APS National Council in Toronto
Delegates from all parts of the country gathered to meet in Toronto on the weekend of November 6, 2016, to attend the once-a-year main event in the APS universe. The two-day meeting is split into three different events: the Council itself, the Annual General Assembly of members and a face-to-face meeting of National Executive. The National Council is open to all delegates and deals with the orientation of the union along with activity reports summarizing work accomplished during the past year. The Members meeting is the disclosure of the National consultations made through elections involving participating members while the Executive meeting is the decision-making process of the weekend with the elected officers of the union.
Focus on the Votes
The three events are well enshrined in our By-Laws and over the years, delegates know very well that the whole of the first day (Saturday) is dedicated to the National Council topics while the two other events are held on Sunday. This year the attention was clearly focused on the election results as the two top jobs of the union were at stake and the fate of the collective agreement was also on the line. The results are already posted on the website but the major news coming out of the voting results was undoubtedly the tremendous rate of approval for the proposed collective agreement. With more than 85% of favorable votes, this year’s consultation also set a record for participation among eligible members. Members present at the Annual General Assembly congratulated the Negotiation Committee headed by Mario Poudrier along with the two Local Presidents (Andy Libby, Toronto and Stéphane Désautels, Montreal) who were assisted by two newcomers both representing their respective provinces (Directors Nathan Farr and Isabelle Benoit). Acknowledgment was also directed towards Dominique Barrette, Ottawa Regional Director who participated in the all-important negotiation survey to set the table for the union demands. As for the positions up for election, the winning candidates were Mario Poudrier for President and Dominique Barrette for Secretary General. Runner-up Charles Deschênes-Bolduc, a newcomer on the scene made it clear he was there to stay. Furthermore, Jennifer Ostler who made a comeback after a few years’ absence from the CBC, also stated her intentions to get involved in the APS union life again. Both defeated candidates extended their congratulations to the winners. It was all in all, an election very promising for the future of the Association. For his part, Mario Poudrier thanked supporters for their endorsement noting that he enjoyed the thrill of a first time ever balloting experience.
Although many new faces showed up at the opening of the National Council meeting on Saturday morning, the palm for the farthest delegate to travel the distance for attendance belonged once again to Jeff Gardiner from Yellowknife. Jeff is still holding the fort up there in the North as one of our longest-standing participating members.
The first part of the meeting was dedicated to a thorough examination of the collective agreement which will apply for the next four years with an option to extend for a period of an extra two years if the two parties agree to a prolongation. Mario Poudrier was responsible for the presentation fielding questions from the floor as the description went along. The traditional Regional Round Table followed with reports coming from the Officers responsible for the different areas of the country. Marcel Arsenault for the Maritimes, David MacFarlane for the West, Dominique Barrette for Ottawa, along with the two Presidents for Toronto (Andy Libby) and Montreal (Stephane Désautels).
Reports from Health and Safety and Employee Assistance Committees followed, made by Marcel Arsenault and Nathan Farr to cover H&S and by David MacFarlane for EAP. The very last financial report was then presented by Martine Flipot on the last day of her mandate. She showed once again her ability to make numbers talk by taking delegates into the meanders of this year’s financial statements. She was given a well-deserved round of applause after her presentation. Yves Ledoux also presented his ultimate report as Secretary General before stepping into the shoes of National Treasurer. Yves had an elaborate analysis of the membership variations to make us understand the effects of the different waves of job cuts in the make-up of our union.
Mario Poudrier and Claude Beausoleil then took turns to summarize activities for the Presidency and General Management of the Association. Maria Gaglione handled once again the organization of the event to everyone’s delight as the event unfolded smoothly and on schedule throughout the weekend.
Members’ Annual General Assembly
The Annual General Assembly of Members is held each year at the same time as the National Council with one major difference as to the participation of delegates present on site. The agenda reflects national consultations only. Because of the widespread geographical location of the membership, all the decisions of the Assembly are the result of elections submitted to every individual participating member of the union. APS has adopted many years ago the usage of electronic consultations conducted by neutral specialized firms responsible for conducting the voting procedure in accordance with our By-Laws. To oversee the elections two Election Officers each representing their respective Networks are nominated by the National Executive Committee. This year David MacFarlane was representing the English Network while Marcel Arsenault represented the French Network. At 8:30 am, on Sunday morning, both men opened their computers to connect with Big Pulse to disclose the results of the votes.
Three sets of items were on the ballots of voters this year:1- the nomination of the external accounting firm to prepare the Financial Statements for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 2- the approval or rejection of the collective agreement and 3- the election for the positions of National President and National Secretary.
The poll results were as follows:
- Nomination of the external accounting firm: Adopted at 85.65%
- Approval of the Collective Agreement: Adopted at 85.65%
- Election for the position of National President: Mario Poudrier
- Election for the position of National Secretary: Dominique Barrette
The National Executive Committee Meeting
The last event to end proceedings for the weekend was a face-to-face meeting of the National Executive Committee. Although that meeting is for the decision makers of APS, Mario Poudrier invited all delegates to sit in and to participate in discussions as observers. There were new seats occupied by experienced members of the Executive as Dominique Barrette and Yves Ledoux experienced their first tenures respectively as National Secretary and Treasurer.
Location of the next face-to-face meeting of the Executive will be in Montreal in the month of May 2017 as provided for in the APS By-Laws.
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