Union School Info Sessions Program

Fighting for change in my workplace and my community


The Info Sessions offered on the Friday, will be followed by workshops on Saturday, where participants will develop action plans for activities that will be realised over the course of the following 12 months.

The selection of info sessions and workshops will take place the morning of the event.  You must attend at least 4 info sessions.

All info sessions will be held with simultaneous interpretation in English and French to allow you to follow and to interact in the language of your choice.



9:30 to 10:30 – Des Fêtes Boardroom

2019 federal elections: what role can unions play?

  • In the 2015 election, there was a mobilization of unions and grassroots groups to defeat the Conservatives. The political landscape for 2019 has changed. The Liberals are weak, the NDP is in internal crisis and the Conservatives are back as a political alternative. What actions should unions consider during the campaign? What are the potential threats to public services and labour relations?
    Daniel Lessard, ex-journalist and columnist and Morna Ballantyne, Senior Advisor to the National President, PSAC

9:30 to 10:30 – Gatineau Boardroom

Grievance case law and trends

  • This session will focus on an overview of recent grievance decisions in Canada, particularly in the public sector. How do administrative tribunals judge human rights, accommodation, harassment and bullying: cases?

    Amy Kishek, Legal Officer and Nina Ziolkowski, Grievance and Adjudication Officer, PSAC

10:45 to 11:45 – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Tax havens, public services and income tax: what do they have in common?

  • Why do we accept that governments tolerate tax havens? What are the reasons to explain that the richest can shelter some of their wealth from taxes? What are the consequences for public services and for democracy?
    Pierre-Antoine Harvey, economist, Centrale des syndicats du Québec and Toby Sanger, Executive Director, Canadians for Tax Fairness

10:45 to 11:45 – Gatineau Boardroom

Mental health and the workplace

  • More and more workers are dealing with mental health issues. The workplace is a place where stress and workload can increase problems. In addition to a guest speaker who will share his experience, the Co-Chair of the Center of Expertise on Workplace Mental Health in the Public Service will explain the work of the Center and will talk about the pressure on public sector employees in the workplace and how to assist them.
    Denis St-Jean, Co-chair of the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace and Daniel Toutant, National Vice-President for Human Rights, Union of National Employees (PSAC)


1:15 to 2:15 – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Labour relations and unionism in Ontario following Doug Ford’s election

  • How has the new Premier changed, or will he change labour relations in Ontario? What are the consequences for unions, especially in the public sector?
    Karen Cocq, Workers’ Action Centre and Melisa Bayon, Director, Political Action and Outreach, Ontario Federation of Labour

1:15 to 2:15 – Gatineau Boardroom

Is the Outaouais region being left behind on education and health care?

  • For health, education and social services, the Outaouais Region does not receive its fair share of funding from Quebec’s government. An IRIS study for Équité Outaouais showed that smaller Quebec regions receive more money per capita. Education programs are more diverse and the number of health and social service professionals is higher. What are the solutions?
    Bertrand Schepper, researcher, Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) and Suzanne Tremblay, Équité Outaouais and Syndicat de l’enseignement de l’Outaouais

2:30 to 3:30 – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Unionism in this age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

  • Union mobilization is more difficult. There are no big gatherings of thousands of people in front of Parliament anymore. People interact on social media, give their opinion, but do not seem ready to move, vote, demonstrate or act to make their voices heard. How should unions adapt to this reality?
    Riccardo Filippone, Director, Communications, Political Action and Campaigns, AFPC and Katrina Miller, Director of Programs, Broadbent Institute

2:30 to 3:30 – Gatineau Boardroom

Motivating and guiding activists: how to make sure they stay active without burning out

  • The organizing model advocated by the PSAC is based on the work of hundreds of activists, trained and mobilized. However, recruitment is difficult. Rotation within Locals is high. Mental health issues in the workplace exhaust the activists. How do we ensure that activists do not burn themselves out?
    Serge Beaulieu, Education Officer, Fédération des travailleuses et travailleurs du Québec and Mojdeh Cox, Director, Anti-Racism and Human Rights, Canadian Labour Congress

3:45 to 4:45 – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Union work in the field: being present and relevant in the workplace

  • What role can Local union leaders play in an increasingly diverse, fragmented workplace? How do we reach members and get them succeeding interested them in the work of their union? Are there new models that work?
    Héloise Varin, Syndicat des travailleuses et des travailleurs étudiants et postdoctoraux de l’Université Laval; Isabelle Beaudoin, Local 70130, Union of National Employees; Patrick St-Georges, Third Executive National Vice-President, Agriculture Union

Agenda OF THE WORKSHOPS ON January 19


9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Workshop 1: Tax havens, Doug Ford and the sub-funding of health and education in the Outaouais: What’s the common thread?

9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. – Gatineau Boardroom

Workshop 2: Unionism 2.0. The new technological tools are easy to access. Is this enough to mobilize our members?


1:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. – Des Fêtes Boardroom

Workshop 3: How should we prepare for the 2019 Federal Elections?

1:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. – Gatineau Boardroom

Workshop 4: Mental health: What are the tools we need to ensure a healthier workplace. How can our union help?