PUBLIC SERVICE LABOUR RELATIONS ACT
What stewards should know about the grievance process
With the Public Service Labour Relations Act coming into effect on April 1, 2005, a number of significant changes have been introduced to the grievance procedure. The purpose of this bulletin is to highlight these major changes in order to help you provide up to date information and relevant advice for the members you represent.
Of course, some of these changes are still in the process of being implemented.
Highlights of the major changes to the grievance procedure:
PSLRA now refers to three types of grievances. In addition to individual grievances that existed under the old Act, reference is now made to group grievances as well as policy grievances. More information of the different types of grievances can be found further down in the text.
For individual grievances, time lines as outlined in the various collective agreements that were in effect on April 1, 2005, remain unchanged, since such a mutually agreed process has precedence over the PSLRB Regulations.
In the Act, time is now counted in calendar days rather than working days. If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.
Group and policy grievances have to be submitted no later than 35 days after the earlier of the day on which the aggrieved employee(s) (or bargaining agent in the case of a policy grievance) received notification and the day on which the grievor(s) had knowledge of the incident that gave rise to the grievance (reg. 78 or 85 depending on the type of grievance).
A response must be provided 20 days after the day on which the grievance was received (reg.72, 80, 87 depending on the type of grievance); with the exception of classification grievances where the deadline to respond is set at 80 days.
Transmittal has to take place within 15 calendar days from the date a decision is rendered.
If no decision, grievor has 40 days after the expiry of the period within which the decision was required, to transmit.
Grievor has 40 days after receiving a final decision to refer to adjudication.
A deployment under the Public Service Employment Act could be grieved. This will take effect when the PSEA comes into force in December 2006. However, it is only in cases where the deployed employee claims that she / he did not consent to the deployment that such grievances can be heard by an adjudicator.
Limitation to that right: In cases where the employee was forced to deploy as a condition of employment or as the outcome of an harassment complaint, the employee will not be able to proceed to adjudication.
The PSLRA addresses and clarifies an issue that until its coming into force had been a source of confusion pitting the former PSSRB against the Canadian Human Rights Commission on issues of jurisdiction.
The PSLRB is now clearly habilitated to hear grievances that raise issues involving the interpretation and application of the Canadian human Rights Act (art. 226(1)(h)). An adjudicator can order compensation in accordance with the CHRA (including ordering the person found to have engaged in a discriminatory practice to pay up to a maximum of $20,000 in compensation to the complainant for pain and suffering (CHRA art. 53(2)); as well as a maximum of $20,000 if proven that the person engaged in the discriminatory practice did so “wilfully or recklessly”(CHRA, art. 53(3)).
Additional Information on the three types of grievances:
Similarly to what existed before, an employee can present an individual grievance when aggrieved by:
The interpretation or application in respect of the employee of:
1. a provision of a statute or regulation or of a direction or other instruments made or issued by the employer that deals with terms and conditions of employment; or
2. as a result of any occurrence or matter affecting terms and conditions of employment;
3. a provision of a collective agreement (or arbitral award).
This is a new concept in federal public service labour relations however, PIPSC members working for an employer governed by the Canada Labour Code already have access to a similar type of recourse. A bargaining agent can now present a grievance on behalf of a group of employees, under the conditions listed below:
If employees from different Departments feel aggrieved by the same measure, they have to regroup by Department to submit their group grievance.
This is also a new concept in federal public service labour relations, however, PIPSC members working for an employer governed by the Canada Labour Code already have access to a similar type of recourse.
Both the employer and the bargaining agent may present a policy grievance to the other.
Such grievances are limited to “the interpretation or application of the collective agreement or arbitral award as it relates to either of them or to the bargaining unit generally”.
Employers (Treasury Board and Agencies) and bargaining agents are to notify the other party of the name and title of any person to whom a policy grievance may be presented (reg. 84).
The PSLRA imposes certain restrictions to the scope of the right to grieve.
For an individual grievance:
For both individual and group grievances:
However, this limitation only applies when the internal policy expressly states that the employee gives up his or her right to grieve when she or he pursues relief under the policy.
In addition, three limitations apply to all three types of grievances:
Please note that ICMS applies only to “the core public administration” (as defined in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act.
If she / he was employed by an agency or separate employer which had filed an Order in Council to grant access to adjudication to their demoted or terminated employees. To date, the only agency to have made such a request is CFIA.
What happens to grievances that were filed before April 1st, 2005?
In closing we want to remind you that all of the changes affecting labour relations in the federal public sector will have to be closely monitored by PIPSC. We rely on you, the stewards, to bring forth any question, comment or observation you may have. Your input will help ensure that the transition to a new labour relations regime will be as seamless as possible. Our members will be able to take advantage of their right to file a grievance and make themselves heard.
Publish Date: 26-MAY-2005 10:32 AM