Requirement to post bargaining unit vacancies would negate Senate’s hiring policy

Federal appeal | Employment

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Requirement to post bargaining unit vacancies would negate Senate’s hiring policy

Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (Can.), establishes special regime governing labour relations of employees who work within House of Commons and Senate. Section 55(2) prohibits board from including in arbitral award any matter dealing with standards, procedures or processes governing appointment, promotion or transfer of employees. Staffing and hiring governed by employer policies rather than collective agreements. Public Service Alliance of Canada (“PSAC”) certified to act as bargaining agent for “Operational Group” of Senate. Bargaining negotiations for renewal of collective agreement for this group did not lead to new collective agreement and PSAC sought binding arbitration under Act. Public Service Labour Relations Board issued arbitral award. PSAC took issue with only one determination which concerned posting of bargaining unit vacancies. PSAC proposed to include new provision in collective agreement which would require Senate to post bargaining unit vacancies. Senate objected on basis that s. 55(2) of Act prohibits such proposal from being considered. Board held it did not have jurisdiction to consider such proposal. PSAC’s application for judicial review dismissed. Applicable standard of review is reasonableness. Requirement to post bargaining unit vacancies would negate Senate’s current hiring policy allowing for appointments to proceed without any advertisement in appropriate circumstances. Board acted reasonably in concluding it did not have jurisdiction. Lack of detailed reasons result of Act and peculiarities associated with binding arbitral awards. Act limits extent of reasons required. Board focused on relevant factors and evidence, considered representations of parties and did not impede intelligent judicial review.

P.S.A.C. v. Senate of Canada
(June 28, 2011, F.C.A., Blais C.J., Sharlow and Mainville JJ.A., File No. A-301-10) 205 A.C.W.S. (3d) 126 (17 pp.).

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