National Newswatch

Federal government walks away from bargaining, says union, prompting strike talk

Sep 7 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The country's biggest public-sector union says it's preparing for potential post-election strike action after accusing the government of walking away from contract talks affecting more than 70,000 federal employees. The Public Service Alliance of Canada had gone back to the bargaining table on Sept. 1, and was sounding optimistic as late as Friday that […]

Union, federal government under pressure to reach a deal before election

Sep 6 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The country's biggest public-sector union says it's prepared to stay at the bargaining table with the federal government to reach a new contract for more than 70,000 of its members as the clock ticks toward a general election campaign. The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents about 140,000 federal employees, returned to […]

Major parties rallying around telecom pricing issue as election nears

Aug 31 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — Consumer advocates say a rare consensus is forming among the major political parties ahead of the federal election that Canadians need protecting from gouging by the country's big telecom companies. It's being called phone-bill populism, and it could be a make-or-break issue for the parties as they head toward the Oct. 21 vote. […]

PM’s official residence becoming a costly ‘debacle,’ say Conservatives

Jul 22 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — Nearly four years after Justin Trudeau opted not to move into the prime minister's official residence over concerns about its crumbling state, the building remains vacant — except for staff who continue to use the kitchen to prepare meals for Trudeau and his family. And it appears no decisions will be made on the […]

Expert body calls for expanded rules to fix news-outlet tax credit status

Jul 18 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The federal government should increase the scope of tax credits being made available to help small news-media outlets survive, an independent panel of experts recommended in a report issued Thursday. The tax credit program being offered by the federal Liberals will not be enough on its own to prevent the disappearance of some news […]

Panellists quit corporate responsibility panel citing ‘erosion of trust’

Jul 12 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — Citing an erosion of trust, civil society and labour representatives have resigned from a panel set up to advise the federal government on ensuring Canadian firms operating abroad are accountable for how they conduct themselves. The 14 members withdrew from the "multi-stakeholder advisory body on responsible business conduct" Thursday, complaining that a newly […]

Pay-worker retention deal expires, renewing concerns about Phoenix backlog

Jul 4 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The lapse of an agreement that gave retention bonuses to federal pay centre employees could halt — or even reverse — progress that's been made in reducing a massive backlog of pay problems generated by the government's troubled Phoenix pay system, employees warn. "People are tired, they're frustrated, they're burning out," said Donna […]

Deals on paid time off for domestic violence ‘beginning of a wave,’ says expert

Jun 22 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — Several new deals reached between the federal government and one of its biggest civil-service unions that allow paid time off for victims of domestic violence are the start of a trend, says an academic expert on violence against women and children. The tentative agreements, reached late last month with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada […]

Ottawa to launch ‘pay experiments’ as next step to replace Phoenix pay system

Jun 12 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The federal government could soon revert to using multiple pay systems to replace the Phoenix system it adopted more than three years ago in a costly, failed attempt to streamline how it pays its employees. The government announced Wednesday that it had formally picked three vendors to experiment in the coming months with possible replacements […]

Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

May 19 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the government's troubled Phoenix pay system will present the Liberals with options within weeks that are expected to include "multiple pilot projects," government officials say. The plan could pit at least two of the three potential bidders on the projects against each other in a competition to […]

Trudeau Liberals link ‘reckless’ Ontario budget with Scheer’s Conservatives

Apr 12 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are attacking the Ontario Progressive Conservative government's first budget since Doug Ford was elected premier, hoping voters across the country will connect the document's cuts to social spending and the yet-to-be-announced policy leanings of Andrew Scheer's Conservatives. The provincial budget proposes cuts in post-secondary education and social services, scaling back […]

Questions about who qualifies surround journalism supports in federal budget

Mar 22 2019 — Terry Pedwell — OTTAWA — Concerns are being raised about limits to who might qualify for aid under a section of this week's federal budget geared toward supporting journalism, and whether the money will, in the long run, save a sector of Canada's media industry that has been in financial freefall for a decade. Tuesday’s federal budget disclosed new details about the […]