Federal Budget: Paternity Leave, The Urban Daddy on CTV!


Yesterday was the 3rd Federal Liberal budget and if you paid any attention to the news leading up to the budget, you would have heard that this was going to be a “gender” budget, as our Prime Minister and Finance Minister hope to save Canadian “Peoplekind”,

What made it a “gender” budget was the inclusion of policies aimed to equalize pay between men and women and adopting a paternity leave benefit program which was implemented in Quebec just over 10-years-ago.

As a father of 3 children, I was lucky to have the opportunity to take parental leave with 2 of my three kids.  I was working for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the CRA topped up my salary from the 66% which I would have received while on EI, to 93% of my salary.

Who wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity to support his spouse, bond with his children and help out with everything that comes with children, which is why I took 9-months with our first child, 4-months with our second child, and by the time our third child rolled around, I was in the private sector and took just one day.

So who better to speak on the government’s policy than me, right?

I was on the CTV News Network, live, in the morning with Marcia McMillan, and then in the evening, CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks interviewed my wife and I for a well done piece on what worked and what didn’t with regard to paternity benefits.

Watch the clip here; CTV Parental Leave The Urban Daddy

It was my first foray into TV – I have been on the radio quite a lot to discuss tax-issues – and I really liked it (except for the way I looked in the evening interview – exhausted!)

Here is how I feel about the Liberals intention vs plan of action; They talk a great game but always seem to fall short, with an ultimate cost to the taxpayers, for their plans.

They said that providing fathers to take 5-weeks off would lure more women into the workforce.

???

There were no new day care spots made available, nor any changes to the Live-In Caregiver program, so it left my wife and I puzzled as to how this was going to lure women into the work force.

Is it possible that behind this message was a belief that men don’t do anything around the household and that if, in 5-weeks – with them being home, changing diapers, cooking meals and keeping the house clean – men will realize they can help out at home, thus lessening the burden on women?

I think that’s a stretch, to say the least, but for $1.2 billion dollars – and starting in June 2019 – men will be able to take 5-weeks off with their partners to help, support and bond.  It’s certainly better than nothing.

It doesn’t change the stereotype that men don’t do paternity leave.

It doesn’t change the hesitation of some firms to hire woman who are in their child-bearing years.

It does make the Liberals look hip, and cool.

I just hope the last point wasn’t the motivation behind this initiative…

 

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No surprises from this government…


I remember, as if it were yesterday, asking my former Section Manager if I was under investigation as he was grilling me with question after question regarding something someone told him.  I had done nothing wrong, but based on the anonymous writing of this idiot, I was being treated as a criminal.

“No, you are not under investigation” he replied to me in front of union representation and my former team leader.

LIAR!

Turns out he lied to my face…

I requested a report much along the line of the freedom to information act to see what had been written, emailed, or communicated about me in the year and a bit since I had been gone.  Anyone can request one.  It’s the same way the story of the 2 senior CRA employees stealing from taxpayers came out.  Go google ATIP – Access to Information.

What I found was very interesting. 

Not only did I find that those idiots had launched an investigation, I also read the communications between the Director of Internal Audit in Ottawa and the senior management team due to this investigation.  All the accounts I had accessed in 2007 were investigated, 154 page audit, and nothing odd was found, not one instance and this covered about 2300 accounts.  HA!.  The audit head, none too pleased, communicated this to senior management especially after the government managers tried to shut down this “investigation” after seeing no issues and trying to save face.  The audit head chastised them for hurrying up this critically important audit (?) surrounding the allegations of this idiot and her anonymous “tip”. 

I’m shaking my head.

Other things turned up in my request was a memo from the Head of Employee Relations criticizing my former managers for telling me that I could not seek employment while on leave – since it said so in the collective agreement which I sited to them about a thousand times…  Also interesting was a referral from a former team leader of mine for about 2 weeks about how I was not suited to be a team leader… She was promoted because she is bilingual, not necessarily competent.  

So I was not “qualified” to be a team leader in the government – with 10 years’ experience and a MBA – But somehow able to do so much more in the private sector.  

This former team leader clearly prejudiced herself at the request of her friends and I have to say if I saw her today I’d probably have to be refrained from spitting in her face…

Anyways, it’s been a year since I started my new gig… Love it!  Glad to be out of that place, and will NEVER go back.  🙂

Oh, and the other information I learned in the 952 pages sent to me, about me, over the past year and a bit…

I should write a book.  🙂

Or sue for constructive dismissal…

People DO Resign from the Government… Really they do!


I know it can be a hard concept to grasp for some people, especially those who have worked in a lifelong unionized environment, but it IS possible for someone to leave the government without being fired.  Really it is!

Additionally, it IS possible that people give up the relaxed work environment, the slower pace of work and the pension plus all those benefits in order to seek a more challenging situation… Without being fired.

Again, I can confirm this is true.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads my posts about the government that it is not easy working in an organization where a group of “adults” can behave so horribly.

So as I write this post, early February 2009 and 6-months into a parental leave from the CRA (6 glorious months with my wife and children) I have found that my brain has turned back on.  I feel like I’m 24 years old again trying to try and learn new things.

I resigned my job – no fanfare, no threats of leaving or meltdowns at my desk, but because of a desire to see what life is like in the private sector – managing staff, using my brain and my managerial skills, and my MBA to make a difference in an organization.

I just completed my first set of performance appraisals for my staff and I thought the process was fascinating.   Odd, eh?

I was thrilled to have put all my issues with the government behind me, but I have not been successful at doing that… yet.

Let me re-cap.

When I took my leave, which I am entitled to through the CRA’s collective agreement, I checked with the union and management to fid out what I could and could not do while on this leave.  I was told, and confirmed that I could work so long as my role was not in conflict of interest with my role at the CRA.

So I accepted a senior tax manager role with the world’s largest transfer agent doing things I would never have had the opportunity to do at the CRA, even if I worked there until I was 65-years-old.  No such role exists, and no additional education could get me there.

Even when the CRA came calling to me because a former colleague of mine googled me and found that I was working – not a surprise, mind you – and forwarded that to management with anonymous printing detailing my new position, and that I was on leave.

I offered to cut my leave short and resign.

But they wanted to see me, and suddenly they wanted my to come back?!?  Or more likely they wanted to figure out why I left, and how I managed to get such a great job after working in the CRA for almost 11-years…

(3-years of accounting plus a MBA helped)

Long story short… I still work there and am still on leave.  I want to resign.  They want to talk.

While all of this is going on in “absolute secrecy”, the rumour mill is in high season and my leave has become me doing illegal work and getting fired.

I confronted the section manager who promised me that in our private meeting nobody would have said anything to anyone, so I am supposed to believe that in a room full of 4 adults, me, a union representative who was supposed to be on my side but was asked prior to the meeting to just listen and not speak, and 2 senior managers, that nobody leaked the details of this meeting?!?

Yet, today, as I am standing in a post office way north of the city when I used to work, I was approached by a former CRA client of mine who tells me that “someone there told her” that I was fired for wrongdoings and much more horrible lies that one should never tell a member of the public.

Nice, eh?

So this former client proceeds to tell me details of the tax troubles that she continues to struggle to fix, and that nobody at the CRA is helping her, and I give her the same advice that I would have when she was a client of mine, but she insists that I help her further.

That’s not going to happen!

Although she did provide me with the name and phone number of the “team leader” who was talking about me and tomorrow I will proceed to call my former group manager to once again ask (should I have to?) that they use some common sense and keep their mouths shut.

It really is not going to make a difference to me.  I really could care less what someone there thinks about me.  They don’t know me.  Nor do they know how I live or what I do in my spare time, nor should they want to… But they want to…  That’s just creepy.

So as the news circles back that I left… really left, I suspect people will quickly move on to the next story, but I have a feeling that deep down inside, it’s going to be an issue trying to explain to people that people really do voluntarily leave the CRA and give up all that…  For the right reasons.