Summoning Witnesses Under the Public Service Staff Relations Act

Summoning of witnesses

An application for a summons under the former Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA) must be filed with the Executive Director. Pursuant to paragraph 25(a), subsection 77.1(5), subsection 78.1(8), section 86 and section 96.1 of the PSSRA, a conciliation commissioner, a designation review panel, a conciliation board or an adjudicator can summon witnesses, enforce their attendance, compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath, and produce such documents and things as are necessary, to the same extent as a superior court of record.

The party applying for a summons may be required to provide some information before the summons is issued. Such information may include the following:

  • the name, address, occupation, employer and title of the person to be summoned;
  • the substance of such person’s proposed testimony.

(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 PSLRB, 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 PSLRB 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 109 of the PSSRA provides that a person who is summoned by the PSLRB, a conciliation commissioner, an adjudicator, a conciliation board or a designation review panel to attend a hearing under the PSSRA as a witness is entitled to be paid an allowance for expenses. This is determined in accordance with the scale for the time being in force for witnesses in civil suits in the superior court of the province in which the proceedings are taking place.

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

For more information…

Please consult:

  • Paragraph 25(a), subsection 77.1(5), subsection 78.1(8), section 86, section 96.1 and section 109 of the PSSRA.
  • Subsection 12(1) of the P.S.S.R.B. Regulations and Rules of Procedure, 1993.