Building Bridges – Meeting with Catherine Tait (CBC President & CEO)

Dear members,

At our request, PNA Anglophone VP Dave Jeffrey and I met last week with CBC/ Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait and Marco Dubé, Vice-President of People and Culture. You may recall that Marco Dubé attended part of our National Board of Directors meeting last May to hear our concerns about the pension plan issue. We believe that the discussion, as well as the numerous heartfelt letters you sent to Catherine Tait’s office, helped pave the way to a satisfactory first meeting.

Building Bridges

This meeting was the first step to developing a relationship with the CBC/Radio-Canada senior management.  I am encouraged by the apparent interest in continuing the conversation, and I am hopeful it will have some positive outcomes.

We used this meeting to:

  1. Introduce ourselves and the PNA
  2. Demonstrate that the CBC/Radio-Canada and PNA can benefit from working together and explore how we can improve the relationship
  3. Discuss the pension plan surplus sharing issue.

We presented an overview of the PNA, its mission, vision and values, and our strategic objectives. We reviewed the scope of our general agreement (the MOU), which includes collecting membership dues, assisting with recruiting new members and reaching non-members from time to time. We presented the main findings from the recent survey to support the discussion. Finally, we emphasized that the PNA and its members are extraordinary ambassadors and a valuable stakeholder group for the CBC/Radio-Canada.

Working Together

We asked for additional support in our recruitment efforts and a few other areas:

  • Approaching all retirees, for example by increasing the number of CONTACT newsletters sent to non-members and including a membership form;
  • Assistance with pre-retirement seminars for CBC/Radio-Canada staff across the country;
  • Building relationships with the English networks and regional Directors;
  • Support for our diversity and inclusion initiatives that reflects our current and future needs.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: The Pension Plan Surplus Sharing Issue

We made two recommendations

  1. A presentation to senior management about the MOA and how it came about, by the people who participated in the process and are now members of the PNA.
  2. CBC/Radio-Canada can gain a great deal of goodwill among pensioners and employees by agreeing immediately “without prejudice” to the sharing of the pension plan surplus as prescribed in the 2009 MOA. This would not cost the Corporation anything as the sharing is financed by the comfortable pension surplus itself. In addition, this gesture would help CBC/Radio-Canada’s pensioners and employees face an unprecedented level of inflation.

Next steps

We agreed that the PNA will have at least one meeting a year with the President of the CBC/Radio-Canada. Ms. Tait also accepted our invitation to join us at our next National Board meeting in October.

I must say that I am encouraged by the tone and conclusion of this meeting. I will meet with Marco Dubé to follow up on a number of issues we discussed. Those discussions will tell us if we have made any progress with senior management. We hope that the CBC/Radio-Canada demonstrates that it values the PNA and its members.

Meanwhile, we will continue to advocate for your rights and benefits and continue to inform you about any additional measures we can take to achieve that.

Alain Pineau