Objecting to Timeliness with Respect to the Presentation of a Grievance or its Reference to Adjudication

A grievance may not be referred to adjudication or heard by an adjudicator until it has been properly presented at all the required levels of the grievance process that applies. (See section 225 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act (FPSLRA))

The time limits for presenting a grievance at any level of the grievance process may be extended, either before or after the expiry of the times set out in Part 2 of the FPSLRA or in a grievance procedure contained in a collective agreement. This may be done by agreement between the parties or by the Board or an adjudicator, as the case may be, in the interest of fairness, on the application of a party. This also applies to time limits for referring a grievance to adjudication and for providing or filing a notice, reply or document (see section 61 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Regulations (the Regulations)).

Under section 95(1) of the Regulations, a party may, no later than 30 days after being provided with a copy of the notice of the reference to adjudication:

  1. raise an objection on the grounds that the time limit prescribed in Part 2 or provided for in a collective agreement for presenting a grievance at a level of the grievance process has not been met; or
  2. raise an objection on the grounds that the time limit prescribed in Part 2 or provided for in a collective agreement for referring a grievance to adjudication has not been met.

The objection referred to in paragraph 95(1)(a) may be raised only if the grievance was rejected at the level at which the time limit was not met and at all subsequent levels of the grievance process for that reason. To raise such an objection, a party must provide a written statement to the Board detailing its objection.

In cases where there appears to be an issue about whether a grievance has been properly presented at all the required levels under a grievance process, the Chairperson may decline to refer the grievance to an adjudicator until that issue is addressed (see subsection 223(2) and section 225 of the FPSLRA).

Moreover, if the responding party files an objection stating that either the presentation of the grievance at a required level of the grievance process or its reference to adjudication is untimely, that objection should be addressed before the grievance is heard on its merits.

For a grievance presented under the FPSLRA, section 95 of the Regulations outlines what is required to raise an objection to timeliness. Failure to meet these requirements may result in an objection to timeliness being deemed to be waived.

To support its explanation that the presentation of the grievance at a required level of the grievance process has not been timely, the opposing party must provide a copy of the decision rendered on the grievance at that level and at all subsequent levels of the grievance process.

Please note that the requirements of section 95 of the Regulations do not apply to grievances presented under the former Public Service Staff Relations Act. For those grievances, however, the Chairperson has requested that any objection to timeliness be raised within thirty (30) days of receipt of a copy of the reference to adjudication.

For more information

Please consult the following decisions for further information on the requirements of section 95 of the Regulations: