Archived - Part 3 – Various Measures: Division 17

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Public Service Labour Relations

Collective Bargaining, Essential Services and Recourse

To ensure that the public service remains affordable, modern, high-performing, and in line with the expectation of taxpayers, the Public Service Labour Relations Act will be amended to better align public service labour relations with other jurisdictions, achieve savings, and streamline practices.

To modernize the dispute resolution process, and to bring it more in line with those at the provincial level and in the private sector, conciliation will be used as the primary mechanism to resolve disputes in the collective bargaining process. In order to ensure the effective protection of the safety and security of the public, the employer will have the exclusive right to determine whether a service is essential or not and to designate the positions it considers necessary to perform the essential service. Where 80% or more of the employees are responsible for providing essential services to Canadians, arbitration will be used to resolve disputes. To improve the predictability of the collective bargaining process, the notice period to begin collective bargaining will be increased to 12 months. 

To better ensure the prudent management of taxpayer dollars, as well as to provide fair and adequate compensation, these amendments will require that all elements of compensation be taken into account by an arbitration board or public interest commission when making awards or recommendations. When determining appropriate levels of compensation for public servants, arbitration boards and public interest commissions must give greater consideration to the necessity of attracting and retaining competent persons as well as Canada’s fiscal circumstances. This will ensure awards are fair and equitable for all parties, including taxpayers. To enhance the collective bargaining process in the future, these amendments will require that written reasons be provided for these decisions. To ensure that arbitration boards and public interest commissions are guided by these criteria, the Chairperson of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board can direct that they review their decisions.

Finally, these amendments will address an overly complex, legalistic, cumbersome, lengthy and costly employee recourse system by consolidating the recourse system within a new Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. These amendments will improve the process and reduce overlap for employees, who will continue to have the right to have their employment-related grievances or complaints, including discrimination cases, decided by a neutral third-party.

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