Myths about Bargaining: What is Negotiable and What is Not.
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Myths about Bargaining: What is Negotiable and What is Not.

Following a survey conducted by the AJC between December 2013 and January 2014, members told us their top priorities in terms of bargaining with TB were:  compensation, job security and sick leave came.

We did however notice that there were some misconceptions as to what is subject to collective bargaining and what is not.  To this end, please refer to the following FAQs to find out what can and cannot be bargained.

Indeterminate Status
Did you know that...

...the conversion from term to indeterminate employee cannot be bargained?  Indeed, pursuant to section 59(1) of the Public Service Employment Act, the conversion from term to indeterminate employee will take place “at the end of the cumulative period of employment specified by the employer in circumstances prescribed by the employer”,  which are outlined in section 7.2 of the Term Employment Policy.  

For more information on the matter, please refer to the AJC FAQs for Term Employees.   If after consulting our FAQs, you still have questions, do not hesitate to send your inquiry to .

Did you know that...

...the Public Service Pension Superannuation Act governs all aspects of the public service pension plan?  Indeed, everything including eligibility, contribution rates and even death benefits are legislated and thus are not subject to collective bargaining.  The sole power to amend or modify your pension plan rests with the government.  All bargaining agents can really do is to lobby on your behalf.

Flexible work hours
Did you know that...

...the collective agreement recognizes the importance of a flexible working schedule allowing lawyers to balance personal and professional obligations? However, this flexibility must be reconciled with the employer´s legislated right to manage hours of work.  As a result, such flexibility is subject to operational requirements and managerial approval.   Lawyers may enter into alternate work or flexible work hour arrangements with the approval of their manager, who is expected to exercise their discretion in a non-arbitrary, discriminatory or bad faith manner.  That said, lawyers in question must work an average of 37.5 hours per week over a 4 week period.  What a lawyer can´t do,  is to take it upon himself or herself to set his or her own schedule without management approval

Secondments and Assignments/Mobility
Did you know that...

...secondments/assignments offer the opportunity of a temporary lateral movement within the core public administration.  This kind of mobility can provide a public service employee with training and career development opportunities in addition to promoting knowledge transfer between organizations.  Although generally encouraged by the employer, such resourcing options remain at the employer´s discretion as set out in sections 7 and 11 of the Financial Administration Act .  

Area of Selection
Did you know that...

...the power to determine the area of selection for an internal non-advertised appointment rests with the department under a delegated authority or where no such delegated authority has been granted, with the Public Service Commission (PSC) pursuant to section 34 of the Public Service Employment Act?

Generally it is the Departments, through delegated authority from the PSC, who establish the area of selection by geographic, organizational,  occupational criteria or by designated groups within the meaning of section 3 of the Employment Equity Act.  

Did you know that ...
Promotions are not subject to collective bargaining.  The Public Service Employment Act and the Financial Administration Act regulate the Employer´s right to manage its human resources through delegated authority.  Although the AJC actively advocates on behalf of its members and supports all career development programs that may be put in place by different Departments, it simply cannot direct the employer to offer or increase promotional opportunities through the bargaining process.      

Did you know that...

Classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining.

Are you regularly doing work above your current classification level and feel you should be reclassified to a higher level?

Since classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining, there is very little the AJC can do to help you unless you submit an individual request to the AJC to support the filing of an individual job content grievance on your behalf.    For more information on job content, acting pay and job classification grievances, including the process to follow to request support, please refer to our online FAQ relating to job descriptions and classifications.

Health Care Benefits
Did you know that...

Health care benefits are negotiated at the National Joint Council level?  There is a cyclical review conducted every three to five years that allows bargaining agents to send their proposed changes to the health care plan.  The Public Service Health Care Plan Directive is currently under review.  

In an unprecedented decision last year, Minister Clement refused to endorse NJC recommendation and threatened the NJC with a legislated overhaul of the Directive should the proposal not be reviewed in light of the current government´s stance on this issues.  A new proposal was sent recently to the Minister and we are currently awaiting a response.   For more information on the co-development process, please consult the NJC website.

Sick Leave Myths
Did you know that...

If Tony Clement, President of Treasury Board, gets his way and eliminates sick leave banks altogether and replaces it with a short-term disability insurance programme.

* The bargaining agent would have to agree, unless there is an impasse leading to the parties mutually agreeing to submit to interest arbitration that ultimately results in an arbitral award in Treasury Board´s favour.
* You would only be eligible for short-term disability if you are considered “totally disabled” and under the care of a physician or health care professional?  This will involve more red tape in order to secure salary continuation (usually at a percentage of your salary).  Simple medical certificates from a physician will no longer suffice.  You will be required to get your physician to complete medical assessment forms in short order (usually , release further medical information to the insurance carrier.
* Short-term disability benefits are usually paid out at a reduced rate?  Currently, your sick leave with pay ensures that you suffer no loss of pay.
* Members would be treated differently across the country based on the different levels of access to medical practitioners across the country and the different practices of the various medical practitioners.

- According to a Decima Research poll commissioned by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in September 2006, 17% of Canadians do not have family physicians.  
- According to a study conducted by Canadian Family Physician in 2013, the average wait time to secure an appointment with a physician in Quebec is 24 days.  
- According to a 2013 Commonwealth  Fund International Health Policy Survey of the General Public,
- Between 3% and 15% of Canadians, depending on the province, do not have a regular doctor or clinic where they go for care;
- Accessing medical care after hours (without going to an emergency department) is difficult for 62% of Canadians, ranging from 56% in British Columbia to 76% in Newfoundland and Labrador;
- Problems with access to primary care continue to be addressed by hospital emergency departments;
- 31% to 46% could get a same-day or next-day appointment needed (not including ED visits, the worst of all the countries surveyed and with no improvement since 2004; and
- 26% of Canadians waited 4 or more hours to be seen in the ED, ranking as the worst internationally and has not improved since 2004.
- According to Treasury Board´s website, in 2013, there were over 262,000 federal public service employees.  

* You would not receive any form of sick leave with pay on account of a cold, flu or other short-term illness that prevents you from reporting to work.
* Management will have effectively contracted out the management of absenteeism relating to illness onto a third party who is not a party to the collective agreement.
* An insurer's refusal to accept a claim is not grievable as the contract of insurance is between the employer and the short-term disability insurance provider.

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