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Cablegate: Canada Offers Alternate Service Conditions

VZCZCXRO0035
PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHMT RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #1570/01 3531946
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181946Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8884
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1396
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0263
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0515

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001570

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

IO/MPR/SC FOR H. WARD AND USUN/MR FOR M. SCANLON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL AMGT AORC APER UNGA UNGA CA
SUBJECT: CANADA OFFERS ALTERNATE SERVICE CONDITIONS
HARMONIZATION PLAN

REF: OTTAWA 1556

1. (SBU) Summary: Canada supports UN personnel management
reform, but does not agree with U.S. stance on temporary
contracts. Canada also recognizes the urgent need for human
resources management reform in light of the new challenges to
UN operations in Afghanistan and Darfur. Canada remains a
strong supporter of budget discipline at the UN and welcomes
the continuing close partnership with the U.S. delegation to
the UN. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Canada shares the concerns about human resource
related budget issues expressed by U.S. delegation members in
New York, according to Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT) United Nations Division Deputy
Director Shannon-Marie Soni. In reviewing recent
developments in personnel management, Soni said that Canada
welcomed the granting of a special allowance to UN staff
serving in the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Canada was pleased to see that the special allowance
contributed to a reduced UNAMA vacancy rate. Soni noted,
however, that the UN granted the special allowance on a
temporary basis and that it will expire in June 2009. Canada
sees little appetite within the Fifth Committee to extend
special allowances past June 2009, which Canada sees as an
important reason to work expeditiously to find a compromise
on the harmonization of conditions of service.

3. (SBU) Soni expressed appreciation for the U.S. proposal in
March and said that the Canadian delegation had been working
closely with the U.S. delegation in the Fifth Committee to
find a compromise package that would address U.S. concerns.
Canada does not agree with the U.S. view that temporary
contracts should be the single entry mechanism for all staff
into UN peacekeeping operations. Soni argued that Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand have found a consensus among
&most of the other delegations8 that fixed term or
continuing contracts would better enable the UN to recruit
and retain high quality personnel than would temporary
contracts. Soni said that Canada does agree that temporary
field and headquarters UN staff should receive less generous
benefits than those employees on fixed term contracts,
however.

4. (SBU) Soni described the U.S. as isolated on the temporary
contracts issue and said that Canada had sought to bridge the
difference between the U.S. position and the rest of the
Committee, working with Australia and New Zealand. The three
countries are putting forth language to define temporary
staff as &those undertaking a truly temporary function.8
(Note: Canada's UN delegation has already shared its draft
language with the U.S. delegation in New York, according to
Soni. End note) Soni explained that these temporary
functions might include election monitoring, filling in for
those on maternity or sick leave, or augmenting surge
requirements. Soni stressed that Canada does see merit in
creating a temporary contract system so that the UN can hire
people for specific tasks without incurring any expectation
that they would be entitled to future UN employment. Canada
estimates that its joint proposal with Australia and New
Zealand would save about $10 million annually, largely from
the regular budget.

5. (SBU) Begin draft text of Canadian compromise language:

33. Decides that temporary appointments are to be used to
Qappoint staff for seasonal or peak workloads and specific
short-term requirements for less than one year.
Exceptionally, temporary appointments could be renewed for a
maximum of up to one additional year when warranted by
operational needs related to peacekeeping operations, special
political missions, humanitarian operations, and emergency
assistance as well as special projects with finite mandates.

34. Decides that staff on temporary contracts would only be
eligible to receive the following benefits and allowances:
post adjustment; rental subsidy; hazard pay; hardship; the
DSA portion of the assignment grant; annual and sick leave
(depending on length of service); home leave (per
classification of duty station); and limited shipment
allowance.
End draft text.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada


OTTAWA 00001570 002 OF 002


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