cities and border crossings.
Right wing politicians are all using growing frustration with the ongoing global pandemic to confuse working people and mobilize their support for a political agenda that is essentially about putting individual rights ahead of collective rights, and misleading working people about what will make their difficult lives better.
That’s why, today, more than ever, our job as union leaders and activists is to show a better way forward.
For many years now, CUPE has warned against the rise of hate and vowed to work with other progressives to stop it. Today, we have a much better sense of how well organized and well financed and dangerous the Right has become, and I don’t mean just the Far-Right but also so-called mainstream right-wing movements and politicians. Never before has our unity and solidarity been so important to uphold and strengthen.
Despite pandemic restrictions on working from our offices, and with limitations on in-person events, the first quarter of 2022 has been extremely busy. Every part of our union is working full out to support our members, protect our public services and stand up for progressive values across the country. The urgency of the need for unity amongst progressive forces is clearest in the face of escalating attacks from the right.
CUPE will stand up to each and every injustice – whether in the workplace, or when the right attacks, unions, public services, our democracy here in Canada or elsewhere across the world.
At CUPE National, all departments are working on plans to implement the resolutions, constitutional amendments and Strategic Directions initiatives adopted at convention.
Regional Office Re-Opening Plans and Vaccination Policy
Beginning in the first week of January, Mark and I met with the leadership of all CUPE Staff unions to discuss their views on a vaccination policy. There was a clear consensus from those discussions that all unions supported some type of vaccination policy. Under the direction of Mark and I, a working group was established to develop the framework of a workplace vaccination policy. The committee was comprised of our Managing Directors, Executive Assistants representing the NPO & NSTO along with the Directors of Research and Legal and our Health & Safety Advisor.
A voluntary survey requesting staff to disclose their vaccination status had a return rate of 74%. Of the 74%, 92% attest to being fully vaccinated.
The policy developed will be administered based on an honour system. There will be no requirement for staff, members or visitors to provide proof of their attestations. Unvaccinated staff, visitors and members or those who have not disclosed their vaccination status will need to conduct a COVID-19 rapid test before entering the workplace or attending CUPE sponsored events. Masks will continue to be required when moving around in CUPE spaces or when sitting in proximity.
We are also moving forward with a QR code for screening that will be available at every office. Rather than having staff and guests fill out hard copy forms when they arrive onsite, there will be a QR code they can use. Alternatively, for those who might not have a mobile phone, they can access a website to complete the information prior to arriving onsite. The data collected will be kept confidential and secure in a database in Canada, that will only be accessed by authorized individuals within the organization for the purposes of contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID case. Based on how the questions are answered on the QR Code, people entering the building will either get a pass or fail confirmation. Pass allows them to enter and move freely within the CUPE space. A fail will indicate that they are not permitted to enter the CUPE space.
We have received approval for free rapid covid testing kits provided to organizations from the federal government. We have received almost 3,000 tests which will be made available to staff as needed.
Office Re-Openings (Phase 2)
With the implementation of the vaccination policy comes the phase 2 re-opening of CUPE Offices across the country. Phase 2 will begin on March 28 and provide a gradual return to office work for a period of nine weeks. It is anticipated that all offices will be open with a full complement of staff by May 30.
Alberta Division Convention
I was honoured to address my first Division Convention as CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer. Although it was a virtual convention so many dynamic and leading issues were addressed and debated by delegates.
I reiterated the message I have given before to Alberta locals – CUPE will be there each and every step of the way as we resist the myriad of ways the UCP is attacking unions and public services, none so blatant as Bill 32 which seeks to limit union participation in politics and community advocacy.
During the Alberta Convention I announced to delegates the support CUPE is providing to the region in form of a supernumerary staff representative position.
Alberta – Bill 32
My office remains very busy on this file. This is the legislation that requires members to individually opt in to the “non-core” portion of the dues they contribute. Non-core is defined by the Alberta government as: political activity, social causes or issues, charities or non-governmental organizations or group affiliated with or supporting of a political party.
Core activities are defined as those that “directly benefits dues payers in the workplace”.
The regulations passed at the end of December and the Opt-ins can start being collected as of February 1. Working very closely with CUPE Alberta, we have been supporting the amazing work that Rory Gill, Lee-Ann Kalen and CUPE Alberta is doing with locals and the other unions in Alberta.
Our national staff (Legal, Finance, IT, Organizing and Regional Services, Education, Research and Communications) have also been working on some key projects to assist. These projects represent a significant staff and financial commitment:
- Legal coalition discussions – financial contributions to the coalition along with the involvement of our legal director, plus additional external legal advice;
- MRM – adapted to be accessible and usable for locals who do not already have a membership database;
- Electronic ledgers – updated and made specific for Alberta locals;
- Financial officer meetings and training;
- Communications templates for locals.
- The legal coalition continues to meet, and the prevailing thought is that there is a viable argument that all union expenditures can be considered core, and that a Charter challenge would be viable. There is a clear argument that per capita tax is all “core”, because it provides the benefit of membership in the national union.
CUPE fully supports this perspective and as such has declared that per capita is a core activity and therefore our chartered organizations in Alberta will not be asking their membership to “opt in” to the per capita portion of the members’ dues.
We are sure that at some point this fall we will end up at the labour board on this issue. Whether because of a complaint from an individual member, or from a group of members who are backed by some anti-labour, anti-worker law firm, Mark and I have been very clear with CUPE Alberta leaders, CUPE will be there with the necessary human and financial resources to support them and to vigorously defend our Core Per Capita Tax position at the labour board.
Ontario School Board Council of Unions Leadership Conference
On December 3, I was very pleased to address the OSBCU leadership representing over 55,000 members across the province. This was my first public speaking address as CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer, and my first in person event since the last OSBCU conference in March 2020.
My address to the conference supported the ambitious OSBCU bargaining position which calls on members to organize and mobilize for real wage gains at the upcoming central bargaining table this summer. We know that in order for CUPE to make significant headway on real wage increases, our entire union must organize a major offensive and I know OSBCU will help lead the way. Along with their province-wide consolidated bargaining power, OSBCU is a militant organized force and enjoys strong support and confidence of locals from across the province.
CUPE Ontario Women’s Conference
This year’s conference was held on December 10 on International Human Rights Day. My message highlighted the importance of this day. This was 73 years after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights December 10, 1948, the historic document that emerged in the aftermath of the Second World War in recognition that world peace would never last without universal respect for human rights.
Discussion also focused on the disproportionate damage and suffering experienced by women throughout the pandemic, especially for women who experience multiple and multilayered forms of discrimination.
I also highlighted the opportunity that the pandemic gives us, as women, to organize and mobilize for real change. The pandemic is a reminder that we are essential to the economy – that nothing can work without us.
Ontario University Workers’ Coordinating Committee
Early in the year, I addressed the OUWCC virtual conference where leaders from the sector came together to address important areas of concern for our 35,000 members who work at Ontario’s universities. Members discussed problems in post-secondary education that the pandemic has exposed and made worse. Most importantly, members decided what we must do as a union to make things better for students and workers, specifically through coordinated bargaining, and through concerted political action.
In my address to the conference participants, I stated my deep conviction that together with our allies, we can work together to make universities good places to work, to teach, to research and to learn. As we know, Ontario universities have been under siege for decades. But in recent years things have gotten much worse. It is clear that Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are sabotaging our province’s public university system.
Ontario Municipal Employees Coordinating Committee
On February 28, I was very proud to join OMECC conference delegates for the annual gathering of the Ontario municipal sector workers representing over 80,000 members across the province.
As the provincial election date of June 4 draws closer, I committed to delegates that CUPE will be there every step of the way to support all their efforts to work closely with CUPE Ontario to work to elect progressive candidates in the upcoming provincial election as well as municipal and school board elections in the fall. Changing the political landscape in Ontario will absolutely shift the politics of the country.
As bargaining ramps up, I committed CUPE’s resources to support the fights ahead.
Bargaining is tough these days. Municipalities have suffered big revenue losses through the pandemic and costs have gone way up. With inflation running at its highest rate in the past thirty years, negotiating real wage increases will be a fight.
NEB Safe Union Spaces Working Group – Strategic Planning Session
As members of the NEB Safe Union Spaces Working Group, we have been having difficult, but important, discussions about how to make our union a safe space for women and others. In our February 24-26 Strategic Planning Session, we laid out much of the plan for 2022 and general goals for 2023 leading up to the next National Convention.
Over the next year and more, our working group will be overseeing the development and implementation of new processes for addressing complaints.
But we are also determined to take preventative steps, and that includes steps to change the deeply rooted culture that permits and perpetuates this discriminatory, destructive, and anti-democratic behaviour. The working group has a host of proposals and recommendations that will be presented to the National Executive Board at this meeting.
CUPE Nova Scotia Women’s Committee – International Women’s Day Event
Although I was extremely disappointed that weather derailed my plans to join in person, I was very proud to be able to attend virtually CUPE Nova Scotia Women’s Committee’s 2nd annual International Women’s Day event. A huge thank you to the Nova Scotia’s Women’s Committee for the invitation and for organizing such a beautiful event.
This year’s theme was Breaking The Bias. There was a touching and heartfelt tribute to the later sister Betty Jean Sutherland along with the announcement of the launch of the Sister of the Year Award which was made in her name.
I was also honoured to be there for the launch of the CUPE Nova Scotia Red Dress Pin – designed by Bev Walker, an Indigenous Artist from Sipekne’katik First Nation.
My message highlighted the strong progressive history of the women of Nova Scotia’s labour movement and the importance of women’s leadership in our union. My message was this: “Our union is strong. We are diverse. We are powerful. Our reach is far. We are a huge force for good in every province of the country. On this International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate all that we have achieved, all that we have going for us. And let’s commit to using all our strength, all our leverage, to making the change we need and want.”
General Fund Surplus
The preliminary financial statements for December 31, 2021 showed a total surplus of approximately $14 million. This large surplus is due to the assumptions made in our budget regarding COVID and the timing of returning to normal compared to the way the year actually played out.
In-person activities ended up again being curtailed for much longer than the budget anticipated, and lost members came back on stream quicker than anticipated. Over the past number of years our practice has been to allocate any surpluses to the Employee Future Benefit Liability to bring us closer to our goal of recording the full liability on our books.
The statement being presented for approval allocates $10 million of that surplus into the Future Benefit Liability, leaving a surplus of $4.4 million on our un-audited financial statements for 2021. If the surplus on the audited financial statements increases, it would be our plan to also allocate any surplus in addition to the $4.4 million to the Future Benefit Liabilities.
Benefit Roadmap Recommendation
Effective January 1, 2022, an accounting rule change will require us to use a discount rate tied to bond yields. The current discount rate if the new rules were being applied would be 3.05%. Our current methodology, and the one we have been following since the rules were last changed in 2014, permitted us to use a discount rate based on the expected return on our investments, similar to how our pension plan liabilities are valued. Our 2021 discount rate under this method is 5.75%.
This rule change would require us to record an additional $100 million dollars on to our liability and would extend the Roadmap for at least another decade. We all know that a higher discount rate will result in a lower value on the liabilities.
This rule change makes sense for an organization that is not building investments to ensure it can meet the payments on the future liabilities as they come due. We are building these investment accounts, we have them tagged for the sole purpose of paying the future benefit liabilities and the investment accounts now sit at approximately $135 million at December 31, 2021.
We have discussed this upcoming change with our actuaries and have concluded that in our situation, it makes sense operationally for us to continue to use the discount rate that takes our expected future investment earnings into account. We will therefore continue to use the expected future rate of return on investments for determining the discount rate used in our annual actuarial valuation of our benefit liabilities.
As a result of not adopting the rule change that took effect January 1, 2022, our audit report will continue to be a qualified audit opinion as it is now and our Auditors report will state that our Financial statements are not in accordance with GAAP in this area. The amount of the departure from GAAP will continue to be quantified in Note 7 as it is currently. This means that we can expect to complete our Roadmap process in 2023 and begin reallocating the Roadmap expense to other purposes, hopefully beginning with our 2024 budget.
The annual campaign proposals have been submitted and approved for each Division. I want to recognize the significant work that goes into these plans on behalf of the Divisions and regions. Our work in this area will become even more critical as governments try to use the pandemic spending to justify privatization initiatives.
Over the course of January and February all 2022 virtual staff meetings have been held for each region and one for the National Office. Again this year COPE staff joined the meetings. Pandemic related challenges, intersecting with workloads and mental health, were at the forefront of the staff‘s minds. I want to sincerely thank all the staff who have given me such a warm welcome from each region of the country and for all their support for our members and locals.
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2021
Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet)
The total assets in the General Fund at December 31, 2021 were $349.8 million which is up $50.6 million from December 31, 2020.
The bank balance at December 31, 2021 was 18.4 million, down $7 million from the balance at December 31, 2020. The bank balance includes various internal cash reserves which are set aside for retirement payouts, future benefits funding, property maintenance, the Convention and the Regional Building Fund.
The total liabilities in the General Fund were $307.6 million at December 31, 2021 which is up $46.2 million from December 31, 2020.
The true liability for Employee Future Benefits, as calculated by our Actuary at December 31, 2020 stood at $244.6 million. The December 31, 2020 Balance Sheet had recorded a liability of $194.8 million leaving an unrecorded gap of $49.8 million at that time. In 2021 we budgeted to add $13.4 million to the liability but in fact have been able to add $23.4 million due to a preliminary surplus that was higher than expected. In total, counting in investment income, we recorded an additional $47 million of the liability, bringing the total recorded liability at December 31, 2021 to $241.9 million.
The Fund Balance at December 31, 2021 is $42.2 million of which a total of $3.4 million is restricted as follows: Convention and National Events Assistance Fund $940,000 and Regional Building Fund, $2.4 million. Of the remaining Fund Balance, we have invested $69.4 million in fixed assets leaving a negative unrestricted balance of $30.5 million. This means that all of the equity in the General Fund is spoken for either in terms of being allocated for a restricted purpose or tied up in fixed assets.
Statement of Operations
Total revenue at December 31, 2021 is $247 million which is over budget by $26.5 million. Total expenses, including the allocation of $10 million to the Roadmap, is approximately $242 million which is over budget by $22.1 million. This leaves an un-audited operating surplus (before the provision for the Regional Building Fund) for the year of $4.4 million, compared to a budgeted zero surplus.
Revenue Summary: Per Capita revenue is above budget by $7.3 million. Realized investment income is $930,000 over budget and unrealized gains on investments for the year were $18.2 million.
Expense Summary: Salaries are under budget by $400,000, current benefits are over budget by $618,000 and future benefits, excluding the provision to add the unrealized investment gains to the liability, are over budget by $14.7 million. This overage detailed as follows: vacation pay provision $1.8 million, Long-term disability $1.4 million and a $10 million unbudgeted additional recognition of the liability for employee future benefits. Note that some of the figures for the future benefit expenses will change once the report from the actuary is received. Directors and Representatives salaries are over budget by 1% ($498,000) while Administrative and Technical Salaries are 2.9% ($351,000) under budget. Clerical salaries are below budget by 3% ($573,000).
Cumulatively, the other operating expenses including Programs are $11 million under budget. Below are some of the more significant items:
- Operational travel is $2.8 million under budget.
- Overall programs are $2.2 million under budget.
- Fixed staffing costs are $1.6 million under budget.
NATIONAL DEFENCE FUND
Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet)
As at December 31, 2021, we have $23.3 million in Total Assets which is up by $4.5 million from December 31, 2020. The cash balance at December 31, 2021 is $6.3 million which is also up by $4.5 million from December 31, 2020. In addition, we have investments totalling $14.7 million on the books at December 31, 2021, which is largely unchanged from December 31, 2020.
Under Liabilities we have accounts payable and accrued liabilities of $1.7 million at December 31, 2021 which is up $660K from December 31, 2020. There is also $10.3 million in cost-shared campaigns’ liabilities which is up $1 million from December 31, 2020. Finally, $102,000 is owed to the General Fund at the end of 2021.
At December 31, 2021 the Fund Balance was $11.1 million, compared to $6.8 million at December 31, 2020.
Statement of Operations
Total Revenue in the Defence Fund is $15.5 million which is about $2.5 million over budget. Total expenses are $10.9 million which is about $2 million under budget. This leaves an un-audited operating surplus of $4.3 million.
Cost-Shared Campaigns: The National Executive Board approved a total of $4,770,111 in cost-shared campaigns which is about $700,000 over budget. There was a recovery of $1,892,294 in unused funds from prior years cost-shared campaigns that have been closed out throughout 2021.
Major Organizing: Expenses were $2,698,972 which is $1.3 million under budget.
National Strategic Initiatives: Expenses were $1,596,412 which is $1.1 million under budget.
Regional Strategic Initiatives: Expenses were $1,897,821 which is $427,000 under budget.
NATIONAL STRIKE FUND
Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet)
Total Assets in the National Strike Fund at December 31, 2021 are $136.6 million, compared to $129.2 million at December 31, 2020. These assets consist of $3 million in cash, $2.4 million in per capita receivable and $131.3 million in investments.
Under Liabilities we have accounts payable and accrued liabilities totalling $1.1 million, up from $351,000 at December 31, 2020.
Statement of Operations
Revenue into the Strike Fund, including investment income, was $16.4 million for the year and expenditures totalled $12.8 million resulting in a surplus of $3.6 million before taking into account unrealized investment gain of $3.6 million.
Strike Related Expenses: Expenses were $10,028,641.
Strike Averting Expenses: Expenses were $2,181,185.
Legal and Arbitration Expenses: Expenses were $543,445.
Bargaining Rights Legal Challenges: Expenses were $57,356.
STRIKES, LOCKOUTS AND SETTLEMENTS
Local 1630 (MB) – Rolling River School Division, 23 members on strike from November 1, 2021 to February 2, 2022.
Local 301 (QC) – Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, 34 members on a one-day strike on December 8, 2021 and 27 members on strike since January 24, 2022.
Local 401 (BC) – Vancouver Island Regional Library, 17 members on strike since March 9, 2022.
PER CAPITA ARREARS
For the quarter ended December 2021 the total arrears were $9,111,923 which was a decrease of $155,655 or 1.12% from the previous quarter ended September 2021. Total arrears have decreased 9.56% as compared to December 2020.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) REPORT
With the first quarter of 2022 well underway, the IT Branch continues to focus on conducting business as usual while working remotely to enable and support the rest of CUPE staff to do the same. This first quarter saw continued work on approved plans for the replacement of CUPE’s Per Capita Tax system (PCIS), new releases of the MRMS, enhancements to CUPE’s Avanti Human Resource Management System, initiating CUPE’s Information Management Project and finally, strengthening CUPE’s IT Security posture.
Per Capita System Re-Development
PCIS project is still in the testing phase. The focus is now on data entry, user interface and the integration with CUPE’s financial system. The new system is marching towards a go live for Q3 2022.
Avanti Human Resources System Enhancements
A project to enhance the tracking and reporting of position management for the Avanti system is planned for implementation into production in March-April 2022.
Member Relationship Management System (MRMS) Enhancements
The IT Dev team continues to work with the Alberta Region and Organizing & Regional Services on the development of an electronic form specific for members of Alberta locals to fill out online for opting in to pay the Non-Core dues that complies with the new Bill 32 legislation.
The IT Development team has started a new Strike Fund project with the objective to implement a system that will automate workflow processes, create the ability to fill out forms online, expedite the approval and reporting processes online. This will eliminate the problem of maintaining and managing paper forms, the delay in collecting signatures and providing the necessary reporting and auditing requirements.
With the requirements gathering stage completed earlier this year for the National Strike Fund Project, the project is now in the design and development phases. This will be followed by the user acceptance testing phase tentatively scheduled for Q3, 2022 with an anticipated release of the new system slated for Q4, 2022.
Lastly, the IT Development team, in collaboration with ORS, are in the implementation planning stage for releasing the MRM LUI enhancement for tracking and reporting on organizing drives.
Information Management (IM) Solution
Building off of CUPE’s previous efforts over the years in the EDRMS/CUPEcloud space, including the recent success with CUPEConnect, CUPE’s first bilingual intranet, CUPE is moving forward with the implementation of a bilingual IM Solution based on Microsoft 365. This first phase of the project for 2022 will focus on IM for all national departments and branches with the objective of rolling this out across all regions next year. This IM Solution will be supported by formal IM Governance to maximize CUPE’s return on investments in its employees and the IM systems and tools that they use. The project team is currently focused on the planning and discovery aspects of the solution.
IT Infrastructure and Improving CUPE’s IT Security Posture
CUPE IT is working with our security partner and is completing the Cyber Security Awareness training for all CUPE employees. With the increase in security threats and issues, it is imperative that we continue to enhance our knowledge and vigilance. We will move next to implement an enhanced password policy. Stronger more complex passwords will allow CUPE to further strengthen its security posture.
CUPE IT is retiring the remaining in-house, legacy IT Infrastructure hardware and software with its transition to cloud computing. In doing so, CUPE has reduced operating costs and improved IT security by modernizing and running the latest, supported and secure versions of operating software.
Xerox Workplace Cloud and Universal Print
CUPE IT are working with its Print/Copy partner Xerox to strengthen and improve IT security and support of CUPE’s current Print/Copy/Scan infrastructure.
IT Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) Project
CUPE’s IT Disaster Recovery Planning project is moving toward completion. The next step will be to work with the Departments to finalize CUPE’s Business Continuity Plan in the event of a disaster affecting the CUPE National Office.
PROPERTIES AND LEASEHOLDS
As we plan our return to working from the offices under Phase 2 of our COVID-19 plan, the Property Management Team shifts it’s focus to ensure we are ready to welcome staff back to the office. This will ensure that all COVID safety measures are in place, supplies of disinfectant and masks are replenished and signage around offices is clear. We have also been working to raise partition heights where workstations are back to back in open concept offices and this work is virtually complete. Nightly cleaning and disinfecting work has been in place for the past number of months so no change is required there.
Due to COVID related budgetary restrictions and associated uncertainties related to how we will return to the office, CUPE has continued to opt for short or medium-term lease renewal strategies where possible. During this first quarter of the year, a renewal agreement has been concluded for Kelowna. We have however decided to move into new locations in Gatineau and Fort McMurray. Construction in Fort McMurray is virtually complete, and we will move into the new location at the end of March. In Gatineau we have decided to sell our interest in the building we had through the AIFTQ and will be leasing new space for that office. The fit up in the new space is now underway with a projected move in date mid summer. We continue leasehold improvement work in Winnipeg as we work on fitting up expansion space we recently secured.
We have identified a number of offices that require an upgrade to their security system and have been working on those throughout the past few months. This will provide a great improvement for the safety of our staff.
CONFERENCES AND EVENTS
While we saw an increase in COVID restrictions as a result of the most recent wave of infections, municipal and provincial public health services have since loosened these restrictions. It is no longer required by many venues to present a vaccine passport when accessing public venues, physical distancing is no longer mandatory, and we’ve seen an increase in the number of people allowed to gather in public venues. All these changes have a direct impact on how CUPE plans for and hosts its meetings. CUPE has however decided to make every effort to maintain our standards and vaccine related policy for any of our events.
The NEB Safe Union Spaces Working Group Strategy Session took place on February 24-25-26, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel. This meeting brought together the women members of our National Executive Board along with senior staff to discuss strategies and develop an action plan for creating a safer environment within our union. The men of the NEB will take part in a “Be more than a Bystander” Training at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel on April 3-4-5, 2022.
While we currently have a few in-person meetings scheduled for spring-summer 2022, CUPE made the decision to postpone the All Committees’ Meeting that was scheduled for the end of March at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa. The All Committees’ Meeting has been rescheduled for the fall and will take place in-person at the Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building from October 31 to November 3, 2022. CUPE will hold an orientation session with the national committee staff advisors, co-chairs and NEB members on March 28, 2022, via Zoom.
In addition to the above meetings mentioned, CUPE continues to also host virtual meetings allowing staff and members to meet and discuss issues that directly touch their lives at home and at work.
CUPE Convention 2021 Carbon Offsetting Report
CarbonZero was hired by CUPE to quantify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2021 virtual National Convention in Vancouver. This marked the sixth time that CUPE National office has assessed the emissions generated by National convention and the fifth time that CarbonZero has provided a comprehensive assessment of the convention.
The purpose of this process is to identify sources of carbon emissions linked to hosting national convention, offset those emissions with investments in environmental organizations and projects, and to look for steps to reduce emissions and their subsequent harmful climate impacts at future CUPE National conventions and events.
The global health pandemic compelled CUPE to hold a largely virtual convention for the first time. Some union leaders and staff travelled to Vancouver, while delegates and most guests joined the convention via online meeting technology, thereby eliminating travel for hundreds of participants for the first time. This resulted in a drastic reduction in GHG emission from our convention compared to previous years.
CUPE will invest 2021 carbon offsetting money with organizations and projects of our own choosing, rather than opting for CarbonZero projects, as too often those projects are not a good fit with CUPE’s priorities (e.g., some CarbonZero investment projects are P3s). Carbon offset payments will go directly to organizations that work with CUPE on environmental issues or to organizations doing work that aligns with CUPE’s environmental priorities, especially our climate change priorities.
2021 CUPE convention emitted a total of 57.91 carbon equivalent tonnes, compared to 1,746.88 carbon equivalent tonnes in 2019. This marks an incredible decrease in emissions of approximately 96.7 per cent.
The Green Economy Network (GEN: www.greeneconomynet.ca) will receive the funding this year.
Emily Niles was appointed as the new JBT Co-Chair. Charles Fleury has accepted the invitation to continue in the role of JBT Co-Chair to allow for a smooth and seamless transition.
The Joint Board of Trustees will have its first scheduled meeting of the year on April 6 and 7. The Trustees will discuss, amongst other things, the preliminary valuation results at 1.1.2022. As part of the actuarial valuation process, an affordability test is conducted to verify if the pensions and deferred pensions will be indexed retroactively to January 1, 2022, in line with the increase of the Consumer Price Index.
In 2022, the employer contribution rate will remain at 14.92% of pensionable earnings.
Preparations are underway for the 2021 Pension Fund Audit.
- Debora Oldfield, Ontario Regional Office – January 1, 2022
- Daniel Dussault, Quebec Regional Office – February 1, 2022
- Janet Szliske, B.C. Regional Office – March 1, 2022
- Kevin Wilson, Ontario Regional Office – March 1, 2022
- Danielle Jennings, National Secretary-Treasurer’s Office – April 1, 2022
- William R. Cronin, Saskatchewan Regional Office – May 1, 2022
- Joyce E. MacDonald, B.C. Regional Office – May 1, 2022
- Lynn A. Falk, B.C. Regional Office – May 1, 2022
- Wendy Barry, Union Education Branch – June 1, 2022
- Gilles P. Bouffard, Ontario Regional Office – June 1, 2022
- Martin C. Simard, Quebec Regional Office – June 1, 2022
- Rob Hewitt, Comox Valley Area Office – June 1, 2022
- Jack Simpson, Lethbridge Area Office – July 1, 2022
- Peter Baxter, New Glasgow Area Office – August 1, 2022
- Mike Brady, Sudbury Area Office – September 1, 2022
- Michel R. Gratton, Quebec Regional Office – February 1, 2023
- Joan Lockwood, London Area Office – March 1, 2023
- Lyne Hotte, Human Resources Department – April 1, 2023
I would like to thank all the staff and members who have gone the extra mile to ensure a smooth transition during this extremely busy first quarter of 2022. Especially, I want to acknowledge Anne Healy and Michael Butler, Executive Assistants, for their constant support and guidance to me personally and for their leadership in the union. I would also like thank the Administrative Assistant in the NSTO, Marie-Anne Ruelland for her daily support. I also owe debt of gratitude to Tammy Griffin, the Managing Director of Finance and Admin for the solid support of herself and her team.
If these last few months is any indication of the level of activity ahead we are in for an incredibly dynamic and challenging year ahead. I look forward to working with you and for you as we take on these challenges together.