DOJ's New Code of Values and Ethics: What You Need to Know Before You Sign DOJ's Acknowledgement Form :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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March 21st, 2013
March 21st, 2013

DOJ's New Code of Values and Ethics: What You Need to Know Before You Sign DOJ's Acknowledgement Form

Last week, the AJC was notified that DOJ issued an Acknowledgement Form for all LAs to sign in relation to the new Code of Values and Ethics ("new Code").   The AJC is taking issue with the wording of the form which was originally provided by Treasury Board.

The AJC's concern is that the employer is asking each individual to sign and accept it as a condition of employment.  We recognize that management is within its rights to send out a notice to LAs setting out expectations and to impose the provisions of the new Code  but all that management should be seeking is an "acknowledgement of having received, read and understood the new Code of Values and Ethics" the document.  The New Code was not the subject of a negotiation.  Had the Code been negotiable, it would have most certainly required a negotiation between the AJC, as the exclusive bargaining agent for its members, and Treasury Board, rather than between individual departments and LAs.

In addition to the AJC wishing to protect its exclusive bargaining agent rights, the AJC wants to ensure that LAs do not, by signing the acknowledgement form, waive their right to challenge the reasonableness of the rules set out in the new Code in the event they become the subject of disciplinary action.

Our advice to LAs is therefore to strike out the form and provide the language in quotations above, or to hold off on signing the form altogether until we get clarification from DOJ on how our differences can be resolved.  If for some reason, you have already signed the acknowledgement form, our advice is that you write your manager indicating that you wish to have the signed acknowledgement form replaced with the simple acknowledgement wording set out above.  In the event the department refuses to accept these terms, we then recommend that you send a note to your manager to be inserted in your personnel file, stating that you reserve the right to challenge the reasonableness of any of the rules contained therein and that your signature of the acknowledgement is not to be deemed as a waiver of such right.

Please note that DOJ Labour Relations has confirmed that the signing of the acknowledgement form should in no way be conditional on your manager pursuing the PREA process.   If your manager is misinformed, you should direct him to speak directly with DOJ Labour Relations in Ottawa, who we are told will confirm this understanding.  If you are unsuccessful in getting your manager to pursue the PREA process as required under the terms of the new collective agreement and wish to pursue the grievance process, kindly complete the Incident Form and forward it to .

For more information on the extent of the employer's right to unilaterally impose a change in terms and conditions of employment, AJC members can consult the FAQs.

Should Treasury Board or DOJ not address AJC's concerns, the AJC may opt to file a policy grievance in order to help protect the AJC's exclusive bargaining agent rights and the rights of its members.

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