What's new

June 30, 2020

Updated notice from the Chairperson of the Board – End of Suspension of Regulatory Timelines

On May 5, 2020, an order was issued declaring the regulatory timelines were suspended until July 5, 2020.

In consideration of the most recent guidance received from our provincial and federal authorities, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board is in the process of resuming some of its regular activities.

Accordingly, the previous order will not be extended and as a result, the suspension of all regulatory timeframes will end on July 5, 2020.  The calculation of these timelines will resume on July 6, 2020 (please see the tables for a more detailed explanation).

As a reminder, the process the Board will follow regarding hearing schedules was set out in a notice on June 8, 2020.

The Board’s office remains closed to the public and mail delivery is still restricted.  Accordingly, please continue to file documents with the Board by electronic means, as follows:

If you are unable to file documents electronically or if you are encountering any difficulties, please call 1-866-931-3454.

Catherine Ebbs, Chairperson
Federal Public Sector Labour Relations
and Employment Board

June 8, 2020

Hearing Schedule

Since March 2020, Board hearings have been postponed. The following outlines the process the Board will follow as of August 1, 2020. This process will ensure an effective approach to resuming Board activities while being mindful of the capacities of the Board Registry and the various parties affected.

  • The Board will issue an August 2020 schedule of cases, which will be composed of the cases from March 2020 that were postponed. 
  • The Board will issue a September 2020 schedule of cases, which will be composed of the cases from April 2020 that were postponed.
  • Members with cases on the August and September 2020 schedules will review the case files and provide directions to the Registrar (for example, remove from schedule because matter will proceed by written submissions, keep on the schedule, remove from schedule because member wishes to have a case management conference with the parties).  All cases will have a planned next step.
  • For the October 2020 schedule, members will review their cases assigned from the May, June and July schedules. They will then submit their directions on these cases to the Registrar. Cases for which assigned members request a hearing will be placed on the October or November schedule given the volume of cases for the schedule. Again, all cases will have a planned next step.

June 8, 2020

Videoconferencing

In light of the Government of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including physical distancing measures and the elimination of nonessential travel, as well as the Board's postponement of all in-person hearings for March through July 2020; and in anticipation that the current public health measures will be lifted slowly, the Board recognizes that it and the parties will continue to face limitations in carrying out a full schedule of in-person hearings for the foreseeable future. The Board has determined that greater use of videoconferencing is required to fulfil its mandate.

The FPSLREB has decided on an interim basis to adopt the use of the Zoom Professional platform or other appropriate platforms to conduct case conferences, mediations and hearings by videoconference. The decision to use videoconferencing shall be at the discretion of the panel of the Board or mediator assigned to a particular proceeding.

May 5, 2020

Updated Notice from the Chairperson of the Board – COVID-19

As highlighted in my previous notices with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on the Board’s operations, the safety and health of everyone involved in matters coming before it are a priority. There have been developments since then, so I am issuing this new directive concerning the Board’s operations:

  • Hearings that were scheduled to be conducted in person from now to July 31, 2020, are postponed; they will be rescheduled later. However, subject to any restrictions imposed by public authorities, the Board may consider requests made by the parties on consent to commence or continue with in-person hearings before July 31, 2020.
  • During this period, Board members and mediators may contact the parties in these and other cases to explore options for moving forward, including by teleconference, written submissions, or other means acceptable to all the parties. The Board is exploring the feasibility of videoconferencing. Further information about it will be provided in due course.
  • On March 20, 2020, an order was issued declaring that all regulatory timeframes are suspended until May 31, 2020. In other words, the days during this period would not count for the purpose of calculating regulatory deadlines. The calculation of time limits was to resume on June 1, 2020. With respect to grievances, the suspension applied to the time limits set out in the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations and in the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Regulations, to present a grievance to the employer and for it to provide a decision.  However, any time limits for these purposes established by collective agreement were not suspended.
  • On May 5, 2020, a new order was issued declaring that all regulatory time frames will be suspended from June 1 to July 5, 2020, inclusively, meaning that the days during this period will also not count for the purpose of calculating regulatory deadlines. The calculation of these timelines will resume on July 6, 2020 (please see the tables for a more detailed explanation). However, the order now specifies that the suspension of regulatory timelines does not apply to the time limits established by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations and by the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Regulations, to present a grievance to the employer and for it to provide a decision. As with the order of March 20, 2020, the time limits for these purposes established by collective agreement are not suspended.
  • Timelines set out in the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act (for instance, to file complaints under s. 190, such as duty of fair representation complaints, or complaints under s. 133 of the Canada Labour Code) remain in force and are not suspended. Please note that the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations were recently amended to enable parties to file documents by email, which makes it easier for them to present such complaints and other initiating documents to the Board (see the What's New notice dated March 18, 2020, for more information).
  • Until further notice, all incoming mail will be kept on hold by the postal service and it will not be delivered to the Board.  Therefore, it is recommended to communicate with the Board by email at mail.courrier@fpslreb-crtespf.gc.ca.
  • The Board will continue to actively monitor this situation as it evolves. Parties are encouraged to regularly check the Board's website for updates and information on the restoration of its regular operations. The Board is committed to being as flexible as reasonably possible in helping the public deal with this extraordinary situation and the hardship it is causing.
  • The Board appreciates the patience and understanding of the parties and their representatives in these challenging times.

Catherine Ebbs
_______________________________________

March 25, 2020

Update: COVID-19

Please note that until further notice, all incoming mail will be kept on hold by the postal service and will not be delivered to the Board. You are encouraged where possible to communicate with the Board by email instead at mail.courrier@fpslreb-crtespf.gc.ca.

March 20, 2020

Notice from the Chairperson of the Board

Update: COVID-19 and recent amendments to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations

As was already indicated in an earlier notice posted on the Board’s website regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the Board’s operations, the safety and health of everyone involved in hearings and mediation processes are a priority. Since issuing that notice, which declared that hearings until April 3, 2020, were postponed, the circumstances relating to the virus and the measures being taken to deal with it have evolved significantly.

Accordingly, I am now issuing a new directive concerning the operations of the Board:

  • All Board activities previously scheduled to occur between March 20 and May 29, 2020, including hearings, exchange of document lists, mediations, and the filing of written submissions, as well as telephone conferences, are postponed to a date to be determined later.
  • However, parties may submit on consent a request that a matter proceed by teleconference or written submission, which will be considered and ruled upon.
  • Of course, during this period, the parties may continue to work with Board mediators to assist them in resolving matters in whatever format is acceptable to all concerned, other than in-person meetings.
  • All regulatory timeframes for complaints, grievances and board matters between March 20 and May 31, 2020*, inclusively are suspended (see Chairperson’s Order dated March 20, 2020 ). In other words, the days during this period will NOT count for the purpose of calculating regulatory deadlines. The calculation of time limits will resume on June 1, 2020, (please see tables for a more detailed explanation of these calculations).
    * Please note that the version of this communique that was originally posted stated erroneously that all regulatory timeframes were suspended until May 29. However, the Chairperson's Order states that the timeframes are suspended until May 31, 2020, inclusively.
  • The Board cannot suspend timelines set out in the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act itself (for instance, to file complaints under s. 190 of the Act – such as duty of fair representation complaints or complaints under s.133 of the Canada Labour Code).  However, as explained below, amendments to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations came into force on March 18, 2020, enabling parties to file documents by email, which makes it easier for them to present such complaints to the Board.
  • Please note that all mail will be retained until further notice.
  • The Board will continue to actively monitor this situation as it evolves.  Parties are encouraged to regularly check the Board’s website for updates and information regarding the restoration of its regular operations. The Board is committed to being as flexible as reasonably possible in assisting the public to deal with this extraordinary situation and the hardship it is causing
  • The Board appreciates the patience and understanding of parties and their representatives in these challenging times.

Amendments to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations (“Regulations”)

As is indicated on the Board’s website, amendments to the Regulations came into force on March 18, 2020. The changes brought about by these amendments are summarized in the What’s  New section of the Board’s website. The amendments themselves can be viewed in the notice published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

One of the key changes to the Regulations is that parties will now be allowed to send or file documents by electronic means, as well as by the existing means of mail, fax and hand delivery. This includes initiating documents such as referrals of grievances to adjudication and unfair labour practices complaints.

In light of the current COVID 19 situation, parties are encouraged to take advantage of this new, simpler method to present initiating documents under the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act when possible. The forms for these and other Board proceedings are available on the Board’s website and once completed, they can be scanned and emailed to director.directeur@fpslreb-crtespf.gc.ca. The Board will be updating the forms shortly to a fillable format that will enable filing without the necessity to print and scan them for sending.

Please note that the filing of hard copies is no longer required in many cases (see the amendments to the Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II for further details). However, please ensure that any required documentation is attached to the email (for example, in the case of a referral to adjudication of an individual grievance, a copy of the grievance is required).

Catherine Ebbs
_______________________________________
Chairperson
Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board

March 18, 2020

Regulations Amending the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations

As of March 18, 2020, portions of the regulations relating to the matters arising before the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board  (the Board) have been amended to reflect a number of changes brought about by the coming into force of An Act to amend the Canada Labour code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act (S.C. 2017, c. 12; Bill C-4),   An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures (S.C. 2017, c. 9; Bill C-7),and  An Act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other Acts (S.C. 2018, c. 24; Bill C-62). Some amendments were also made for reasons related to modernization and housekeeping.

Key amendments consist of the following:

Status review

A new status review provision for “dormant cases” has been included to enable the Board to better manage its caseload.

Electronic filing

Parties will now be allowed to send or file documents by electronic means, as well as by the existing means of mail, fax and hand delivery.  This change entails amending many provisions of the Regulations to require parties to provide their electronic mail addresses.

Deadline

The 4:00 p.m. deadline, Ottawa time, has been removed, and clarifications have been added with respect to when documents are deemed to have been received by the Board.

Forms

The forms were previously set out in the Schedule to the Regulations. While they continue to exist, the Board now has more flexibility to alter the forms’ content without having to go through a complex regulatory amendment process.  The information that a party must provide in a given matter is now set out specifically in the Regulations rather than in the forms that are currently found in the Schedule. 

Requirement to file multiple copies

It is no longer required to file multiple copies of documents. Where needed, the requirement will be stated on the online forms instead.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP is now included in the procedures for applications for certification and revocation.

Definition

The definition of “day” has been added to the Regulations for added clarity given the introduction of electronic filing. The definitions of “signature” and “contact information” have also been added to reflect the requirements of electronic filing.

Dispute resolution

The definition of « initiating documents » has been amended to include applications for an essential services agreement, applications to amend an essentials services agreement, applications for the amendment or suspension of an essential services agreement in an emergency situation and applications for an extension of time under s.133 of the FPSLRA.

Given that s.158.1 of the FPSLRA was repealed as a result of the coming into force of Bill C-62, certain provisions of the Regulations were amended or repealed to reflect this legislative change.  New provisions were also introduced, essentially restoring the dispute resolution provisions that existed before December 13, 2013.

Representation of grievor not included in bargaining unit

A new provision has been added to address the representation of a grievor who is not included in a bargaining unit.

Coming into force

The Regulations came into force on the day that they were registered, March 18, 2020.

March 16, 2020

The safety and health of everyone involved in our hearings and mediation processes are a priority for us. In order to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, the Chairperson of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board has decided that all in-person hearings and mediation sessions scheduled between March 16 and April 3, 2020, will be postponed.

Hearings and case conferences that are already scheduled to proceed by way of telephone conference during that period will proceed as scheduled, unless a request is made to adjourn.

We will monitor the situation closely as it evolves. Should circumstances dictate the postponement of hearing and mediation dates scheduled beyond April 3rd, the parties in the affected matters will be similarly advised. The rescheduling of hearings will be a priority for the Board as soon as it is considered appropriate. Mediators will work with parties to reschedule sessions as soon as possible.

Please note that the current situation could also have an impact on the timeframes specified in the regulations for complaints, grievances and board matters. Any new information in that regard will be published if and when necessary.

The Board is committed to being as flexible as possible in assisting the parties and the public to deal with this situation. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions.

October 21, 2019

Training Initiative by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board

The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB or “the Board”) is pleased to announce its training initiative to support harmonious labour and employment relations in the federal public sector.

As part of the Board’s mandate to resolve labour relations disputes and staffing complaints, the Board will offer courses designed to assist human resources and bargaining agent representatives in processes before the Board.

The training includes the following courses, of varying lengths:

  • Participating in Mediation at the Board: to assist parties in learning the basic skills of interest-based negotiation in the context of mediation at the Board. This interactive course allows parties to practice techniques to feel more comfortable participating in mediation to resolve their differences.
  • An Overview of the Board’s Mandate, Processes and Jurisprudence in Labour Relations Matters: to provide an understanding of the Board’s mandate relating to labour relations in the federal public sector, the procedures in place and an overview of some of its decisions on the matter.
  • An Overview of the Board’s Mandate, Processes and Jurisprudence in Staffing-Related Matters: to provide an understanding of the Board’s mandate relating to staffing complaints, the procedures in place and an overview of some of its decisions on the matter.

For more information about these courses, including dates and locations, please click here for the mediation training and here for the training in processes and jurisprudence. I encourage you to share this information within your organization.

Sincerely,

Virginia Adamson,
Executive Director and General Counsel