About

Members for Change is a team of candidates running for leadership positions in the 2023 Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) election. 

We share a common view of transforming our union into a democratic and active organization that works in close collaboration with other unions in the federal public service based on three pillars: Democracy, Equity, and Solidarity. 

We have been endorsed by the Solidarity Caucus, CAPE’s largest caucus grouping, made up of rank and file members building union democracy across departments.

OUR PRINCIPLES

DEMOCRACY: CAPE needs to rebuild its power from the bottom up – empowering locals and members first. 

EQUITY: CAPE must advance equity and inclusion to improve working conditions and opportunities for everyone. 

SOLIDARITY: CAPE must build relationships and act in solidarity with unions and social movements. 

WHAT IS A UNION FOR?

Unions are the only organizations that defend the interests of workers and bridge the conflicting relationship between employees and management. Unions serve a crucial purpose by negotiating fair wages, benefits, and working conditions on behalf of their members. 

By uniting workers and organizing them to defend themselves, unions create a balance of power and reduce the potential for discrimination and injustice in the workplace. Unions can also contribute to the broader fight for justice and equity in society. 

By building a strong union, we aim to create workplaces that are fair, just, and respectful, benefiting both workers and the broader working class.

WHY DO WE NEED CHANGE?

Over the past three years, our membership has been burdened by intertwining crises: 

  • An ongoing global pandemic where we delivered real goods for Canadians, and learned we can work just as productively remotely only to be bullied back to offices for no clear reason, regardless of the massive equity concerns that the pandemic exposed
  • An ongoing inflation crisis where we failed to win our lost purchasing power back through collective bargaining, despite a sister union striking to blunt the blow of those losses for all of us
  • An ongoing equity crisis, where, among other things: Black and Indigenous public servants were forced to initiate two class action lawsuits against the employer to begin to address long standing systemic racism in hiring and promotion, as well as in the workplace; many disabled public servants have seen life-changing gains enabled by telework eroded precipitously with a forced return to the office; and 2SLGBTQIA+ public servants have watched a horrific homophobic and transphobic far right insurgency threaten their safety and well-being in their communities;  
  • An historic strike by PSAC, which, despite its limitations, clearly showcased how CAPE freerides off of the risks and struggle of other unions, when we could instead be adding our power to the common struggles that federal public sector workers face

We are potentially entering an era of inflationary mass austerity and economic instability, where anti-worker forces could easily take power and immediately begin attacking and undermining our livelihoods, our workplaces, and our well-being. To be able to defend ourselves, we will need to build a democratic union that knows how to fight to win the things we need. This will require all of us getting educated on and organized for what is to come, which the current leadership of CAPE is woefully unprepared and unwilling to do. 

We are fresh off a contract bargaining round where we didn’t fight – and we lost. We took a pay cut after three years of skyrocketing inflation, and we gained no new rights on telework – our two biggest issues. We were freeriding off PSAC’s strike, receiving the same mediocre contract offer that they fought for. Our leadership was non-existent during the largest federal public service strike in Canadian history, while a rank and file solidarity caucus did the entirety of the solidarity organizing. We can’t seriously be considered to be fighting back while our leadership is mired in closed door interpersonal conflict, our decision making is as opaque as ever, and our democratic processes almost never allow the membership to make real decisions on their future.

Platform

DEMOCRACY 

CAPE needs to rebuild its power from the bottom up – empowering locals and members first.

Structural Changes 

  • Reducing the decision-making power of the CAPE President to create more opportunities for member-driven decision making. Member-driven decision making should be also executed through the introduction of binding resolutions and motions at any and all meetings of CAPE members, not just at Annual General Meetings. 
  • Building a union that welcomes and encourages the membership to set short, medium and long-term strategic priorities for the President and National Executive Committee (NEC) through exercises such as participatory budget making and strategic planning.
  • Restructuring the NEC to allow local leaders the ability to directly influence CAPE priorities and decisions. 
  • Developing policies and standards in the constitution and bylaws that hold the President, Vice-President, national executive staff, and NEC members accountable for their actions. 
  • Increasing transparency in presidential and executive pay scales, immediate changes in NEC leadership positions and subcommittees, and decisions made at NEC meetings. 

Collective Bargaining 

  • Democratizing the bargaining process so that it is truly member-led, with ongoing debate and discussion throughout the bargaining process among members on critical issues. Many other unions engage in “open bargaining,” which strengthens our position at the bargaining table by ensuring that members are mobilized and engaged. 
  • Providing equity-seeking caucus groups, local leaders, and stewards a seat at the table to advise the collective bargaining committee on priorities they would like to negotiate on an ongoing basis. 

Member Empowerment 

  • Holding regular (at least three times annually) general membership meetings to vote on decisions impacting the union. Resolutions would be debated at general meetings, with members subsequently taking a binding vote that the union would be required to implement (currently, resolutions are considered “recommendations” to the National Executive Committee). 
  • Developing a campaign strategy to educate, mobilize, and recruit the next generation of young workers to fulfill future leadership positions at CAPE, while restructuring hiring practices to encourage the hiring of CAPE members into staff positions.

Local Empowerment 

  • Holding regular training and issue-specific sessions for stewards, local leaders, and members on workplace issues and the collective bargaining process. The overarching goal would be to train local members to actively defend their interests in the workplace while developing campaign infrastructure to more effectively do so.
  • Holding an annual convention for local leaders and stewards to meet and collaborate. Here participants can learn about labour history, meet representatives from other federal public sector unions, develop sensitive OHS skills related to first-aid and mental health, and reward outstanding volunteers and local leaders of CAPE. 
  • Developing tools for members to strengthen union awareness in their own workplaces such as a “starter kit” for members looking to activate a previously inactive local, and “welcome packs” to welcome new members to their local. 
  • Providing unique and accommodating support for regional locals. This includes training that is held in regional time zones and French translation services upon request. 

EQUITY 

CAPE must advance equity and inclusion to improve working conditions for everyone. 

Structural Changes 

  • Redesigning the Equity Committee to have standing positions on the NEC and regularly advise the CAPE executive on equity challenges facing the membership, both in and outside of the workplace.
  • Fostering culture change within the union to encourage the leadership of and development of policy by our diverse membership, including people with disabilities, members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, women, Indigenous, Black and racialized persons, and caregivers.
  • Creating caucus groups for equity-seeking groups to advise the NEC, initiate CAPE initiatives, and influence bargaining priorities.  

Accessibility & Inclusivity 

  • Supporting student interns and co-operative students in the federal public service to defend themselves as workers and organize. By working with other federal public service unions, we can collaboratively equip and empower student workers with the tools and resources they need.
  • Pushing for a progressive dues structure to replace the current regressive flat dues structure, so the lowest-paid members pay proportionally lower dues than the highest-paid
  • Building universal accessibility and disability justice into the return to office in accordance with the Accessible Canada Act and the principles of disability justice. 
  • Building a union that mandates the membership to set equity-driven strategic priorities. 
  • Providing tools and resources for members wishing to strengthen their English and French language skills, while pushing the employer to dramatically increase Official Language training capacity. 
  • Supporting remote work and hiring practices in regions outside of the NCR that diversify the public service’s representation and skills. 

SOLIDARITY 

CAPE must build relationships and act in solidarity with labour organizations and social movements. 

Structural Changes 

  • Creating a Mobilization Committee whose mandate is to build relationships and engage in initiatives with other unions and community organizations.
  • Developing a strong culture of self-defence and strengthening our defence fund so that CAPE does not have to rely on other unions to fight for its members.
  • Working closely with other National Joint Council unions to develop a common and united bargaining approach, so we can make united contract gains by the next bargaining round.
  • Creating inter-union caucuses at CAPE such as a stewards caucus and rank and file caucus that includes representatives from The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and The Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO).

Labour & Social Movement 

  • Building a union that welcomes and encourages the membership to set strategic priorities in the area of solidarity.  
  • Using the CAPE platform to support labour movements driven by workers within the public service, Canada, and abroad. 
  • Contributing materially to parallel labour movements and campaigns for justice in the federal public service (eg.. Black Class Action lawsuit).
  • Taking on leadership roles in committees and caucuses at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the largest labour organization in Canada. The CLC unites dozens of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour and community-based labour councils.

Key Issues

Return to Office (RTO):

Despite working productively outside the office since the emergence of COVID-19, the Employer continues to force a One-Size-Fits-All solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. There is no evidence-based rationale for the Common Hybrid Model, especially given it disproportionately impacts members of equity deserving groups. As a first step, we will demand greater transparency on the decision-making process for RTO while demanding a new workplace model, particularly for members outside of the NCR who have been left in the dark. 

Telework:

Public servants have proven that they can work effectively and deliver for Canadians from home. Employees demonstrated the ability to work unsupervised while attaining huge improvements in work/life balance. Full-time telework created the opportunity to hire talent from across the country, ensuring a more representative public service (particularly for remote regions and Indigenous people). We will continue to fight for the inclusion of substantial telework provisions in future collective agreements, in recognition of the immense improvements in work/life balance for members and productivity gains for Canadians and the Employer. This will require a serious mobilization and a firm bargaining position if we are to gain new rights, which we will build with other unions fighting for the same. 

Duty to Accommodate (DTA):

We will continue working to remove punitive and stressful administrative burdens that the Employer is currently placing on our members in Duty to Accommodate requests. We will push for the Employer to not only meet its legal obligations, but provide accommodations to allow all employees to participate fully, to the point of undue hardship. Many of the members that are seeking access to telework as a proven accommodation measure through the DTA process have disabilities (visible and invisible), chronic illnesses and other unique lived experiences that are acutely and negatively aggravated by the Employer’s intransigence on this issue.

Right to Disconnect (RTD):

Along with unfounded demands to report to offices, members are experiencing increased expectations to be available outside traditional hours of work. In addition, they’re asked to work remotely when sick, or encouraged not to be sick on in-office days, resulting in more employees coming to the worksite while ill. We acknowledge that, with changing experiences in location of work, members feel heightened expectations to be available outside of traditional working hours and feel pressured to work remotely when sick. We will fight to include strong RTD language in future collective agreements to protect the mental health and work/life balance of members.

Phoenix:

We acknowledge that issues with the Phoenix pay system continue to impact members, particularly for those transferring between departments, changing classifications, or taking parental leave. All workers deserve to be paid for their labour. We will leverage our relationships with other unions to organize solidarity efforts for members affected by the faulty Phoenix pay system and fight for solutions.

COVID-19:

The ongoing pandemic continues to endanger all public servants’ health and longevity, but especially those who are medically vulnerable. We will continue to demand that the Employer address increasingly invasive variants and the coming rise in disability due to organ damage (kidney, pancreas, brain, heart, etc.) in order to protect employees and ensure continuity of service for Canadians.

Workplace Health and Safety:

Through a worldwide pandemic, extreme heat and storms, and the country literally burning, the Employer has failed to provide a safe work environment (which includes the trip to and from work), as required under the Canada Labour Code and continues to push in-office presence despite many scientifically proven risks. Further, an increased uptick in harassment of trans members in particular will require a robust response from our union if we are to create safe working environments. We will demand safe workplaces for all members, while fighting against the root causes of the force that make our workplace unsafe. 

Workforce Adjustments (WFA):

In times of fiscal restraint, members may understandably worry about being able to keep their jobs. We will communicate and work with members to support them throughout any WFA exercise in the Government of Canada, while working with other unions to fight back against public servants being the scapegoat for fiscal crises. We will work closely with other bargaining agents to develop a common strategy to fight back against job cuts – public servants should not be made a scapegoat for fiscal crises they did not create.

Mental health and burnout:

Members have been subject to increasingly unattainable expectations without resourcing to reach these goals. The Employer continues to offer individual solutions (Employee Assistance Program, one-off mental health events) to systemic problems, all while the 2022/23 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) indicates nearly one on five employees had high or very high levels of work-related stress, with the top two reasons being heavy workload and not having enough employees to do the work. Almost twenty percent would not describe their workplace as being psychologically healthy. We will continue to fight for better conditions for all employees, while building up strong locals that can effectively respond to their conditions.

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Candidates

Nathan Prier

Nathan Prier

ISED (CAPE President)

Hi, My name is Nathan Prier, and I use he/him/il pronouns. I’m a senior economist at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, where I’ve worked since 2019 on a number of files. I’m running to be President, along with the rest of my colleagues in the Members for Change team, to make our …

Annie Yeo

Annie Yeo

ESDC (CAPE EC/LOP/OPBO Vice-President)

My name is Annie Yeo, I use she/her pronouns, and I’m running to be your EC/LOP/OPBO Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE). I have been a policy analyst at Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Program since starting my career as a co-op student. As …

Alexander Petras

Alexander Petras

INFC (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Alexander Petras. I use [he/him] pronouns. I’m currently an analyst at Infrastructure Canada (INFC), where I have worked since 2019. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, an…

Alexis-Nicolas Brabant

Alexis-Nicolas Brabant

ISED (EC Director)

My name is Alexis Brabant. I use He/Him pronouns. I’m a Policy Analyst based in Montréal who works at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my cowork…

Bogdan Panasyuk

Bogdan Panasyuk

ESDC (EC Director)

Dear Colleagues, As you are probably aware, our union has faced some difficulties in the past few years and I share your frustration with the way some of the events unfolded. In particular, many of us are unhappy with: The Return-To-Office policy; Secretive collective bargaining with an underwhelmi…

Carmelle Goldberg

Carmelle Goldberg

EC Director

Hi, My name is Carmelle Goldberg. I use she/her/elle pronouns. I’m a Senior Policy Analyst in Public Services and Procurement Canada since 2023. I have worked in diverse positions in the federal government for over six years. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help buil…

Douglas Hagar

Douglas Hagar

TC (EC Director)

I’m Douglas Hagar.  As a candidate for NEC Director, I’m fueled by a bold vision: transforming CAPE into a democratic, member-driven organization, fully integrated into the labour movement. I am seeking to help fortify our defenses against future assaults on wages and working conditions. My journey …

Frank Assu

Frank Assu

TC (EC Director)

Hello, my name is Frank Assu. I am an Indeterminate EC-06 Senior Program Policy Analyst at Transport Canada. Who am I? I am a member of the We Wai Kai first nation, of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribes of British Columbia.  I was raised and trained to be a cultural leader and historian in my community and am…

Greer Brabazon

Greer Brabazon

CIRNAC (EC Director)

Greer Brabazon (she/her) is a Senior Policy Analyst with Treaties & Aboriginal Government at Crown-Indigenous Relations in the NCR and has been with the department for over 3 years. Greer is running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and pro…

Julia Szwarc

Julia Szwarc

NRCan (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Julia Szwarc. I use she/her pronouns. I’m a Policy Analyst at Natural Resources Canada where I have worked since 2020. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CAPE mem…

Lily Spek

Lily Spek

NRCan (EC Director)

Hello, My name is Lily Spek. I use she/her/elle pronouns. I’ve been a Policy Analyst and Free Agent at Natural Resources Canada since 2016. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CA…

Masha Davidovic

Masha Davidovic

LAC (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Masha Davidović (she/her). I work at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) as an analyst, and have been a member of CAPE local 519 for over five years. I am a first-generation immigrant and a transgender woman. This election year, I’m excited to be running with the Members for Chang…

Megan Wylie

Megan Wylie

NRCan (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Megan Wylie and I’ve been a Policy Analyst with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) since 2022. I use she/her/elle pronouns. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CAPE …

Michel Larcher

Michel Larcher

INFC (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Michel Larcher. I use he/him pronouns. I have been an analyst at Infrastructure Canada since 2021. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CAPE members. Who am I? I h…

Neil Burron

Neil Burron

ESDC (EC Director)

I am running as a member of a team committed to bringing progressive change to our union. Together, Members for Change will build a stronger union with a mobilized membership and organized locals in the workplace. A union that practices a deep level of democracy and that works closely with other uni…

Nora Curti

Nora Curti

CIRNAC (EC Director)

My name is Nora Curti (she/her) and I’m running for an EC Director position on the National Executive Committee (NEC). I’m a long-time federal public servant and volunteer with CAPE local 301. Motivation for Running: I’m motivated to run because I am passionate about increasing regional representati…

Rutvi Ajmera

Rutvi Ajmera

ISED (EC Director)

Hi, My name is Rutvi Ajmera. I use she/her pronouns. I’m a departmental advisor  at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CAPE …

Sydney Holmes

Sydney Holmes

WAGE (EC Director)

My name is Sydney Holmes (she/her). I have been a Policy Officer at Women and Gender Equality Canada since February 2022. I’m running with the Members for Change team in this election to help build a transparent, effective, and progressive union for myself, my coworkers, and all CAPE members. Who am…

Trevor Green

Trevor Green

TC (EC Director)

Good day, My name is Trevor Green, I use he/him pronouns. I am a research and analysis officer with Transport Canada since summer of 2022. I am a regional employee working out of Montreal with a team based in the NCR. I am also the President of CAPE Local 506. When I am not working you can find me o…

Carey Hill

Carey Hill

EC Director

I am Carey Hill and I use (she/her/elle) pronouns. I am running for EC Director of CAPE with Members for Change to help build a more democratic, transparent and progressive union. I am so pleased to be running alongside these amazing individuals. I believe in a democratic union that celebrates diver…

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Members for Change has been endorsed by the Solidarity Caucus. To find out more or get involved, click here.

Endorsements:

Solidarity Caucus

Alex Silas

Alex Silas

Regional Executive Vice President for the National Capital Region, PSAC

Alysha Aziz

Alysha Aziz

a member at Local 514

Glenn Carroll

Glenn Carroll

President Local 526 (Infrastructure Canada)

Juno Garrah

Juno Garrah

President Local 520

Michael McCormick

President local 522 (IRCC)

Alex Miller

Alex Miller

President, Local 527 (FIN/TBS)

Liam Lynch

Former President Local 514

Declan Ingham

Declan Ingham

Former Local 514 Director of Organizing

Emily Howard and Tyler Paziuk

Emily Howard and Tyler Paziuk

President and Vice President, Local 501 (IRB)