Skip to main content


The federal government is accusing a key public-sector union of not bargaining in good faith, and, as a result, has filed a complaint with Canada’s labour relations board.

In a statement Friday, the Treasury Board of Canada said the Public Service Alliance of Canada has demonstrated an unwillingness to reach agreements during an ongoing round of negotiations, leading to its complaint to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

“From the start of negotiations in June 2021, the PSAC has flooded the bargaining tables with costly proposals – over 500 across its five bargaining units. At the same time, they have refused to prioritize their requests, refused to move on their initial proposals, and did not respond to the employer’s comprehensive offers,” said the statement.

Although the statement said renewed collective agreements can be secured if both parties come together with a genuine intent to negotiate, it added that “it is clear that the PSAC is seeking to precipitate a strike without making every reasonable effort to enter into a collective agreement.”

But the union disputed the claims of the federal government, saying that the government’s action are a stalling tactic to deny more than 165,000 workers who have been in talks for more than 18 months a fair contract.

PSAC National President Chris Aylward said, in a statement, that the government expects workers to take a real pay cut by accepting a wage offer below inflation, have refused to negotiate remote work and better work-life balance, and have rejected union calls for mandatory anti-oppression training for all workers and managers.

“There’s no doubt the best way to reach a fair contract is at the negotiating table – but it’s becoming clearer every day: the only way we’ll reach an agreement with this government that supports workers is with a strong strike mandate from our members,” Mr. Aylward said.

For that reason, Mr. Aylward said the union has announced strike votes for its 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers, and is moving toward potential job action for federal public service workers at Treasury Board, who make up another 120,000 of their members.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


COMMONS COMMITTEE TO LAUNCH NEW REVIEW OF ROGERS TAKEOVER OF SHAW – A House of Commons industry and technology committee is preparing to call a second public hearing into Rogers Communications Inc.’s proposed $20-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. before the end of the month, according to sources. Story here.

JAPAN’S PM PRESSES TRUDEAU ON LNG – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a global energy crisis and he pressed Justin Trudeau on Thursday to supply reliable liquefied natural gas to Tokyo to replace Russian oil and gas. Story here.

FIRST NATION OFFERS PLAN TO TEST FOR UNMARKED GRAVES – A Saskatchewan First Nation that announced it had discovered hundreds of subterranean “anomalies” during a search for unmarked graves is the first in almost two years of such discoveries in Canada to offer a clear blueprint to determine what definitively lies underground. Story here.

N.S. WOMAN DIES AT HOME AFTER SEVEN-HOUR ER WAIT – The family of a Nova Scotia woman says she died at home after waiting seven hours without seeing a doctor and deciding to leave the emergency department. Story here.

INDIGENOUS WOMEN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO HIGHLIGHT MISSING AND MURDERED WOMEN – Indigenous women are taking to TikTok and other social-media platforms to cast the spotlight on unsolved cases of missing and murdered members of their community, and to find new leads in cases they allege have not been properly investigated by the police. Story here.

FURTHER CANADIAN SANCTIONS AGAINST HAITIAN ELITES – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has announced new sanctions against two more Haitian political elites. Story here.

MINISTER DEFENDS IMMIGRATION LEVELS – As Canada plans to significantly ramp up its immigration levels in the coming years, some policy experts are worried about potential effects on health care, housing and the labour market. But Immigration Minister Sean Fraser insists that Canada needs more newcomers to address labour shortages and demographic changes that threaten the country’s future. Story here.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CRITICIZES CANADA – A new report from Human Rights Watch criticizes Canada for violating the rights of Indigenous people and immigration detainees, and for not doing enough to address human rights issues abroad. Story here.

SMITH BACKS OFF PARDONS FOR COVID-19 HEALTH VIOLATORS – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, less than three months after promising to seek pardons for COVID-19 health violators, says she will now let justice take its course. Story here.

STEFANSON MAKES STAFF CHANGES AS ELECTION LOOMS – Months out from an election and low in the polls, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is making changes, parting ways with two senior staff she brought in not long ago. Story here.

REPORTED HATE CRIMES UP IN OTTAWA – The number of hate crimes reported in the nation’s capital increased 13 per cent in 2022 over the previous year, reflecting a rise over the last few years. Story here from CTV. There’s a statement here from the Ottawa Police Service.

CINNAMON ROLLS RULED OUT AS FACTOR IN MUNICIPAL ELECTION WIN – A B.C. Supreme Court judge has rejected the claim of a former village mayor that an election rival buttered up voters with pastries, Story here from CBC.


HOUSE ON A BREAK – The House of Commons is on a break until Jan. 30.

MINISTERS ON THE ROAD – Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, in Waterloo, Ont., announced details of a $36-million plan to bolster Canadian research, talent and commercialization in quantum science. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan continues an official visit to Barbados and Jamaica.

POILIEVRE SPEECH – Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was scheduled to speak to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg, according to an announcement from the centre. Mr. Poilievre participated in a fundraising event in the Manitoba capital on Thursday evening.

WRONG WILKINSON – The e-mailed version of Thursday’s edition of the politics newsletter described Andrew Wilkinson as the federal natural resources minister. In fact, Jonathan Wilkinson, a B.C. MP, is the natural resources minister. The B.C. roots of this newsletter author may be showing. Andrew Wilkinson is the former leader of the B.C. Liberals, who resigned that post and, eventually, his seat in the B.C. legislature after failing to lead the Liberals to power in the province’s 2020 election. In addition to being British Columbians, the two Wilkinsons have something else in common: They were both Rhodes scholars.


Private meetings in Ottawa.


No schedules released for party leaders.


On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Josef Federman, the news director of the Associated Press for Israel, talks about plans by Israel’s new far-right government to overhaul the country’s justice system – going so far as seeking to create a law that would allow parliament to override the Supreme Court. The Decibel is here.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Canada’s airline passenger bill of rights isn’t working, unless you happen to own an airline: “The cascading flight cancellations over the Christmas holiday period, during which hundreds of passengers were stranded for days in Canadian airports, has roused Ottawa into a pantomime of action. On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is ‘looking at strengthening’ the rules that protect the rights of airline passengers. And the Canadian Transportation Agency – the industry regulator that also serves as a tribunal for settling airline passenger complaints – said this week it will extend decisions on individual complaints to other passengers from the same flight. That’s all very nice but it ignores the real problem – that Canada’s passenger rights regime is fundamentally flawed.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra could show a little more red-hot anger at airlines: “Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is a nice guy and that’s a liability at a moment when people want him to be mean. The holiday travel disruptions that left a lot of Canadians stranded – struggling to rebook, or find luggage, or figure out when the heck they can go home – has built up anger against airlines and airports. The villagers are gathering, and they’re looking around for pitchforks. In the meantime, Mr. Alghabra has sounded measured, or powerless, tweeting that the situation was unacceptable.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how Canada’s F-35 jet procurement was a debacle – and it’s not even our most embarrassing one: “Through two elections the Liberals promised they would cancel the deal – or as their 2015 platform put it, ‘we will not buy the F-35.’ Even after the election, that remained the government’s position, even as it promised an ‘open competition’ to replace it. So here we are, all these years later, and the Liberals have at last confirmed what has long been obvious: We will buy the F-35, after all. Eighty-eight of them, in fact, at a cost of $19-billion – $70-billion, including maintenance and operations. All those billions of extra dollars, all those years in delay – the last of the jets are now scheduled for delivery in 2032 – and for what? To buy the same jet we were always going to buy.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Bill Morneau’s talents were wasted in Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa: “The portrait of his time in government that Mr. Morneau paints in his new book, Where To From Here, serves as a cautionary tale for future leaders on how not to alienate the best members of their teams and a disillusioning insider account about how the Trudeau government works. A Bay Street veteran with solid business credentials, Mr. Morneau’s talents were largely wasted in a government that obsesses about winning the news cycle and cares little about fiscal matters.”

Robert Bothwell and John English (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how, thanks to Canada’s broken access-to-information system, we have to look abroad to understand our own history: “Thanks to an access-to-information system that one former senior government official called ‘underfunded and shambolic,’ Canada’s historians have once again been left to rely on archives from abroad, in the hopes that a few relevant crumbs fall from their documentary feasts. And while the British government goes about its business, knowing that citizens are better informed about their government than they were on New Year’s Eve, an equivalent records release in Ottawa would likely prompt fainting in the office of the Clerk of the Privy Council, Janice Charette, who presides unhappily at the top of the system.”

Pico Iyer (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how a trip across Iran reveals all that can’t be grasped at a distance: “I had thought I knew something of Iran before arriving: I’d financed my first book with a 6,000-word article on Iranian history for the Smithsonian Magazine. Later, I’d devoted four years of my life to researching everything I could find on the land to publish a 354-page novel partly set there, though I’d never been. Within four hours on the ground, however, I was learning more than I had from four years of reading; within 16 hours, I saw that I didn’t have a clue.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this newsletter incorrectly stated that PSAC is Canada's largest public-sector union.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.