FAQs about the AJC
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What is the AJC?
The AJC is a democratically run Association, with all of its officers elected by the membership, pursuant to the Association´s By-Laws.

The ACJ is the sole bargaining agent for all lawyers and notaries in the Law Group. It has sole authority to negotiate with the employer to establish the terms and conditions of employment, including salaries and many workplace issues.

Who is in the bargaining unit?
The AJC is the certified bargaining agent for "all lawyers in the LA group for which the Treasury Board is the employer who are not excluded from collective bargaining by law or determination of the Board."

Some employees are excluded from collective bargaining, under subsection 2(1) of the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA), including persons employed on a casual basis, persons employed on a term basis for a period of less than three months, persons employed in a program designated as a student employment program, and persons who occupy managerial or confidential positions.

Does the bargaining unit include federal government lawyers outside of the Department of Justice?
Yes. Although the AJC was initially created as an organization of Justice Canada lawyers, the AJC took the position at the certification hearing that the employer´s request for a single national unit of all legal officers should be granted, with the AJC as the bargaining agent. The Board has now concluded that the AJC is an appropriate bargaining agent for all federal legal officers, both inside and outside of the Department of Justice.

In anticipation of the Board´s decision, the AJC amended its Constitution to enable it to represent counsel employed in Justice or in any agency or corporation of the Government of Canada. Along with amendments to certain definitions and the membership provisions, amendments were made to increase the size of the Executive of the Association in order to provide more effective representation.

What happens next?
The AJC and the employer are in the process of negotiating the terms and conditions of a second collective agreement.

What if an agreement is not reached?
If the AJC and the employer are unable to reach an agreement, the AJC will avail itself of the dispute resolution processes under the PSLRA. For more information on the PSLREB´s dispute resolution mechanisms, please click here.

What happens in the meantime?
The status quo. The terms and conditions of employment applicable to the employees in the bargaining unit must be continued in force. This "freeze" on the terms and conditions of employment remains in force until a collective agreement is reached, or an arbitral award is rendered. Note that this freeze is not absolute, but instead refers to "business as usual" and changes cannot be made that would not be within the reasonable expectations of the parties. Performance pay, as the case may be, is maintained accordingly.
What types of issues can the AJC seek to negotiate?
Under the PSLRA, some terms and conditions of employment are not negotiable. A collective agreement may not, directly or indirectly, alter or eliminate any existing term or condition of employment or establish any new term or condition of employment if

(a) doing so would require the enactment or amendment of any legislation by Parliament, except for the purpose of appropriating money required for the implementation of the term or condition; or

(b) the term or condition is one that has been or may be established under the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Superannuation Act or the Government Employees Compensation Act.

This means that, for example, a collective agreement may not cover pension issues, benefits payable on injury or death, the assignment of duties, and the classification of positions.

The AJC can and will be seeking to negotiate increases to the rates of pay, as well as improvements to working conditions and provisions for leaves of absence.

What else can the AJC do for me?
The AJC will also be able to provide you with help for your workplace issues, providing support and advice with respect to individual grievances and by carrying forward group and policy grievances. You will no longer be alone when dealing with your manager or problems in your workplace. Where required, the AJC will provide the legal assistance you need.
What about membership and union dues?
Under the AJC´s Constitution, once the Rand formula is implemented, i.e., automatic and mandatory deduction of union dues from pay of bargaining unit employees, the dues will be 1.25% of annual salary. These dues will be used to fund the operating costs of the AJC and provide services to members of the bargaining unit.

Only members can participate in the internal affairs of the AJC, such as voting in elections and holding office. Payment of dues does not equate to membership. To become a member of the AJC, you must complete an application for Membership form. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will receive an information package.

What if I have more questions?
Please contact the AJC, and a representative will be happy to answer your questions and/or talk confidentially with you about your workplace concerns. If you prefer, you may contact one of our Governing Council Members directly.
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