Classification and Job Description (First Set of FAQs)
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What is a classification?
In the core public administration classification system, Treasury Board (“TB”) refers to the organization of work and employees as the occupational group structure.  The occupational group is a series of jobs or occupations related in broad terms by the nature of the functions performed.  

Occupational groups are designated by a two-letter abbreviation that is shorthand for the occupational groupīs title.  For example, there are six LP levels: LP-00 (Articling students), LP-01, LP-02, LP-03, LP-04 and LP-05.  The number assigned to the occupational group designator refers to the level within the group.

What is the Classification Standard?
According to the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, the “classification standard for the Law Practitioner group is a point-rating plan consisting of an introduction, the definition of the Law Practitioner group, the rating scale and level point boundaries.”

For a copy of the old LA standard, see 1987 LA Classification Standard.

For a copy of the current classification standard which came into effect on January 6 2014, see the LP Classification Standard .

What is point-rating?
According to the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, “point rating is an analytical, quantitative method of determining the relative values of jobs.  Point-rating plans define characteristics or elements common to the jobs being evaluated, define degrees of each element and allocate point values to each degree.  The total value determined for each job is the sum of the point values assigned by the evaluators."
What is the LP occupational group definition?
Generally, the Law Practitioner Group comprises positions that are primarily involved in the application of a comprehensive knowledge of the law and its practice in the performance of legal functions.  For a copy of the current LP Occupational Group Definition, click here.

Please note that LAs are now defined as LPs (Law Practioners).
What is Classification Reform?
The Financial Administration Act (“FAA”) outlines the responsibilities and powers of the TB. Amongst TBīs powers, is human resource management in the federal public administration, including the determination of the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed in it (section 7(1) (e)).

Pursuant to section 11.1(b) of the FAA, TB may provide for the classification of positions and persons employed in the public service.

In November 2007, TB announced the LA Classification Reform Project, which involved revisiting the LA Group Definition and the LA Classification Standard.  The current Classification Standard dates back to 1987.  Attached please find a copy of the old 1987 LA Classification Standard.

In relation to the LA Classification Reform Project, TB had initially been working with the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in the development and testing of the draft standard. DOJ also conducted an internal review of all job descriptions within DOJ with a view to:
- standardize job descriptions into a generic format,
- reduce the number of generic job descriptions,
- ensure that such job descriptions are drafted in a way that coincides with the new classification standard; and finally,
- test the job descriptions against the new TB LP classification standard.

PPSC also underwent a similar review.  

TB since consulted some of the other departments and agencies in relation to the LP classification standard.  

Was the AJC consulted and what was the extent of these consultations?
Yes, the AJC was consulted. In April 2010, TB provided the AJC with early drafts of a new LP Classification Standard.  

On January 12, 2011, the AJC met with TB officials responsible for the LA Classification Reform Project.

In the Summer of 2011, AJC, with the assistance of a classification expert, provided comments and proposed some changes, some of which were retained.  

AJC also proposed input into the draft of the LP Group Definition which came into effect on December 9, 2010.

The AJC also engaged in consultations directly with DOJ and PPSC on their proposed revised generic job descriptions.  These departments focused on consolidating the numerous detailed descriptions into generic job descriptions.
 
The AJC struck DOJ and PPSC-specific working groups made up of volunteer Governing Council Representatives and a few interested members at large for each of the DOJ and PPSC job description review initiatives.    As these were only consultations and not negotiations, nothing was agreed to by the AJC and all LPs maintain their right to grieve.

As indicated in a communique issued to the membership on August 8, 2011, the AJC created working groups and invited members to provide comments.
 
What changes, if any, have been implemented on the Classification Reform front?
On December 13, 2010, TB through the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, launched the creation of the new Law Cadre Occupational Group and Standard (“LC Standard”). Such group is excluded from the bargaining unit and comprises those previously excluded LAs who performed managerial work.

However, such group does not include all excluded LAs as they do not all perform managerial work withdelegated authority over human and financial resources. The LC reclassification exercise affected approximately 375 positions.

The LP Classification came into effect on January 6, 2014.

What are the criteria being used to establish the LP Classification Standard?
Following the separation of practitioner and management subgroups, a new classification standard for each subgroup was developed with a view to ensuring that each of the following elements are considered when evaluating and classifying each LP subgroupīs job description:

- knowledge,
- critical thinking and analysis,
- communication and interaction,
- leadership,
- physical and visual effort, and finally
- work environment.
  
The classification standard allocates certain point ratings to various levels within the elements described above for the purposes of ranking jobs that fall in one of the 5 subgroups of LPs (excluding LP-00).  

Why did departments update LA job descriptions?
With the modernization of Classification in the public service, job descriptions were revised in order to coincide with the language in the upcoming Classification Standard and facilitate the Classification Conversion Process.  

Many of the current descriptions were out of date and did not provide the information required by the LP Classification Standard.

Should all LPs receive have a new job description when the new LP Classification Standard came into effect?
Yes. All LAs have received updated job descriptions.
Did classifications change on account of receiving a new job description?
No.  TB, PPSC and DOJ had all confirmed that there would be no change following the Classification Conversion.
What is referred to by Classification Conversion?
For the purposes of these FAQs refer to the date on which the new LP Group Definition and new LP Classification Standard are in effect and where a classification decision has been issued to the LP.
What is a generic job description?
Generic job descriptions list the core duties and responsibilities of a group of similar positions.  They are concise and contain only the information needed to apply the classification standard.  Job descriptions describe the work assigned to positions.
  
Approximately 65 generic job descriptions at DOJ applied to all LP positions. At PPSC, there were approximately 12.

What is the outcome of signing the Job Descriptions?
- For managers, signing individual job descriptions based on generic job descriptions confirms that the selected description accurately describes the work assigned to and performed in the position.

- For LPs, their signature confirms the employee has seen the job description and has been provided an opportunity to comment.

- Signing any other form of acknowledgement is just that, an acknowledgement.  You are not waiving your right to grieve.

- Signed Job descriptions are then sent to Human Resources and a classification decision is issued once the new standard and group definition are in effect.  An LP preserves his or her right to grieve even after he/she may file a work content grievance that will be administered in accordance with normal grievance procedure.  Incumbents will be informed of their right to grieve the classification of their positions.

What happens if an LP receives a Notice of Decision of Classification?
If you receive a notice of decision of classification, you have 2 remedial options in the event you and your supervisor are unable to resolve your differences of opinion.  

They are as follows:

1. A right to grieve your job content pursuant to the collective agreement; and/or
2. A right to grieve the actual classification decision pursuant to TBīs Policy on Classification Grievances.
 
Job content and effective date grievances must be filed within 25 working days and classification grievances must be filed within 35 calendar days pursuant to PSLREB Regulations. We note that in the event you disagree with the content of your job description and want to pursue a classification grievance, you must normally file a job content grievance first within the prescribed timelines set out above. The job content is generally the basis on which all classification decisions and classification grievances are made.

Can LPs request changes to a generic job description?
The AJC encourages all LPs to review, acknowledge and provide comments to their supervisors or managers regarding there generic job descriptions.

Where you are of the view that the generic job description provided to you does not correspond to the work you do, you may ask your supervisor to consult the generic job description rated above or below your description level.
    
If you feel that another generic description better captures the work that your position requires including the work you are actually performing and you are unable to resolve your differences of opinion with your supervisor in short order, you have a right to grieve the content of your job description within 25 working days following receipt of the job description.

If you feel that none of the current generic descriptions captures the requirements of your position, then we recommend that you file a grievance to preserve your remedial rights and request that a new description be created.  In such a case, the manager should write a unique job description in the new format for the position.  The job description should then undergo a vetting and classification process.

For more information on how to get support to file a grievance, consult the AJC Representation Services Policy and complete and send an incident report to admin@ajc-ajj.ca .

How can I challenge a Job Description and Classification?
Challenging a Job Description

If requested to assume as part of your regular duties, additional duties that clearly fall outside the scope of your current job description, you may request a job description review.  Alternatively, if you are requested to assume additional duties of a higher LP level for a temporary period on account of the absence of higher-ranked LPs absence for example, you may request acting pay. The AJC collective agreement provides that acting pay is payable when the duties of a higher classification level are substantially performed for at least six (6) consecutive working days.  

A job content grievance may be filed with or without AJC support when challenging the job content.  Alternatively, a grievance may be filed with AJC support when the employer fails to provide a “Statement of duties” upon request.  The AJCīs decision of whether or not to support a grievance is governed by the principles set out in the AJCīs Representations Policy. In the event a job description is amended, the department must then review the new job description and issue a new classification decision.

For more information, consult the Policy on Classification System and Delegation of Authority.

Challenging a Classification Decision

A classification grievance can be filed resulting in either a reclassification or no change to the classification.  If the decision of the grievance classification committee results in no change to the classification, the decision is final and binding with no further recourse.
 
The path taken will depend on whether or not the content of the job is in dispute.

The Classification Procedure outlines the processes and procedures for the submission and resolution of classification grievances by a classification grievance committee.  For a complete review of the process and composition please refer directly to the Classification grievance procedure.

What is the difference between a Classification and Job content grievance?
Filing a job description grievance will challenge the contents of the position while a classification grievance deals with the assignment of points to a statement of duties and not the contents of the statement of duties.  

Job description grievances are adjudicable because they concern a provision in the collective agreement whereas classification grievances do not.  Pay is adjudicable and classifications are not.  

- Classification grievance committee decisions are final and binding.  
- Job description grievances follow the normal grievance procedure path in the collective agreement.    

For information on how to seek support from the Representations Committee in relation to your grievance, please refer to the AJC Representations Policy.

When must I initiate a Classification or Job Description grievance?
Normally, classification grievances are initiated when a dispute arises regarding a classification “action” or when the member receives notice of a classification review from the employer affecting his or her position.

Job description grievances can arise from an employerīs refusal to provide a statement of duties or after a review is conducted and where the work description does not accurately reflect the position.   You have 25 working days to initiate a job content grievance.

Classification Grievances must be filed within 35 calendar days in accordance with TBīs Policy on Classification Grievance.

What other time limits apply to Classification and Job Description grievances?
Pursuant to sections 71 and 72 of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Regulations, classification grievances are presented at the final level of the grievance procedure and decisions must be made within 80 days.

Circumstances in which a level may be eliminated

71 An individual grievance may be presented directly at the final level of the individual grievance process without it having been presented at a lower level if the individual grievance relates to classification, a demotion or a termination of employment.

Deadline for decision

72 (1) Unless the individual grievance relates to classification, the person whose decision constitutes the appropriate level of the individual grievance process shall provide the decision to the grievor or the grievorīs representative, if any, no later than 20 days after the day on which the individual grievance was received by the grievorīs immediate supervisor or the grievorīs local officer-in-charge identified under subsection 65(1).

Exception

(2) If the individual grievance relates to classification, the deadline is 80 days.



Please refer to the grievance procedure set out in the AJC collective agreement for further details.

Who can I contact for information in the event of a dispute?
For classification and job description information you can forward inquiries to the AJC directly at admin@ajc-ajj.com .  Alternatively, you can consult the following links:

LP Classification Standard

1987 LA Classification Standard
AJC Collective Agreement.
AJC Representations Policy
Classification grievance procedure
LP Occupational Group Definition
Organization and Classification : Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Directive on Classification Grievances
Principles drawn from Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal and PSLREB decisions: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Regulations.
Changes to the timeframes for presenting and responding to classification grievances
Reminder - Classification Grievance Resolution Process
Retroactive Reclassification and Appointment

How do LP levels correspond to the prior LA levels? *
The new levels are similar. Here they are:

LA-DEV=LP-00
LA-01=LP-01
LA-2A=LP-02
LA-2B=LP-03
LA-3A=LP-04
LA-3B=LP-05


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