Please note, where there is nothing to report, no update will be provided.
Bargaining Update -- 12 June 2013
AD, AS and PG Groups
A preliminary hearing was held on May 21. The issues before the PSLRB were whether several of our proposals regarding Workforce Adjustment could be contained in the Terms of Reference of the Arbitration Board. Arbitration Boards are limited by legislation in what they can consider so this hearing was to determine whether our proposals, as well as one from NRC, fit within these legislative restrictions. We are waiting for a written decision. Once that decision is rendered, the terms of reference will be set and we will be able to schedule hearing dates for the three groups.
Bargaining Update -- 10 April 2013
AD, AS and PG Groups
We have applied for the establishment of an Arbitration Board for all three groups. Prior to such a hearing, a preliminary hearing on jurisdiction will be held on May 21 and 22 on the issue of Workforce Adjustment and whether such items can be considered by an Arbitration Board. Once this matter is resolved, we will be scheduling dates for the actual Arbitration Board hearings.
AD, AS and PG Groups
We have applied for the establishment of an Arbitration Board. No hearing dates have yet been scheduled.
The bargaining team for the three groups met with NRC on Feb. 6, 2013. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach any agreement. The bargaining team entered bargaining with the hope of reaching a deal; they were prepared to give up on some proposals and to accept others, like the standard changes to severance pay. NRC, however, continues to insist that these groups also accept extra changes to severance pay, changes that no other groups in the public service, with any other employers, have been asked to accept. These extra changes are the same things that NRC tried to refer to arbitration for the TO Group. They deal with the reduction of future Workforce Adjustment packages by the value of any severance pay cashed out today. Just so all members are clear, this does not have to do with the double counting of severance pay, there are already provisions in the collective agreements to deal with that. At no time has the RCEA suggested that any employee should be able to double count or pyramid their severance pay.
Bargaining Update -- 1 February 2013
The AD, AS and PG groups will resume negotiations on February 6 and 7.
Bargaining Update -- 5 September 2012:
WFA Policy – In January of 2012, the RCEA, PIPS and NRC reached an agreement on a new WFA Policy. Some improvements were negotiated following extensive bargaining. This bargaining was delayed while NRC sought and received its “mandate” from the Treasury Board. Once this agreement was reached, we anticipated that the new Policy would be quickly signed and implemented. This has not happened. Despite the fact that NRC received a mandate from Treasury Board, which means that TB had to sign off on all the elements of the negotiation, NRC continues to assert that they cannot sign and implement the new policy because Treasury Board has not given them the permission to do so. We have recently been told that the new Policy has been “sitting” on the desk of the President of the Treasury Board, but that he has more pressing priorities than to approve it. We are left to wonder how a jointly bargained policy can be left to sit around for almost nine months, while Treasury Board deals with other priorities. We are also left to wonder how hard NRC has been pressing this issue. It is unreasonable and insulting to all the employees of the NRC that this has occurred.
Bargaining sessions were held in May. No agreement was reached at that time. We concluded the session by identifying to NRC our concerns and priorities and by indicating what we would like to see in a new collective agreement. We indicated our willingness to return to the bargaining table and invited NRC to get back to us when they were prepared to meaningfully discuss the issues. They have not yet gotten back to us to resume bargaining.
Bargaining Update -- 3 May 2012:
The AD, AS and PG Groups will be bargaining together in this round of bargaining. First bargaining dates have been set for May 29 and 30. The group demands are now available.
WFA Update: There have been quite a few recent news reports about special buy-outs or packages in the public service. These are not in fact new or special. In the core public service, they are found in the current Workforce Adjustment Policy. NRC is not covered by this. Rather, we have our own WFA Policy, which forms part of all collective agreements between NRC and the RCEA. Negotiations have been under way to amend the current agreement. In the meantime, the current NRC/RCEA WFA Policy can be reviewed here:
12 December 2011:
Notice to Bargain has been served for all RCEA bargaining units. We are in the process of finalizing demands. With respect to the AD, AS and PG Groups, we are examining the possibility of conducting bargaining for all three groups at the same bargaining table. This would speed up the process but still leave us with three distinct collective agreements.
As always, comments and suggestions from members are always welcome.
6 September 2011:
AD, AS, OP and PG Groups
It is time to start our bargaining preparations. Volunteers are still needed for the AD, OP and PG bargaining committees. If you are interested in participating in the upcoming round of negotiations, please contact the RCEA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All bargaining preparation meetings take place during the lunch hour, while actual bargaining sessions take place during normal working hours. It is not necessary that leave be taken for those days.
Without enough volunteers it will be impossible to commence bargaining with NRC.
9 December 2010:
We are heading into what promises to be another difficult round of bargaining. Many of you are undoubtedly familiar with what has been transpiring in the public service, with the PSAC recently ratifying a controversial collective agreement. In that agreement, the PSAC agreed to substantial changes in severance pay in exchange for a small increase in pay. This was agreed to after the Treasury Board approached the PSAC and invited them to participate in exploratory talks.
Despite statements from the President of the Treasury Board, not all unions have been invited to participate in these “exploratory” talks. To date, the NRC has not approached the RCEA. And we are happy about this. We are not interested in proceeding in the manner that TB and the PSAC did. All our collective agreements will expire over the next twelve months. There are many areas that require improvement in those agreements and we are looking forward to a proper and productive round of bargaining. But this does not mean that we are prepared to make the same kind of concessions that the PSAC did. We believe that severance pay is an important benefit that should remain intact.
Collective agreement expires April 30, 2011. Notice to Bargain to be served in January, 2011.
1 October 2009:
The AD, AS, CS and PG Collective Agreements have now been signed, with an effective date of October 1, 2009.
27 July 2009:
AD Group Ratifies Collective Agreement: On July 27, ballots were counted. The tentative agreement has been ratified and NRC has been advised. The NRC now has to get the approval of the Governor–in–Council. We do not know how long this will take and we have no control over the timing. Once the GIC has approved the tentative agreement, it will be signed by the RCEA and the NRC. From that date of signing, NRC will have 90 calendar days to implement the terms of the new agreement, including retroactive pay.
8 June 2009:
Tentative Agreements Reached for AD, AS, CS and PG Groups
On June 3, tentative agreements were reached for the four above mentioned groups. Wage increases for these groups are based on the legislated increases as per the Expenditure Restraint Act. They are as follows:
2007/2008 – 2.3%
The AD an AS Groups will get the 2008-2011 increases as they have already received an increase for 2007/2008. The CS and PG Groups will get all four increases.
There are some other proposed changes to the collective agreements. These will be explained in more detail in the ratification packages that will be sent out within several weeks.
20 April 2009:
The bargaining team met in early March. At that time, a decision was made to propose a settlement to NRC. The proposal was to renew the collective agreement as is, with the exception of rates of pay which would be increased as per the budget legislation. The proposal was submitted on March 16. We are awaiting the response of NRC.
On Friday, February 7, the Conservative government introduced an omnibus bill to implement the provisions of the federal budget. Bill C-10 includes two sections that directly impact NRC employees: one section that provides for legislated wage rates for federal public sector workers and another that proposes a wholesale overhaul of federal pay equity legislation.
The Expenditure Restraint Act provides for wage increases as follows:
2006-2007 fiscal year – 2.5%
The legislation also prohibits any increases to what it terms “additional remuneration” which means that there can be no positive change to any so called “monetary items”. Collective bargaining remains as do the rights to arbitration and strike. In reality, what this seems to suggest is that unions can go to the bargaining table, but they can only talk about issues and provisions that have no cost attached to them. For all intents and purposes, the government has frozen collective bargaining for the next two years.
None of the RCEA bargaining units have agreements that will be affected by the roll backs contained in the legislation. All our bargaining units will be covered by the 2.3%, 1.5%, 1.5% and 1.5% increases.
The legislation must now make its way through the Parliamentary process. We do not know how long that will take. In the meantime, we will be attempting to resume bargaining on the non-monetary issues for the TO group and to commence bargaining for our other groups.
With respect to pay equity, the proposed legislation changes the entire framework in which pay equity complaints can be made. It changes pay equity from a human rights issue to a compensation issue that must be addressed through collective bargaining. If it is not resolved during bargaining, there can be financial and other penalties. There is a complaint process, but only by individual members and without the support of the union. There are also fines of up to $50,000 if the union encourages or assists a member in making a complaint.
This pay equity proposal is unwieldy and impossible for a union the size of the RCEA. It remains to be seen whether there be will changes to the legislation and if not, how it will be implemented.
3 December 2008:
Collective Bargaining Update
Last week, on November 27, after attempting to engage in meaningful discussions with NRC on the Final Offers, the RCEA Management Committee and representatives of all Bargaining Committees, decided to decline these offers. The offers included wage increases for the CS, OP, PG and TO Groups of 2.3% in 2007-2008 and 1.5% in each of the next three years. For the AD and AS Groups, the wage increases were 1.5% per year for three years starting in 2008-2009. Also in the offers was the demand that the OP, PG and TO Groups agree to a 35 day cap on vacation leave carry-over with a 10 day per year drawdown for any member with more than 35 days in their carry over bank. For the AD and CS Groups, who already have a 35 day cap, the demand was for the 10 day per year drawdown. The AS Group already has these provisions. For all groups except the AS Group, these demands represent significant reductions in benefits.
The RCEA was prepared to accept the wage offers for all groups. We were even prepared to consider the cap on vacation carry over. All attempts to negotiate the drawdown were met with refusals from NRC, until the very last minute, when it became apparent that the Government’s Economic Statement would not include such provisions.
The situation remains extremely fluid. It was reported today that the Finance Minister has changed his mind about removing the right to strike. While this is good news for the Canadian labour movement, we have still to determine exactly how any legislative change will affect the RCEA. We are monitoring the situation and are seeking more information about any other proposed legislative changes. In the meantime, it is our interpretation that collective bargaining can continue on non-wage issues.
We have received many emails from members, some urging us to accept whatever was offered and others urging us to stay the course. As stated earlier, the RCEA on behalf of its members was always prepared to accept the lesser wage offers. However, we were reluctant to be intimidated into accepting other concessions under pressure through last-minute offers from NRC. Based on the state of current information, it now appears that we will have these wage increases, but hopefully will be able to return to the bargaining table to address other issues of concern to the RCEA and the NRC.
We appreciate the support we have received from all members and we will continue to work for the best deals possible for all members.
Some volunteers have come forward to serve on the bargaining committee. Meetings will be scheduled over the summer to review issues and prepare demands.
Notice to bargain has been served. It is now time to form a Bargaining Committee. The role of the Committee is to select a Group Chairperson, formulate demands, determine bargaining strategy and select a bargaining team. The Committee meets during lunch hours and normally up to 5 meetings are required. If anyone is interested in being on the Bargaining Committee, please contact email@example.com.
Recently, Treasury Board released a document called “Policy Framework for the Management of Compensation”. In it, Treasury Board sets out specific principles and an approach to managing compensation in the public service. The document has this to say about separate employers such as NRC:
Separate agencies may exercise their own human resources authority granted by their enabling statute or by Order in Council. This authority may be unconditional or subject to conditions such as prior consultation with or approval by Treasury Board. Separate agencies are employers in their own right. Most separate agencies require the approval of the Governor in Council to enter into collective agreements with the bargaining agents representing their employees. By Cabinet directive, 1967, the Governor in Council requires separate agencies, in advance of bargaining, to obtain from the President of the Treasury Board their collective bargaining mandates, including the objectives to be pursued and the limits to be observed.
This clarifies the difficulties that both the RCEA and NRC have with respect to collective bargaining. On the one hand, Treasury Board says that separate employers are employers in their own right. In the same breath, they identify the limitations to that right. It is these limitations that impact and delay our bargaining with NRC. These limitations are beyond the control of the RCEA. We are forced to wait for Treasury Board to identify and issue bargaining mandates prior to the commencement of any real or meaningful bargaining.
The collective agreement was signed on January 11, 2008. Changes in the new agreement are effective this date.
We are still waiting to sign the collective agreements. The last communication from NRC on this stated:
All members should note that only the items covered by the Arbitral Awards have already been implemented. Any other changes, such as a day being equal to 7.5 hours and the change in sick leave (certified and uncertified), will only take effect on the date of signing of the agreements.
While NRC has 90 days from May 14, 2007 to implement the pay and new annual leave provisions of the Arbitral Award, the remaining changes to the collective agreement will not become effective until those items are signed off. As with prior collective agreements, these items require the approval of the Treasury Board and the Governor in Council. We do not know when these will be signed off.
29 May 2007:
17 May 2007:
AD Group Arbitral Award Issued (full text)
The Arbitration Board, that was formed to hear the case for the AD group, has rendered its final and binding decision. The entire decision will be posted on the website. As well, we will also post a review of all changes to the collective agreement.
At the outset of the hearing, with the assistance of the Arbitration Board, we were able to reach agreement on all outstanding issues with the exception of the following. As such, below find the issues before the Arbitration Board and their decision:
1. The deletion of marriage leave and the provision of five extra days of annual leave – the Board has awarded this change.
2. Signing bonus of $1500.00 – the Board has not awarded this change
3. Economic Increases:
4. The collective agreement will expire on April 30, 2008.Further details of all changes will be posted as soon as possible. Since this is an Arbitral Award, no ratification process is required. NRC has 90 days from the date of this Award to implement it.
The RCEA presented its brief at the Arbitration Board hearing scheduled on April 17 and 18, 2007. The RCEA will update the website as soon as we receive a decision from the Board.
Arbitration Board hearing scheduled for April 17 and 18, 2007, 9:00 a.m.
23 January 2007:
The Arbitration Tribunal Hearing will take place on April 17 and 18, 2007. This is a public hearing. It will be held at 235 Queen Street, C.D. Howe Building, 7th Floor, West Tower, Room 712, 9:00 a.m. All visitors to this building must obtain a visitor’s pass from the Commissionaire’s desk at the ground floor entrance off Queen Street.
Pay Equity – The RCEA has been advised by NRC that:Regarding the question of "taxability", the response we received from a Senior Programs Officer at CRA is that “the amount payable under 53(2)(e) of the Canadian Human Rights Act is exempt from tax and is not reported on any information slip” and that “the amount in question is not taxable, it will be paid without deduction for tax and will not be reported on any information slip (i.e., T-4 or any other such slip).
The Public Service Labour Relations Board has established the Terms of Reference for the Arbitration Board. We are in the process of preparing our Brief. We anticipate hearing dates in April (due to the availability of the Board members).
Pay Equity Update
NRC has provided the RCEA with the following information:
As stated in the settlement, NRC's obligation is to pay all active employees by March 31, 2007. As for the terminated employees, we must receive the acknowledgement cards and NRC must pay by the later of March 31 2007 or 90 days following receipt of the cards. We are anticipating being able to start making the payments by the middle of February 2007 with the reception, verification and release of cheques by end of February, beginning of March 2007. Please note that this includes the active employees and the terminated ones for which we have received cards.
Number of terminated (SOS) accounts: 948 employees
If you know of anyone who has not yet sent their acknowledgement cards in, please encourage them to do so.The RCEA is attempting to get more information about the “taxability” issue. We are aware of the rumours going around and will update the members on the facts as soon as possible.
An arbitration brief is being prepared. We are waiting for the establishment of the Arbitration Board and the scheduling of hearing dates.
Request for establishment of an Arbitration Board has been made. The RCEA is preparing an Arbitration Brief.
Bargaining sessions took place recently for the AD and AS groups. The AS group met on September 25th while the AD group met on October 3rd. After only one day of bargaining for each group, it became apparent that settlements were not possible. Both groups felt very strongly that, with agreements that expired in April 2005 and with delays since at least November 2005 when our demands were submitted, at the very least, any settlement should mirror comparable public service agreements. The main sticking points were the deletion of the current Marriage Leave provision and the addition of 5 additional days of annual leave, and in the case of the AS group, the addition of new steps to address the compression problem at levels 1 to 4. Table 1 in the public service (the main point of comparison used by NRC) has this additional 5 days of annual leave as do many other groups in the public service.
Your bargaining teams felt that adding 5 extra days of annual leave would clearly benefit the majority of members, while the deletion of marriage leave would only impact a very small minority. The teams felt that it was very important to keep pace with the public service. NRC, for its part, did not invoke the usual refrain that Treasury Board had not given them a mandate (permission) to provide this benefit. Rather, they claimed they were not interested in extending this benefit and also could not afford to do so. We have estimated the cost of extending this benefit to the AS group, for example, to be approximately $210,000. Surely keeping NRC employees in line with their public service counterparts is worth this amount.
The next step, for both groups, is to request the establishment of Arbitration Boards to hear each case. Arbitration Boards are three person tribunals under the Public Service Labour Relations Act. After the submission of oral and written arguments, these Boards render final and binding decisions on outstanding items to be contained in collective agreements.
In the case of both groups, we will be seeking decisions on several outstanding items, including pay and duration.
The respective bargaining teams have decided that, despite the length of time since the expiry of the current agreements, they will not be hurried into poor agreements. They feel it is more important to get the best agreements possible. We trust that all AD and AS group members will support the RCEA in this.
Bargaining is scheduled for September 28 and 29.
The RCEA has made several requests to NRC to schedule bargaining dates. So far, NRC has not come back with any dates, although they have advised us that their mandate proposal was at the level of the President of the Treasury Board. They tell us that this will be one of the first mandate proposals that the new government will be dealing with and that they are unable to commence bargaining until all final approvals have been given.
The RCEA has made several requests to NRC to schedule bargaining dates. So far, NRC has not come back with any dates, although they initially indicated that bargaining would likely begin in April. With April right around the corner, it remains to be seen whether they can meet this commitment.
Pay Equity: A case conference was held on March 10, 2006. Dates for the hearing process were established. The hearing before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is now scheduled for January to April 2007. The RCEA, with our legal counsel, is in the process of identifying witnesses and preparing all necessary documentation. We are determined to make our case before the Tribunal.
No news to report at this time.
AD Group: Demands have been submitted. Bargaining will likely not take place until the new year.
3 November 2005:
Any suggestions or input on changes to the collective agreement should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bargaining committee met on October 19 to begin the process of formulating demands. It will meet again on November 16.
Due to several unforeseen delays, preparations for bargaining will not take place until late September or early October.
Pay Equity: The Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator has recommended that the complaint be referred to a Human Rights Tribunal. We have raised the issue of who will represent the RCEA and whether the CHRC will conduct an investigation prior to a Tribunal hearing. We are waiting for a response. We are hopeful that the CHRC will provide more assistance, but we are aware of their resource limitations and the RCEA is prepared to take some actions should the matter be referred to Tribunal without an investigation.
Notice to Bargain was served on April 27. The next step will be for the bargaining team to meet and begin formulating demands. This will likely occur in the fall.
No news at this time.
No news at this time.
No news to report at this time.
8 November 2004:
There is an error in the new version of the AD Collective Agreement. Inadvertently, the provisions for Variable Hours of Work under Article 36 were left out of the printed version. They still apply. NRC will be distributing an insert for the Collective Agreement. Until such time, please refer to your old agreement.
1 October 2004:
The AD contract was signed on October 1st, 2004. NRC has 90 days to implement the terms of the new agreement, including retroactive pay.
The Minister of Industry has approved the tentative agreement and it has been sent on to the Treasury Board and the Governor-in-Council. WE do not know when it will be signed.
Workforce Adjustment Policy: The Workforce Adjustment Policy is a joint document that deals with what happens in the event of job cuts. It covers the identification of surplus employees, the marketing of surplus employees, the rights and obligations of surplus employees and the benefits available. The last policy was negotiated almost 10 years ago. Two years ago, the RCEA and PIPS jointly prepared demands and recommendations for a review of the Policy. That review, with NRC, was completed on July 5, 2004. Significant changes have been agreed upon and the new policy will now form part of all collective agreements. The new policy should be signed and implemented shortly. If you have any questions, please call the RCEA office.
Pay Equity: As reported in January 2004, the Canadian Human Rights Commission recommended that the file be referred to a Human Rights Tribunal. Both the RCEA and NRC objected to this, as this would have allowed the CHRC to wipe its hands of the matter and required both the union and the employer to argue a full case before the Tribunal. The issue with our pay equity complaint is that there is no study that deals with the situation going back to 1985. This is what we were relying on the CHRC to complete. To go before a CHRC tribunal without such a study would certainly mean that our complaint would fail. We have written to the CHRC and demanded that they fulfill their mandate and conduct a study. To date, the only response that we have received is a letter advising us that their Pay Equity Section is now comprised of one person, whose responsibility it is to deal with all the outstanding files. We have not heard from the CHRC since that letter.
The situation does not look good. We cannot argue for pay equity back to 1985 or at least 1990 without a study. We do not have the staff or financial resources to conduct such a study. (The consultants that NRC almost hired estimated the cost of such a study as close to $1 million.) We have to rely on the CHRC and they do not seem able or willing to carry out such a study.
We are in the process of consulting with legal counsel to determine if there is another approach that can be taken in this long running dispute. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.
The collective agreement was ratified. NRC has been notified and will sign the new agreement once the required approvals, from Treasury Board and the Governor-in-Council, have been received.
3 August 2004:
Members of the AD Group have ratified the tentative collective agreement. NRC has been notified. They will now begin their approval process. We do not know how long this will take, as the approval of the Governor-in-Council is required. Once this is approved, the agreement will be signed and NRC will have 90 days in which to implement the agreement.
6 July 2004:
For complete details of the tentative agreement: AD Ratification
29 June 2004:
Tentative Agreement Reached
On June 29, 2004, the AD Bargaining Team reached a tentative collective agreement with NRC. The Bargaining Team feels that this is the best agreement at this time, given all the uncertainties in the Public Service. The main details of the agreement are listed below. The full details will be provided in a ratification package that will be mailed out shortly. As well as the improvements listed below, the Bargaining Team was able to maintain certain provisions that NRC was seeking to change, such as the definition of a day (which impacts members working a compressed work week for the purposes of Volunteer, Personal and Family Related Responsibility Leave) and Parental Leave.
Overtime Meal Allowance - $10.50. Meal allowance now available for work on a day of rest.
Improvements to the Standards of Discipline
Annual pay increment for part-time workers
Severance Pay for rejection on probation.
Letter of Understanding on Compassionate Care Leave – to be available as Other Leave With or Without Pay
Two extra days of sick leave per year for shift workers. Such leave will not be carried over to the next fiscal year.
Sick leave without pay now counts as continuous service
Addition of mother-in-law and father-in-law to definition of family for Leave without Pay for Care of Elderly Parent
Rewriting of the Hours of Work article.
Your Bargaining Team is recommending acceptance of this agreement. You will have a chance to vote on this tentative agreement.
Bargaining is scheduled for June 23 and 29.
The President of the Treasury Board recently announced that the freeze on reclassifications has been lifted.
NRC has indicated that they will be ready to proceed with bargaining very shortly.
No news to report at this time.
Bargaining demands have been sent to NRC.
The bargaining committee is meeting on October 22 to review the results of the bargaining questionnaire. Demands and pay data will also be reviewed. Once demands are finalized, they will be submitted to NRC and bargaining dates will be scheduled.
Pay Equity: No news to report at this time
Performance Bonus: While the Performance Bonus Program was in effect, the RCEA challenged NRC’s refusal to publish the names of bonus recipients. That challenge was heard in the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division. The Court recently ruled that NRC was not within the law to refuse to provide the RCEA with the names of recipients. The RCEA will now receive that list of names from NRC. Here is the web site that cites the Performance bonus court decision: http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fct/2003/2003fc1116.html.
A bargaining questionnaire has been sent out. The deadline for return is October 3. Members who are interested in serving on the bargaining committee should send an email to Joan Van Den Bergh at: email@example.com.
A bargaining questionnaire has been developed and will be sent out shortly.
2 July 2003:
Pay Equity: NO GOOD NEWS.
NRC and the RCEA are no longer going to conduct a joint pay equity study. NRC HAS DECIDED that it will not put out the money to do this, given their view that there would be NO GUARANTEE that the results would be accepted by either the Canadian Human Rights Commission or Treasury Board. Our response - when is there ever a guarantee that results will be accepted?
Where does this leave us now? We have had two recent meetings with the CHRC. They, all of a sudden, are under pressure to do something about their outstanding complaints. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has several roles. Like NRC, it is a government agency. It is also a Commission, which is made up of government appointees, who are charged with upholding the Canadian Human Rights Act. This “Commission” can be viewed as similar to the actual council of the NRC.
In pay equity cases, the CHRC investigates complaints. It then writes a report of its findings and makes a recommendation to the Commission of the CHRC as to whether the complaint could be upheld or should be denied. It can also recommend that there is enough in the complaint to warrant its referral to a Tribunal. If the Commission accepts this recommendation, it will order that a Tribunal be convened to hear the complaint. Conversely, the Commission can determine that there is nothing to a complaint and simply deny it. If a Tribunal is convened, the parties then have to make their case to the Tribunal. In the past, when this happened, when the CHRC had recommended that a file go to Tribunal, particularly in large pay equity files, the CHRC provided the legal representation. This is no longer the case, as the CHRC (as well as most Human Rights agencies across the country) has seen their funding and mandates drastically reduced.
The CHRC has indicated that they will now conduct an investigation of the complaint, as written. Our complaint, as written, states that there has been a pay inequity for the AD group (and its predecessor CR and ST groups) since 1985. The CHRC will now do an investigation, but not necessarily a full pay study, to determine if there is enough to recommend that the complaint be sent to a full CHRC Tribunal for a hearing. If they do recommend that it go to Tribunal, there is no guarantee that the CHRC will represent the RCEA at the hearings. In the past, where the CHRC has sent a matter to Tribunal, they have often acted as the representative of the complainant. Presently, in Canada, this is changing. The CHRC is redefining its role and will not necessarily represent all complainants.
If our case is referred to a Tribunal, we will have to try and convince the CHRC to represent us. If we are left to represent ourselves, we will have some problems. We will have to generate sufficient data to prove to the Tribunal that the pay inequity exists and how large it is. This may cost more than all the total reserves of the RCEA. We are hopeful, however, that this fact and the whole issue of systemic discrimination will convince the CHRC to, in fact, represent us.
We are in the process of reviewing all our files and forwarding relevant information to the CHRC. In our view, there might already be enough information and data in the files to support the contention of a pay inequity back to 1985-88.
We may be bloodied but we have not given up hope. We will be doing everything that we can to both prove our case and convince the CHRC to represent our interests. We have lost faith, however, in the NRC. We have been patient. We will now only be dealing with the CHRC and our own legal counsel. In our view, NRC has succumbed to Treasury Board pressure. They don’t want us to get good results. They don’t want to pay back to 1985. And Treasury Board certainly does not want to see that kind of result, given the fact that they are currently being challenged in the courts by the PSAC for some of the other separate employers. Once again Treasury Board and NRC are stonewalling the pay equity situation.
This is a matter that goes back to 1985. For whatever reason, the RCEA at that time did not file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. There is no point in second guessing that decision. What we have been trying to do, since 1999, is to rectify that situation. Clearly the time gap between 1985 and 1999 is proving to be a very large issue. We have explored, and will continue to explore, every possible avenue to remedy this situation.
Notice to bargain has been served.
No news to report at this time.
Pay Equity: Several meetings have been held with the consultant. It became apparent at these meetings that the issue of retroactivity of any pay inequity needed to be dealt with now rather than somewhere down the road. We have therefore been working on the development of a new methodology that will allow us to review jobs going back to 1985 in order to determine whether there was a pay inequity and, if so, how large it was. The need to structure the study around a 14 year period will undoubtedly add some time to the process, but will, we believe, save time in the long run and more importantly, provide us with more reliable and accurate data.
No news to report at this time.
Pay Equity: A contract to conduct the pay equity study has been signed with the Hay Consulting Group. The process will begin in February with a two-day training session for all participants. The RCEA has also engaged the services of a classification specialist to assist us during the pay equity study.