FAQ: CRA tentative agreement and ratification vote (old)

On May 4, after more than a year and a half of bargaining leading to one of the largest strikes in Canadian history, the PSAC-UTE bargaining team reached a tentative agreement for the more than 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers who deliver critical services to Canadians.  

Members working at CRA will soon have an opportunity to vote on the tentative agreement. The bargaining team unanimously recommends ratification. 

The voting period will begin on May 24 and end June 16 at 12 noon ET. 

PSAC will be holding mandatory information sessions both virtually and in-person, and you can vote at any time after attending a session up until the voting deadline June 16 at noon ET.   

All PSAC-UTE members working for CRA will have received an email from [email protected] May 17 with the link to PSAC’s voting platform and the credentials needed to log in. 

Use your ballot number and pin to register for an online or in-person vote session. 

Once registered, you will be sent a reminder to log in ahead of your mandatory ratification vote information session. After you have attended, you will be able to vote in the online portal. If you show up to an in-person vote without registering, ensure you bring documentation such as your letter of acceptance that shows you are part of the bargaining unit.  

Once you attend a mandatory information session – either virtually or in person – you will then be provided with a link by email to vote. Following each information session, you can log and vote immediately or stay on to participate in a live Q&A session on Zoom with members of the PSAC-UTE bargaining team to answer your questions. 

If we only have your home address on file, your voting credentials will have been mailed to you. 

If you did not receive an email on May 17, check your junk mail, and/or promotions folders on a laptop or desktop computer. If you’ve checked those folders and still don’t have the email, or if we don’t have your personal email on file, you can fill out a PSAC membership form to update your contact information.  

Once you submit the online membership form, PSAC will issue your voting credentials to you as soon as possible. 

Please log in to the platform and join the information session a few minutes early to make sure you can address any technical problems in advance.  

If you require an accommodation to participate fully in the information sessions (such as ASL interpretation), please contact your PSAC regional office as soon as possible.   

It is preferable to use your own computer, tablet, or smartphone, using your home network or mobile data. The vote platform works in all modern browsers and is optimized for mobile devices and tablets.  

If you are on an acting assignment in a bargaining unit not represented by PSAC-UTE, you are not eligible to participate in the ratification vote.

Yes, bargaining team members will be available after the information session to answer members’ questions. This Q&A session will be held immediately after the information session, using Zoom. A link will be provided during the information session 

The PSAC-UTE bargaining team negotiated wage increases totaling 12.6% compounded over the life of the agreement from 2021–2025. PSAC-UTE secured an additional fourth year in the agreement that protects workers against inflation, as well as a pensionable $2,500 one-time lump sum payment that represents an additional 3.6% of salary for the average PSAC-UTE member.  

For more information see the full ratification kit. 

Non-monetary items become effective upon signing of the agreement. Compensation increases including premiums will be implemented within 180 days after signature where there is no need for manual intervention. If CRA is unable to meet this deadline, there is a lump sum of $200 payable if the outstanding amount is more than $500 owed. 

A majority of voting members participating in the ratification must vote in favour of the agreement for it to be ratified. If a majority of members vote “yes” in the ratification vote, PSAC will meet with CRA to sign the new collective agreement. The new negotiated provisions come into effect on the date of signing, unless otherwise specified. 

CRA has 180 days from the date of signing the new collective agreement to raise pay according to the new rates and provide retro pay for the time elapsed since the expiry of the old contracts.  

If CRA is unable to meet this deadline, there is a lump sum of $200 payable if the outstanding amount is more than $500 owed.  

All non-monetary terms of the collective agreement will come into effect immediately after signing.

The annual economic increases included in the new collective agreement are retroactive to the date the former collective agreement expired. This means that you are entitled to retroactive pay for the period you were employed and a member of your bargaining unit, regardless of current employment status (e.g. retired or no longer member of the bargaining unit). 

Yes, retroactive pay is subject to taxes. 

As part of your economic package for this tentative agreement, a one-time, pensionable, lump sum payment of $2,500 will be paid to each employee who is a member of the bargaining unit on the date of signing of the new agreement. The employer has 180 days after the date of signing to issue the lump sum payment.

Unfortunately, no. The lump sum payment is only given to members of the unit who are employed in the bargaining unit on the date of signing. 

You must be in the bargaining unit as of the date of signature of the agreement to receive the $2,500. As such if you are acting in a position out of the bargaining unit, you will not receive the $2500 lump sum.

Pay during the strike

When returning to work after the Treasury Board strike ended on Thursday, May 4th, some PSAC members may have started later than their usual scheduled start time and some managers have raised this issue with them. There are two important things to note:

  • The union negotiated a buffer of 12 hours from the signing of the tentative agreement to provide members extra time to begin work the next day in case it was impossible for them to start earlier in the morning. Therefore no employee can be considered having arrived late as long as they were working by 11:00 a.m. ET since the agreement was only reached at 11:00 p.m. ET on May 4th.
  • The employer is insisting that if this later start time reduced the number of hours worked that day, that those hours should be recouped by the employer. Managers have been formally directed however to be flexible in their approach to recouping the displaced hours and simply allow workers to make up the time where possible — or if employees prefer, they can simply submit leave for that time.

Federal public service workers are paid two weeks in arrears. PSAC members who were on strike will see first reductions in pay starting on their May 10th pay or later pay periods. For more information: http://ow.ly/5pA850NRTHq 

Please note that strike pay began to be processed on Thursday, April 27. Payments will continue to be issued in weekly intervals.

*We have been made aware that those who have auto-deposit enabled on TD bank accounts have had their e-transfers cancelled by the bank. We will re-send the payments as soon as the issue is resolved by TD. E-transfers will reach members in the first days as they are automatic, while physical cheques will take a few more days to print and distribute. When cheques are ready for distribution, members will be notified by their regional office. 

If you signed up for strike pay via eTransfer, your password is your PSAC ID.

Please note if you signed in manually without being scanned on any of your days of picketing, your strike pay for that day may be delayed until the following week’s payment.  We ask that you please wait until the following week’s payment before submitting any errors for review.

If after two strike payments you still have errors or issues with your strike pay, please submit a request for PSAC to resolve the problem using this form. 

Strike pay is not considered taxable income by the Canada Revenue Agency. 

Based on past precedents and expert advice from our union Phoenix experts and your colleagues that work at the Pay Centre, we don’t anticipate Phoenix complications. Especially if the strike lasts five days or less. 

Based on past experience, members will most likely continue to receive pay from the employer while on strike and have pay deducted only after the strike concludes and leave without pay requests are submitted and processed. These leave requests are no more likely to be affected by Phoenix than any other leave submission throughout the year. 

It’s important to remember the Pay Centre is staffed by PSAC members who will be well prepared for the influx of leave submissions. Members will enter any time missed due to job action in their departmental PeopleSoft upon return to the office using the appropriate time code (i.e., 9550 – LWOP-Strike Participation), and these requests may even be given special attention. 

Additionally, members will receive strike pay from PSAC if they meet minimum participation requirements during the strike period, which are not processed through the Phoenix system. Some components and locals may also offer strike pay top ups. 

Based on current employer policy, employees on strike will continue to receive coverage under the Public Service Group Benefit Plans. However, Treasury Board is entitled to change this approach.  

Unless you are informed by the employer that your benefits will be cut, they will remain ongoing. 

Periods while a member participates in a strike do not count as pensionable service. Also, the periods participating in a work stoppage strike cannot be bought back.” However, these periods are not considered as breaks” in pensionable service for purposes of calculating a member’s highest five consecutive years of highest paid service.” 

The impact on the future pension for a member who participates in a strike is to push back — by the number of days on strike — the date on which he or she completes the required years of service to qualify for a pension. Your strike days will be reported to the pension administration by your compensation office. 

There will be no impact on the average salary on which the pension will be calculated for members whose days on strike do not fall within their five consecutive years of highest salary. 

Average salary for pension benefit purposes is always based on the member’s best five consecutive years of highest paid salary. Any salary lost due to a strike during the final average salary period is accounted for by extending back in time the average salary period so that five years of paid earnings are used in the calculation.

For example, if a member had been on strike for 10 days during the relevant period, the average salary would be based on earnings paid during the best consecutive five years and 10 days of employment. It should be noted that average salary is based on five consecutive years of pensionable service, rather than on five continuous years of service. 

When contemplating retirement, members should be encouraged to obtain a copy of their exact record of pensionable service before deciding on their retirement date, to ensure that they have the required service for the pension option on which they are counting. 

You can update your contact information online by logging in to PSAC’s member portal or creating an account. 

If you have any issues logging in or creating your account, please reach out to our dedicated team by visiting the Contact Us page and choosing PSAC online account help” from the dropdown menu.