From Call Duty to Leave Reconciliation: Updates on AJC Policy Grievances :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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September 14th, 2015
September 14th, 2015

From Call Duty to Leave Reconciliation: Updates on AJC Policy Grievances

Policy grievances affect either all of our membership or an important number of our members.

A good part of our work involves representing individual members on individual grievances, some of which are referred to adjudication before the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board PSLREB.

The vast majority of our grievance representation work has however been in the form of policy grievances.  Policy grievances affect either all of our membership or an important number of our members.  We have various important policy grievances currently on the go and in the interests of keeping our members informed on the matters that affect you, please find a summary of the current work we are doing on your behalf.

DOJ and PPSC Leave Reconciliation: Hearings have concluded and we hope to receive a decision in the fall

Leave reconciliation is one of the biggest issues the AJC has had to deal with in the last few years.  You will recall that the PSLREB held hearings on this matter in October 2014 and June 2015.  A special thanks goes out to the many members, including at least one retiree, who testified in support of AJC's efforts to defend your collective interests.  Without our members, we have no means of meeting our burden of proof.  We await the adjudicator's decision with the expectation that it will be issued by this fall before the end of the adjudicator's term.

For more background information on the leave reconciliation grievance, you can read this March 10th 2015 communique, as well as this June 10th 2014 communique and this one from June 22nd 2013.

Call Duty: The Fight Continues

As reported on April 30, 2015 and May 14, 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Treasury Board (TB) have not yet complied with terms of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (PSLREB) April decision on after-hours call duty in the Quebec Regional Office's Immigration Law Division.   In fact, Treasury Board now has judicial review applications on the go:  the first application relates to the adjudicator's ruling allowing the call duty grievance and the second relates to the adjudicator granting AJC's request to file the adjudicator's order with the Federal Court.  

In regards to the new set of call duty grievances we filed and reported to you on May 14, 2015, Treasury Board had until August 21 to render its decision on these on account of an agreement to extend their timeline to respond.  No response was received and the AJC will therefore be proceeding with referral to adjudication.

For more background, you can read our April 10th 2015 communique. You can also read the PSLREB decision.  

Policy Grievance on the Policy Grievance Process

A year ago, the AJC filed this policy grievance asking that the decision-maker from Treasury Board be present during oral hearings, when oral hearings are held. TB changed it prior practice by sending a substitute without decision-making authority to hear oral submissions on policy grievances.  

A hearing was held on July 3rd 2015 and we await a decision from adjudicator David Olsen.

Prorating of Performance Pay on Promotions

Following the adjudicator's decision in relation to the prorating of performance pay on promotion policy grievance (see February 4, 2015 decision by the PSLREB) where the adjudicator denied AJC's grievance in whole despite the fact that Treasury Board conceded to AJC's position that performance pay should not be prorated for those who worked prior to and following a promotion, the AJC filed an application for judicial review after its efforts to get the adjudicator to modify his ruling failed.  

The AJC maintains that for enforceability purposes, it is imperative that the adjudicator's ruling reflect a partial award of the grievance, in case we need to seek future enforcement against Treasury Board or employing departments so that we may avoid having to re-litigate the matter in the future in the event of non-compliance.  

We are currently waiting for hearing dates.

Pay increments for lawyers on maternity or parental leave

You will recall that in January 2014, Treasury Board denied our policy grievance relating to management's refusal to provide pay increments to AJC members for time served on maternity or parental leave.

The matter was referred to adjudication and a hearing was held in September 2014.  We continue to await a decision from the PSLREB.  

Minimum Hours Target at DOJ

In April 2015, we filed a policy grievance following DOJ's incorporation of minimum hour-targets in performance management agreements (PMA).

We filed our submissions on June 9, 2015. Treasury Board had until July 31 to respond.

The matter was recently (August 12th) referred to adjudication before the PSLREB. We are awaiting hearing dates.

Some Recent Successes in 2015

    * Membership fees for articling students have been secured (see this March 16th, 2015 communique) across the country in a consistent and fair fashion;

    * We are happy to report that we have settled the prorating of membership fees policy grievance.  From now on, lawyers departing the public service will not be faced with a claw back of their membership fees to their respective law society;

    * Some PPSC members have had their performance assessments adjusted in order to conform to collective agreement requirements;

    * We have assisted a member in securing a lump sum award which the employer initially refused to pay;
    * Through informal resolution, we helped secure accommodation agreements for some members;

    * Our labour relations officers assisted in the resolution of workplace conflict.

    * DOJ bought in to our former GC representative's health and safety initiative targeting the impact of vicarious trauma in relation to the work performed in connection with Indian Residential Schools.

    * The AJC has a seat on the Mental Health Technical Task Force that the PSAC and TB agreed to create in order to help improve mental wellness in the workplace for all public servants.    For more information, see this Ottawa Citizen article as well as Treasury Board's website.

For more information on the types of services we provide to registered members, feel free to consult our website under the membership section.  Interested in becoming a volunteer?  Call your local GC representative and ask how you can help?

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