Public sector union to take muzzled science issue to bargaining table

The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making.

OTTAWA — The union representing government scientists, engineers and professionals says its next contract demands will include an integrity policy to free up muzzled researchers and promote evidence-based policy making.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents 55,000 federal employees, says a scientific-integrity policy is needed to ensure innovation and to protect public health, safety and the environment.

The union, known by its acronym PIPSC, says it will seek enforceable standards for international collaboration among scientists, preservation of government science libraries, reinvestment in research programs and the right for federal scientists to speak.

It’s the latest move against the Conservative government by a public sector union that traditionally has avoided any hint of campaigns that could be considered political.

Last month, the Professional Institute announced it will actively advertise the damage it believes the Harper government has done to federal public services.

Union president Debi Daviau says it is a sad state of affairs when professionals need to bring their demands for good public science policy to the negotiating table, but PIPSC feels it is the only way to get the government’s attention on the long-simmering issue.