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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn 2010 > Government Parking Policy Update
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Government Parking Policy Update

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In the absence of union consultation, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) issued a new Custodial Parking Procedure Policy and accompanying Custodial Parking Procedure, effective February 2, 2010. Under the new policy, federal public service employees will be charged “market-rate” for parking at facilities in the custody of PWGSC and other departments. The new PWGSC Policy and Procedure was expected to be applied across departments, effective July 1, 2010. The actual PWGSC policy was not provided to PIPSC until June 2010. Until that time, PWGSC and others had been working with PIPSC staff and members on creating the policy. It is apparent that the “consultation” was a sham. Moreover, many departments did not meet the July 1, 2010 deadline. Roll-out of the PWGSC policy has been inconsistent.

PIPSC filed a policy grievance and an unfair labour practice against Treasury Board on July 14, 2010. The Institute filed similar complaints against the National Research Council on August 6, 2010. Members from various departments have also filed individual grievances. Human rights complaints regarding the policy are also in progress.

Individual grievances argue:

  • new parking rates ought to be delayed pending disclosure by the employer of the new parking policy and of the fair market value calculations performed by the employer;
  • the policy was implemented without consultation, proper fair market value assessments, consideration of the adequacy of public transportation, provision of sufficient parking facilities on site, or fair consideration of the personal financial impact.
  • the policy discriminates on the basis of disability.

Both the policy grievance and the unfair labour practice complaint make the following broad allegations:

  • PWGSC’s actions are in violation of the consultation provisions in collective agreements. PWGSC continued to provide presentations to the unions on proposed policy initiatives while developing its own policy without union input.
  • There are serious concerns with the methodologies used to determine “market rate”. PWGSC carried out a study of parking rates for all custodial buildings to determine market rates (ranging from $50 to over $400). Employees question whether PWGSC adheres to its own policy. The availability of commercial parking and public transit and the practices of other employers in the vicinity are ignored. There is no recourse for employees to contest the determination of market rates. Consultation is required to address this problem.
  • The policy also discriminates against employees with disabilities, and is contrary to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Employees with permanent disabilities often do not have the opportunity to find alternative cheaper parking or to take the bus. Fortunately, the employer postponed the revised Custodial Parking Policy for persons with disabilities until December 31, 2010, while it reviews its duty to accommodate in parking. Unfortunately, some departments continue to impose market rates on employees with disabilities.

On September 3, 2010, Treasury Board (TB) heard the policy grievance at the first level, and on October 4, 2010 the Institute learned that TB had denied the grievance. Treasury Board argues that parking is a real property issue based on a PWGSC policy and is not a term and condition of employment.

PIPSC will consider whether to refer the policy grievance to adjudication with the unfair labour practice complaint. For further information, please contact Sarah Godwin at sgodwin@pipsc.ca.

Member Services Committee

Member Services Committee

From left to right: Paul Godin (Chair), Yves Rochon (ERO assigned to training), Dwayne Onagi (Prairies/NWT), Jerome Fransblow (BC-Yukon), Deb Kruz (Ontario), Tony Purchase (Atlantic), Mona Tilhoff (Staff Resource), Gordon Bulmer (NCR) and Sylvie Mercier (Québec).