This year’s National Council was held on the weekend of November 3, 2018, at the Toronto CBC Broadcast Centre.
This annual meeting serves as a forum for the Association’s orientation and is also as a reference point for an update on the activities which took place during the year coming to a close. As a matter of fact, the APS timeline chart brings to understand why this major event leads to the beginning of November as the end of our annual cycle.
Why in November?
The Association’s fiscal year ends on June 30 of each year. As of that date, our By-Laws provides a schedule to plan out all the series of events closing with the National Council meeting in November. The call for applications are submitted in August, the publication of the financial statements at the end of September and the Members’ Annual General Assembly in November. These events are structured around the end of our fiscal year.
As first obligation ensuing from the end of the fiscal year is the production of the Association’s financial statements. This process consists in transmitting the Association’s financial data to the external auditors who are given a deadline of 60 business days to submit the statement of income results. However, it is in August or after the end of the fiscal year that the nominations are launched for the positions to be filled in the organization. The duration of this period extends to 10 business days. All the APS positions entail two-year terms. Alternating every two years, we have a Notice of Election for the National President, the National Secretary and the National Treasurer and the other year the regional directors’ positions. The local elections in Toronto and Montreal are covered in the same year as the regional officers.
The elections are supervised by way of the Office of the APS National Secretariat, via an electronic procedure by using the services of an external firm specialized in the organization of ballots. This year we asked to withdraw the obligation to proceed by electronic vote for the selection of the firm of external auditors since the positions are filled by acclamation most frequently. In these circumstances, the appeal to the national vote to confirm the appointment of the external auditors turns out in a costly expenditure only to confirm a decision already adopted by the National Executive Committee. In regard to the local votes, the elections to fill the positions of Montreal and Toronto Officers are held before September 7, at the annual meetings of each local organization.
Although there is no target date for the voting process with the participating members, the consultations are done in October so that the results are unveiled during the Members’ Annual General Assembly at the beginning of November. The sequence of the activities stems from provisions in Article 10.05 of the By-Laws which sets a term of 15 business days after the audited financial statements approved by the National Officers, to communicate to the members the date and the information relative to the National Council meeting and the Members’ Annual General Assembly.
The Content of the National Council
Along the years, the National Council agendas steadied around the reports delivered by the main actors of the organization. There was a time when these meetings revolved around joint discussions or in the presence of guest speakers. But with the increase of various committees and complexity of the workloads, the councils of today serve especially to shed light on the union’s actions carried out through the course of the year coming to an end.
This year, the beginning of the session starred the officers responsible for the several regions of the country who reported the activities and locally real-life concerns. Marcel Arsenault’s absence on a work mission in Iqaluit prevented us from receiving news from Eastern Canada, but all the other regional officials provided their activity reports.
For Montreal – Stéphane Désautels, President
For Toronto – Nathan Farr, President
For Ottawa – Daniel Lavigne, Director
For Western Region – David MacFarlane, Director
The meeting followed with the activity reports from the National Treasurer and the National Secretary.
Yves Ledoux drafted a final broad outline of his mandate as National Treasurer during the last two years by presenting an overview of the new investment policy he implemented, the reduction in telecom, licenses and maintenance fees. He also pointed that he centralized the billing system.
Dominique Barrette also presented her last membership presentation outlining the fluctuations to the end of the year.
The officers responsible for their specialized committee also gave an overview of their activities:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from David MacFarlane
National Health and Safety from Nathan Farr
Website status from Jennifer Barrett
At the core of the various activities’ reports are the ones from the National President, Mario Poudrier and the General Manager, Claude Beausoleil.
The first one announced we had a very busy year including the renewal of a ten-year agreement on the 0.1% contributions per employee for the increases in expenses of the social benefits and mentioned the numerous litigation before the courts. The General Manager provided a general profile of the many grievances settled throughout the year as well as those which are still active. He also announced a new plaint for the claims of a large majority of the APS membership from the SCRC (FNC-CSN) and from the Guild (Canadian Media Guild) before the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).
During the Council’s deliberations, the delegates intervene as they please as much for the questions as for the suggestions. For example, changes were brought to the website structure resulting in important savings. It is also there that originated the consultation with the members to poll the perception of the individuals towards their union through a perception survey.
As usual, President Mario Poudrier led the proceedings so that the day would end as scheduled at 17:00 sharp. It is definitely a great improvement on past meetings that dwelled into the evening or worse until the next morning.
The APS By-Laws provide the obligation to hold two face-to-face National Executive Committee meetings each year. This is the reason that the Sunday following the National Council is always used to fulfill half of that obligation. The other Executive meetings are held through telephone conferences.
It was on Sunday, November 4, that President Mario Poudrier declared the opening of the meeting regrouping some ten members of the Executive. As he has done now for many years, Mario enlarged the attendance by inviting all participating members of the National Council held the day before to join in as observers.
Two major decisions were on the agenda; the replacements Dominique Barrette and Isabelle Benoit. The first one was due to Dominique’s departure from CBC and the second due to the election for the position of National Treasurer. Dominique had been elected to the position of National Secretary by acclamation in mid-August causing the National Executive to appoint a successor to replace her. Daniel Lavigne, the Ottawa Regional Director, got the nod from the executive to replace Dominique. On a practical side, the nomination made sense because of the physical proximity involved. One of the major responsibilities of the National Secretary is representation duties on the CCSB (Consultative Committee on Social Benefits). That Committee is established in Ottawa where it holds all of its meetings, therefore eliminating travelling expenses for Daniel’s attendance. But there is much more to Daniel’s appointment. That nomination promotes him to the second-highest level of authority in APS. Among others, the National Secretary has the responsibility to replace the President in case of absence.
For Isabelle, the situation was more complex. She was sitting on the Executive as the second representative of the Montreal local Branch. In such capacity, she was representing members from outside Montreal, in the rest of Quebec. Each of the two largest branches, Montreal and Toronto are allowed two representatives on the National Executive. Those nominations originate from the local executive levels. The replacement, therefore, will be coming out of a decision made by the Montreal Local Executive according to the By-Laws. But Isabelle was also sitting as a member of the Investment Committee which is the responsibility of the National Executive Committee. For that strategic nomination, the Executive Committee chose Calum McLeod from Toronto. Calum comes to us with a solid background in finance having held similar positions with another union of the CBC. He is also the one representing us on the Pension Fund Board as one of the only two union representatives sitting that committee. Calum will then become part of our team for CCSB dealings along with Mario and Daniel for the APS team.
Outstanding issues remain to be settled: the replacement of Isabelle Benoit as the second Montreal member of the National Executive Committee to be decided by the Montreal Branch. Also, the replacement of Daniel Lavigne as Director for the Ottawa Region, by an interim mandate will be decided by the National Executive. APS Regional Directors are elected on two-year mandates; besides Ottawa, the other Regional Directors represent the Eastern and Western parts of the country. When a vacancy occurs, the interim nomination stands until the end of the mandate which will be in 2019 in this case.
In closing then, the National Executive is pleased to announce the arrival of those two new players in their respective new roles; Daniel Lavigne from Ottawa and Calum McLeod from Toronto.
This year’s National Council held in Toronto on the weekend of November 3 marked an important changing of the guard at the top of the APS pyramid of power.
On one side there was the opening left for the position of National Treasurer as a result of Yves Ledoux’s retirement from CBC after a long and productive career while the other was the opening for the position of National Secretary as the result of a career change on the part of Dominique Barrette.
For the National Treasurer’s position, the replacement was organized through the voting process which resulted in the election of Isabelle Benoit as our new Treasurer. For the National Secretary’s position, we had to rely on the Association’s By-Laws due to Dominique’s resignation date. Dominique was selected for her new job outside the Corporation in September, after her election to the National Secretary’s position. In such a situation, our rules provide for the nomination of an interim replacement by the National Executive to complete the mandate. Daniel Lavigne, also from Ottawa was designated as Dominique’s interim successor at the National Executive Committee Meeting at the Broadcast Centre in Toronto, on November 4, 2018.
In both cases, the APS family was losing officers that had left their mark in their respective functions.
In the case of Yves, the commitment was a long-standing affair dating from the very beginning of APS. He had been recruited by the very first APS National Secretary, Marc Lapierre while both of them were working at the ex-Engineering CBC Headquarters in Côte-Saint Luc. Yves’ union career evolved at all the levels of the organization. Starting as a participating member, he reached the local executive level as a Director for the Montreal Branch followed by National level responsibilities as National Secretary and then as National Treasurer.
He is retiring by leaving us with the legacy of our new Investment Policy which will give us access to higher returns on interests while preserving as always the integrity of our capital assets
As for Dominique, she is leaving with much shorter seniority standing but still with a sound legacy. She reorganized our membership monitoring system to provide stronger fluctuation control and mainly, a user-friendly monthly report system opening up easy access to all.
Dominique was the one who also launched our very first feedback survey system to measure the members’ perceptions toward their union (Perception Survey). Her involvement with APS was the spark leading her to a career switch in favour of union work.
Thus two departures saluted warmly by all those who attended this year’s National Council. The weekend also marked the ultimate attendance of Jeff Gardiner at an APS National Council. On top of his unfailing presence through the years, Jeff is also leaving us with a record which will prove hard to beat for distance travelled as our delegate from Yellowknife.
The best for your retirement Jeff !
This year the Annual General Assembly of Members was held at the Toronto Broadcast Centre in the heart of Ontario’s capital. More precisely, it started promptly at nine AM on Sunday, November 4, 2018, because of the procedure tied to the electronic voting arrangements. The two Election Officers responsible for the disclosure of the results represented respectively the English and the French Networks. They were the ones connecting to access the results and afterward unveiling them to the General Assembly. David MacFarlane from Edmonton was representing the English Network while Sébastien Fleurant was officiating for the French Network. Sébastien was replacing Marcel Arsenault, the original nominee who could not attend. Marcel had to be excused because of a work assignment in Iqaluit.
Three different votes were submitted to the 407 voting members of APS. The participation rate for the election was recorded at 45.45%, a percentage slightly higher than the ones recorded in previous years.
For the position of National Treasurer of the Association the winner is Isabelle Benoit from Montreal, a clear choice with an impressive 55.68% of the votes (103 votes). In order, the two other candidates Jerry Ding and Gary Gornik respectively received 29.19% and 15.14% of the votes. Members attending the event were enthusiastic in congratulating the winner. The President Mario Poudrier also congratulated the other candidates while saluting the presence of Jerry Ding and extended his invitation to continue participating in the association as a valued member of the Investment Committee.
The Other Votes
Two other votes were submitted to members: the nomination of external auditors and the abrogation of the compulsory national consultation for the nomination of those auditors.
The proposal from the National Executive Committee to appoint the accounting firm Désormeaux Patenaude Inc. to produce the financial statements for the fiscal year 2018-2019 was accepted with a 77.84% approval rate (144 votes).
However the vote to abandon a national election for the selection of the auditors did not reach the standard affixed in our national By-Laws. To authorize a change in the By-Laws a minimum of 66% of the votes recorded at the election has to be reached. In this consultation only 57.30% of voters (106 votes) opted to support the proposal to eliminate the national vote for the nomination of external auditors; in other words, less than 10% of the requirement. However strict opposition to the proposal was not that strong with only 32 members (17.30%) actually voting against the measure. The failure to reach the mark was caused by the large number of 47 abstentions (25.41%). Grounds for reflection as this result means we will again hold a national vote next year for the nomination of external auditors.