Group Grievances

As of April 1, 2005, group grievances can now be presented to an employer by a bargaining agent.

Section 215 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act (FPSLRA) provides that the bargaining agent may only present a group grievance with respect to employees in a single portion of the federal public administration who feel aggrieved by the interpretation or application of a provision of a collective agreement or arbitral award. The bargaining agent must also have obtained the consent of each of the individual employees who make up the group that is presenting a grievance.

An individual employee may withdraw from the presentation of a group grievance by notifying the bargaining agent. This may be done at any time before a final decision.

Section 216 of the FPSLRA provides that a bargaining agent can refer to adjudication any group grievance that has already been presented to the employer up to and including the final level of an internal process in which the outcome was unsatisfactory.

Limitations

There are some limitations related to presenting a group grievance. Group grievances may not be presented if:

  • a redress process is already provided for under any Act of Parliament, other than the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  • the grievance involves “the right to equal pay for work of equal value”; and
  • the grievance is related to action taken under instruction, direction or regulation given by or made by the Government of Canada in the interest of the safety or security of Canada or states associated to Canada.

Please note that employees who, in relation to a particular matter, have availed themselves of any employer's complaint procedures that expressly preclude participation in a group grievance under the FPSLRA may not be included in group grievances on the matter by a bargaining agent.

References to adjudication

Group grievances should be referred to adjudication using form 22 of the Public Service Labour Relations Board Regulations (the Regulations).

Please note that a party that raises an issue involving the Canadian Human Rights Act must also give notice of the issue to the Canadian Human Rights Commission by using form 24 of the Regulations.

For more information…

Please consult sections 215 through 219 of the FPSLRA, as well as sections 74 to 82 of the Regulations for more precise details regarding group grievances.

The following may also be useful: