The second front line: A National Public Service Week message from Federal Retirees’ president

June 11, 2020
Jean-Guy Soulière.
Federal Retirees president Jean-Guy Soulière has something he’d like to say to current and retired public servants – thank you, thank you!

We are all very appreciative of our front-line workers, many of whom are federal employees. They are indeed heroes! But there are thousands of other public servants who are vital to dealing with this unprecedented situation. These are our unsung heroes, individuals who are contributing to the country’s handling of COVID-19, and who I call the second front line. They are not as visible as the heroes of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the health-care professionals who are helping the country as part of the federal employees family. But they are there in the background, ensuring stability in an otherwise unstable world.

I am talking about those professionals, workers of all fields and trades, who are continuing to do their jobs efficiently and effectively, a majority of them from their homes. They are advising our political leaders on the types of programs that are needed and they are delivering these programs once approved. I am talking about researchers working 24/7 to find cures for the virus and develop a vaccine. We are indebted to the health specialists providing the Chief Health Officer with all the research she needs to advise the government as well as the information and technical specialists ensuring that the Canadian public is kept informed with factual, evidence-based reporting. There are also the employees of embassies and consulates who helped Canadians get home safely during this difficult time, some of whom have been unable to return home themselves. There are letter carriers working to keep us connected by mail, and support and administrative staff across government departments and agencies who are there to coordinate. And we pensioners are so grateful for the continuing, seamless service from the employees of the pension office. Seniors receiving OAS and GIS, have seen no disruption in their payments. Adjusting to new realities is a trademark of public servants and Canadians are seeing it every day.

Our members, the past generation of public servants, are all proud of having been part of the federal employees family and are so proud of the current generation of public servants. Every Canadian should recognize your commitment and your contributions, especially during this week, National Public Service Week. As we cope with uncertainty and return to some kind of normality, it may be that Canadians start to forget that all of you, the front-line and the second front-line federal employees, were the compass that helped the government navigate through the crisis. Our Association will work hard to ensure that the Canadian public does not forget. On behalf of all our members, thank you, thank you! We celebrate you.

Jean-Guy Soulière