Under Section 187 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, PAFSO has a general duty of fair representation to all members of its bargaining unit. It must represent individual members in a manner that is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith as defined in the legislation and the case law while also taking into account the collective interest of all the members within the bargaining unit for which a collective agreement is in force.
The purpose of this Protocol is to describe PAFSO’s role and the role of its officials in representation services to the members. PAFSO is committed to providing appropriate professional resources to members on their employment-related issues. Representation of our members is the sole responsibility of our Labour Relations Advisors and will be carried out based on the following guiding principles:
A member will need the approval of PAFSO in order to pursue a matter pertaining to the application and/or interpretation of the collective agreement.
PAFSO will assign each individual matter to one (1) of the Labour Relations Advisor, who after reviewing the facts, the case law, the collective agreement, the collective interests of the membership and any financial constraints, will decide whether to offer representation.
If the Labour Relations Advisor determines that it is not in the best interest of the member or the membership in general to proceed with the matter, he/she will inform the member, if applicable, of the options of self-representation or of seeking representation from another party.
Matters that are not related to the collective agreement can be pursued by a member without the involvement of PAFSO.
If a member wishes to be represented by another party, including legal counsel, PAFSO will accept the member’s choice and will dissociate itself from the matter of representation.
The responsibility of representation on labour relations and employment related matters belongs to PAFSO’s Labour Relations Advisors, reporting to the General Manager.
In the following matters, the Labour Relations Advisor will act as a representative which mean he/she will advocate on behalf of the member:
- Collective agreement grievances (including NJC grievances);
- Grievances related to the Foreign Service Directives;
- Grievances related to discipline;
- Classification grievances;
- Staffing complaints;
- Worker’s Compensation Appeals;
- Other grievances.
In other matters, such as, but not limited to the following, the Labour Relations Advisor will only act in an advisory capacity whereas he/she will be limited to accompanying or assisting the member, and to intervening only in matters of process:
- Harassment complaints;
- Reintegration into the workplace;
- Investigations on appointments;
- Administrative investigations, etc.
In matters involving a person who is no longer part of the bargaining unit, PAFSO will provide assistance to the person if the circumstances that gave rise to the intervention arose when the person was a member of PAFSO.
In exceptional cases, PAFSO may provide assistance to a person who is not part of the bargaining unit. In such a situation, we would need to get proper authorization and consent from the individual’s bargaining agent if they are represented.
In matters involving a conflict between two members, PAFSO will provide assistance to both members if there is no supervisory relationship between them. In such cases, each member will be provided with the service from a different Labour Relations Advisor who will assist their respective assigned member through the proper recourse procedure.
In matters involving a conflict between two members where a supervisory relationship exists, PAFSO will only provide general procedural information to a member who acts in a supervisory capacity. PAFSO will only provide representation to a member who acted in a supervisory capacity if the Labour Relations Advisor, following the outcome of the redress process, determines that the member was unfairly treated or that the penalty imposed as a result of the administrative process was too severe.
The Labour Relations Advisor may consider initiating an informal process before filing a formal recourse procedure, and may do so again at any time during the formal process.
The Labour Relations Advisor will carefully consider the information provided by the member and will determine, based on an objective assessment, if PAFSO will proceed with the matter. If the Labour Relations Advisor determines that it is not in the best interest of the member or the membership in general to proceed with the matter, he/she will inform the member in writing of the reasons for the decision.
In the case where a formal redress process was initiated, should the Labour Relations Advisor decide to withdraw the representation or not pursue the matter further, he/she will inform the member in writing of the reasons for the decision.
If the matter does not pertain to the application and/or interpretation of the collective agreement, the Labour Relations Advisor will inform the member of the options of self-representation or of seeking representation from another party. If the member decides to retain the service of an outside counsel, the cost associated with the representation will be at his/her own expense.
Pursuant to section 209 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, a grievance pertaining to the application and/or interpretation of the collective agreement or an arbitral award, or a grievance related to a disciplinary action resulting in termination, demotion, suspension or financial penalty can be referred to adjudication.
As per subsection 209(2) of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act, in matters arising from the application and/or interpretation of the collective agreement, PAFSO must not only approve the filing of the grievances but must also approve the referral and the representation of such grievances at adjudication. If the Labour Relations Advisor decides not to proceed with the grievance and/or decides not to refer the matter to adjudication, he/she will inform the member in writing of the reasons for the decision. The grievance will be considered withdrawn and the matter will be closed.
Under no circumstances will the member be allowed to self-represent or be represented by another party for a grievance related to the application and/or the interpretation of the collective agreement.
If the Labour Relations Advisor decides to withdraw from representation, he/she will inform the proper administrative authority of his/her decision. Should the member wish to pursue the matter on his/her own, he/she will then be entirely responsible for his/her representation, including communicating with the proper authorities.
PAFSO will not provide any representation or assistance in the following circumstances:
- A person is not a member of its bargaining unit (except under the exceptional circumstances outlined above);
- A matter that occurred when the member was appointed outside of PAFSO’s bargaining unit and/or in an excluded position;
- A matter for which a member did not provide the relevant information and/or documentation within a timely matter;
- A matter that is outside PAFSO’s jurisdiction or authority;
- A matter involving the reclassification of a member outside of PAFSO’s bargaining unit, and;
- A matter involving the appointment of a member outside of PAFSO’s bargaining unit.
The General Manager may choose to make exceptions to the Protocol, so as long as those exceptions are in the best interests of PAFSO and the membership as a whole.