I must inform you that if you again fail in your next examination or do not show up, steps will be taken to reduce your salary further at your next increase date or, if you have reached your maximum salary, at the date where you would have received such an increase.
Signed V. M. Chalin for Rene Boileau, Postmaster.
That is how the department deals with an employee of 35 years standing. He is required, after 35 years of loyal service, to pass, under the threat of a reduction in the salary he has earned for 35 years, an examination which he was able to write successfully 35 years before but which he is no longer in a position to pass with the same facility. He has to take other examinations; I have said and I repeat, Mr. Chairman, that this is foolish, ridiculous and simply leads to hardship toward devoted servants of the people. I suppose that steps should be taken, and will be taken I hope, to decide about the qualifications of employees when they pass their examinations but, for goodness sake, I wish the department would leave them alone for the rest of the time when they serve the state faithfully.
As proof of what I have said, Mr. Chairman, I have here some instructions cpming from Ottawa and dated July 1, 1956. They are called Operation Directives, No. 16 amended. They are sent to all Headquarters Directors, Regional Directors-
For Insertion in all order books Operations Directive No. 16 (Amended) Headquarters Directors,
Postmasters, Staff Offices Departmental Examination Failures
(1) Employees are given two opportunities within their increase year to pass either one or two examinations as applicable.
(ii) Employees who do not present themselves when listed or who have failed after two listings will not have a further opportunity until their regular annual examination date.
(c) who fail at an examination on two occasions for two consecutive years, regardless of the failure percentage obtained, will be considered for release from the service. If the employee is not released, the salary will be reduced one step in the salary range on his annual increase date. Each successive year from that point on, following two failures at an examination, a reduction in salary will be effected if the employee is not released from the service.
(iii) Employees at the maximum salary who fail on two occasions during an increase year at an examination will be reduced one step in the salary range on their regular increase date.
(iv) Repeated failures at required examinations even though not consecutive may result in release from the service.
I have known many people who have attended universities. When they got out of university, after passing their examinations, they were considered to be qualified lawyers, doctors or qualified in any other profession, and they did not have to pass examinations every year to find out whether they were still competent. We do not see any of these things in any other department of government. Right now we have to consider the fact that in one department, the Post Office Department, this is going on. I say that this should be stopped because a man with 30 years' or 35 years' service cannot be as good as he was 35 years previously when he passed his examination.
I repeat, Mr. Chairman, that, in my opinion, it is sheer cruelty towards postal employees to force them, under threat of a reduction in their salary or of dismissal, to take yearly examinations.
Those are the few comments I had to make, Mr. Chairman, I thank the hon. minister for the assurance he has given us a few moments ago to the effect that the situation which has existed in Montreal for a very long time will continue; I hope that he will take in very serious consideration, in the best interests of his department and of those who for many years have served it faithfully, the few observations which I have just submitted to the house.
Topic: POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT