Summoning Witnesses Under the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act

An application for a summons under the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act (FPSLRA) must be filed with the Board. Pursuant to paragraph 20(a) of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board Act (FPSLREBA), subsection 147(1), subsection 174(1) and paragraph 226(1) of the FPSLRA, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB), an arbitration board, a public interest commission or an adjudicator can summon witnesses, enforce their attendance and compel them to give oral or written evidence under oath in the same manner as a superior court of record.

Pursuant to sections 18 and 103 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations (the Regulations), the party applying for a summons should provide the following information:

  • the name and address of the witness to be summoned;
  • a brief statement of the evidence that the witness is expected to give at the hearing.

(Note: When a witness must also produce documents, the request should include an explanation of the documents' relevance with respect to the issues raised by the proceedings.)

The party summoning a witness bears the responsibility of serving the summons in accordance with the rules in force in the province or territory where the hearing will be held. More information regarding those rules may be sought from the appropriate superior court.

Expert witnesses

Parties intending to have a witness recognized as an "expert witness" at the hearing should send this individual's credentials (e.g., curriculum vitæ and list of publications) to the other party beforehand. This will serve to notify the other party of the intention to produce the evidence of an expert witness and allow the party to review the individual's credentials in advance.

When requesting a summons for an expert witness, the requesting party should arrange for a specific date and time for that testimony and provide that information to the FPSLREB, along with the request for a summons. If necessary, the requesting party should discuss these scheduling arrangements with the opposing party prior to requesting the summons.

All reports of expert witnesses that will be produced at the hearing should be sent to the other party in advance. If the other party intends to challenge the qualifications of the expert witness or produce its own expert witness, its intentions should be indicated by return correspondence.

The FPSLREB does not require copies of this type of correspondence between the two parties. However, the credentials of the expert witness must be produced at the hearing.

Payment of witness fees

Section 248 of the FPSLRA and section 41 of the FPSLREBA provide that a person who is summoned by the FPSLREB, an arbitration board, a public interest commission or an adjudicator to attend a hearing under the FPSLRA and the PSLREBA as a witness is entitled to the same fees and allowances as if that person were to attend before the Federal Court. More information regarding those fees and allowances may be sought from the Federal Courts Rules.

All costs, fees and allowances regarding the attendance of a witness, including those relating to the service of the summons, are paid by the party summoning the witness.

Copies

An application for a summons does not need to be copied to the other parties, intervenors, or interested persons as it falls within the exceptions listed in subsection 7(3) of the Regulations.