September 7-8, 2018

Firefighter Committee Minutes

UNDE FR Steering Committee

Notes of Meeting

September 7- 8, 2018



In Attendance


Serge Desbiens                         Chair, VP Ontario

Brian Traynor                           Alberta

Carl Darveau                            Quebec

Ryan Stewart                            Halifax

Josh Peterson                          British Columbia

Mike Mymko                           Man/Saskatchewan

Mike Strong                             New Brunswick

Jim Aubut                                Ontario

Blair Winger                            Guest Speaker


Brendalee Blaney                     Staff Resource


Day 1 – September 7, 2018


Serge Desbiens, Chair, Called meeting to order.

Agenda discussion. Crista Carriere, Manager of HR to Pay Stabilization DND, to speak on the FR pay working group. CFFM will be here this afternoon. June Winger, UNDE President, would be speaking on day 2.

Agenda items

Lieu days

Conversation on how days are being paid out. Most departments receive payment in lump sum while Borden receives payment after each stat either is acceptable as per section 6.01 of Appendix A.


Crista Carriere provided a presentation to the group on the DND HR-To-Pay Stabilization Pay Situation and Progress Report to the group.  Crista opened by giving an update on where we are now, part of National Compensation Pay Team and thanked Brother Peterson for his work on Team, provided a power point presentation on HRSS tool which is to be rolled out by the end of October 2018.

A question was asked as to whether there is a plan to do an audit on folks pay accounts – need a system we can trust – Crista indicated that that could be part of long term strategy – maybe to look at that – there are still gaps, compensation advisors not available anymore, how we can best serve our employees – looking at increasing training of compensation advisors – she indicated they have developed some good work arounds – get a handle on functions that need to be done.

Crista indicated they triage based on humanitarian factors – no basic pay, sensitive cases – disability, maternity/paternity leave, retirees – not about declaring hardship – priority set for non-basic pay – nobody’s $100.00 is any less important that someone’s $1,000.00 – retirees with pay issues can call the Public Service Pay Center phone number.

DND has been advocating to be at the table when discussing new pay system with PSAC.



The CFFM indicated she is insulated from some of the issues at the local level. She went on to discuss staff changes that have occurred in her office; e.g., gained an Equipment Project Manager and lost Deput Chief Fire Marshall Martin Gravelle, who was assigned to the Deputy Minister’s office – they are feeling the gap – HR stuff, Collective Bargaining, etc. – he has not been replaced – they have divided up the work – another addition was Blair Winger – kick start to carcinogenic program – what they’ve been working on for the past year – Brother Darveau is a trainer – thanked Brother Traynor for his participation

Training – focus has been more on the military side – updating on-line training – trying to ensure that nationally there is package updating training for Fire Inspectors that receives accreditation.

Paul Martel – equipment programs – range trucks for RTAs – getting 7 – ARF vehicle tender went out – a tender closed in Suffield – Hybrid – CFAD Bedford.

Film forming foam is not good for health or environment – they have changed formula – new formula gradually being replaced – the two can be mixed – only buying new stuff now – impact on Borden – training over 20 years old – conditions of overspray – diesel fire and foam has gone into water system – on pause now in Borden – not cancelled – just paused – want to get new formula in Borden right away

Training foam – mimic foam on fire – doesn’t persist and keep fire down – may get away from using pits and use hay bails – need triple f for operations – concern is around training – Edmonton – historic contamination – diesel fires probably numbered – going to strongly pursue methods of simulated training – only training areas for confirmation of skills

Uniforms – we are low on the priority list – we keep coming up against the wall. Their attention given to larger clients like CAF.The question was asked as to whether local funds could be used to purchase clothing Will have to look at the Financial Administration act to verify if local funds can be used when something isn’t available.  Jackets – the CFFM indicated that a design had been agreed up – getting prototype made is difficult.

The issue around provincial emergency responses came up in regards to Wild Land fires. How can we make ourselves available and identify as a resource to the provincial government. The CFFM indicated she could ask the question – on CAF side it is a formal request – have no idea if there is a precedent to send civilian FRs.

The issue of the National shoulder flash was raised – it was stated a contest was used to design the new badge and then new badge showed up – CFFM stated firehalls are sub-units – the Base is the Unit – she indicated she heard their concerns – can’t use public money on personalized flash.

The question was then asked whether we could get signifiers for FRs who have retired and they show up at funeral or other gathering – there is nothing to indicate they are retired FRs – the CFFM thought this was an excellent question and indicated she would check.

Health and Safety and conditions in the Fire halls was raised. The CFFM asked if grievances had been filed.  It was indicated that in accordance with Part II of the Canada Labour Code (CLC), they have a right to refuse – it was suggested they go grievance route first and then escalate the problem – the employer has to provide a safe work place

(Secretarial note:  the CLC provides a dispute resolution process for violations of the Act and it is recommended that avenue be pursued)

The question was then raised in regards to response times – it was indicated the DFC in Halifax inquired about extending response times and said the CFFM’s office supported it – 10 for structural, 3 for aircraft for 1st truck – the CFFM indicated she didn’t understand and stated the FMD is a directive – minimum manning – there is latitude for local folks to assess risk however.

Discussion on CFFM visit

The discussion seemed to indicate that Halifax seems to be trying to reduce manning levels and run shifts below the prescribed minimum manning level (11 Dockyard, 5 CFAD) in order to reduce overtime.  It was noted that on the West Coast they are staffing to the required levels and trying to promote a higher manning level. A discussion on Minimum Manning 4007-04 and FMD 4007-2 was discussed – it was noted that for some of the local issues in the Firehalls a change in management is needed before things will change.

Firefighter TV – some halls don’t have it – Brother Stewart discussed his experience with FR TV

Job Shirts – some halls have received them and described the details of them i.e., embroidery, national flash, etc.

September 8, 2018

The Chair welcomed UNDE National President – Sister June Winger

Sister Winger – she welcomed the group – indicated UNDE is doing a lot of work with the FRs – spoke about how a few bases are trying to privatize cleaners – trying to show government that we are holding on to every public service position regardless of income level (Greenwood/Kingston) -she indicated the FR campaign was adopted at the 2015 Alliance Convention – 25 and out and 2.33 – at Board got unanimous support as it was not a priority at convention – seeking to get movement at pension advisory committee – FRs always listed as #1 respected position – good service provider – pension committee will meet in two weeks – Chris Aylward attends committee with other Bargaining Agents and the TB representatives – feel now is our best opportunity – spoke to PSAC on where we need to focus our energy – started social media campaign and she asked everyone to promote and participate in the campaign – goes to Minister of National Defence, local MP and Scott Brison (President of Treasury Board) – written letter to Minister asking him to support – also raised at UMCC committee – believe it is achievable –Corrections have it.

The question was asked about what was discussed with pension advisory committee beforehand – Sister Winger indicated it was typical employer response – they need to review it – resolution was 25 and out and 2.33 – it was asked if age 55 was there and the response was no, that is not what was submitted at the UNDE nor PSAC conventions – it was indicated that in 2013 one now has to work to 65 – Brother Winger indicated there was time to address age 65 – Sister Winger indicated that UNDE received it as 25 and out and 2.33 and there may be room to change it – can talk with PSAC if there is flexibility – Brother Desbiens indicated that in municipalities one cannot be on the trucks after age 60 – Sister Winger indicated that she inquired with WSIB who denied this stating everyone is covered. Encouraged the FR committee to provide examples of where it is written that the FR’s are not covered for furtherance – other members of the steering committee indicated municipalities are negotiating that you can’t drive truck after 60 and that the committee would like to have some discussion around this – Brother Winger suggested that we focus on getting 25 and out and 2.33 approved and then we can tweak where we need to later.


Sister Winger asked how many had seen their MPs in regards to the pension reform – really need to push this – even to just get it on the floor – need to push to ensure MP does something with it – we have a small group and nobody will care more than you guys (FR’s) – need to push everyone in the firehall to become engaged – push it through the MPs – see them face to face – stay with fact sheet – stay on point – follow-up as well is important – continued pressure – need to push on social media – PSAC President and his advisors will meet with Board – highly competent – she indicated she will let Brother Desbiens know so that he can let the FR Committee members know – PIPS, CAPE, IBEW etc., other unions that sit at Pension Committee are in support – Pension Committee – TB folks and Bargaining Agents – similar to Medical  – Dental Plan Committee – to be a member of the Pension Committee must have pension knowledge and update that knowledge. Discussion then ensued on pension discussion – members indicated they were just frustrated, above us now, need to keep pushing MPs – we are in home stretch, go see MPs who said they would support – go back and see them again to gain confirmation and copies of letters of support

Following Sister Winger’s departure, the topic of competitions and perhaps standardizing posters i.e., all FR 02s the same etc., was then discussed- access to training was also discussed, put courses on PLP, put training on LMCC, will ask CFFM how training is allocated at each base – check what happens with budget money if not spent on training in the FY

Fire Department Medicals – a discussion ensued around screening and use of personal Dr. versus Health Canada

It was raised that in one firehall, they were given a policy that will not ever create OT – it was asked if this employer policy was grieved and the response was no.

The Chair then stated that he will send an email to the CFFM regarding the training that was not/is not being given to operate the Ariel (previous minutes of FR Steering Committee meeting of Oct 2017 indicate training will be provided ) – Brother Strong indicated he is a trainer – one of a group – he instructed his guys – if someone is not signed-off, they don’t drive or operate the Ariel – the question as then asked as to whether or not standardized training was required from coast to coast and documentation/certification – Brother Strong indicated they developed their own based on manufacturer’s specifications – Brother Traynor indicated they are doing their own in Suffield.

Special Compensation on Phoenix

The Chair indicated that everyone will be compensated. It is a moral and monetary issue. All were reminded to follow pay escalation process which can be found on the PSAC website.

Pay for Training

Discussion on rate of pay while providing training. You should be paid for the work you do based on your job description. If you are acting as a trainer it should be reflected in the job description. Questions about members training members without certification and providing no certification. The question was asked whether members can issue certificates if not instructors – Brother Desbiens indicated that one should be certified as an instructor – can’t force you to become a trainer.

Brother Winger provided the group with an update on FR’s cancer – he provided the group a handout – he spoke to the credential of the authors – trying to get better medicals.

Background –Brother Winger had meeting prior to working in CFFM office with higher authorities, meeting didn’t go well – had another meeting while working in the CFFM office which went well. He indicated that he and Nicole Thomas are working hard on this file – going to come to every hall – do a discussion on carcinogen exposure – will leave memory stick with binder – good videos – will leave binder at each a hall – new 2018 study – 86% of line of duties deaths involve cancer – used decontamination procedures in Quebec – this is a living document – it is the starting point – at halls will do an assessment – make management aware – guys in hall have to ensure the employer follows-up on recommendations – follow-up is important – when conducting visits, will do basic briefing on how to limit exposure, new flash hoods, 663 after every live fire, 663 one annually just because you’re an FR

Brother Darveau spoke to medical tests, list in IAFF, some are going to personal doctor asking them to use that list – Brother Winger indicated the letter from Dr. Kuntz can be taken to their Doctor(s) – Canadian studies, WorkSafe BC – good data there – Brother Peterson directed the members that this information was available on the BC FC’s site – Brother Winger indicated that the members can Google Dr. Kunz’s site as well. Brother Darveau indicated the test with Health Canada is punitive – Brother Winger indicated that you have to take the completed form back to Health Canada – he indicated he wouldn’t go to Health Canada as Health Canada is looking after the employer’s interests – you have the right to limit the kind of information Health Canada is entitled to – Brother Traynor indicated that our medical is not going to catch anything – go to family doctor for the “real stuff” – in fear of our livelihood with Health Canada – like to see medical like the one IAFF uses – better medical from your own doctor – early detection/early diagnosis – Brother Desbiens cautioned the group to ensure appointments are pre-approved by employer if looking for reimbursement.

Collective Bargaining – the Chair indicated they have met twice so far – teams meeting next week – Brother Peterson spoke to existing provisions of Appendix A and how it should be amended to better reflect FR issues on the whole, i.e., doing away with probationary rates – he also queried about the usefulness of using the UNDE FR Steering Committee to facilitate Bargaining Demands – Brother Traynor added that as long as we get input from halls that are not represented here, that could be something to further pursue.

The Chair thanked the members of the Committee for their attendance and participation and indicated that UNDE would attempt to hold the FR Steering Committee meeting each year around the timeframe of the Fallen Firefighter Memorial. There being no other business, the meeting ended.