Classification FAQs

Why did CFIA classify the SR job descriptions at the same level as the old ones?

The employer unilaterally determines both the classification system and the classification of jobs. They have not yet provided us with their rationales for the classification decisions, so we are not sure how they reached their decisions. We are hard-pressed to think of any reasonable justification that would explain certain classification decisions. This is why we recommend that members grieve the classification decisions that we have identified as likely to be wrong.

Why didn’t I get a classification decision?

The CFIA is only issuing classification decisions to current SRs for their current job. If this applies to you and you haven’t received a classification decision, please contact your supervisor and/or HR contact person immediately.

What if I agree with my job description but not the point rating assigned to one or more of the elements?

When PIPSC receives the classification rationales, we will review and update the list of jobs we consider under-classified. Given that none of the outstanding jobs come close to the threshold for the higher classification level (and a higher pay scale), it is unlikely that additional jobs will be added or will be changed by a grievance.

It may be possible to change certain classification factors, but this won’t affect the overall classification level or pay scale. Once we have completed our analysis, we will update the website. At this point, we will invite members who take issue with one or more classification factor ratings (but not the overall classification level) to communicate with our team to discuss the merits of pursuing a classification grievance.

What do I do if I think my classification is unfair but my job is not listed?

PIPSC will update the list of jobs we believe to be under-classified once we are provided with the employer’s rationales. Given that none of the outstanding jobs (those we haven’t already identified as under-classified) come close to the threshold for the higher classification level, it’s unlikely that additional jobs will be added.

If you feel your job is under-classified, we recommend that you first compare your job description to the job description of those you work around. Do you have the correct job description?

If there is a job description that better suits you, the issue is a mapping problem, not classification.

If you think your current job description is correct, but still believe it to be under-classified, please fill out the classification grievance request form, and explain to us which classification factors (problem solving, knowledge, communication, etc.) are wrong, and why. You’ll need to provide specific examples of tasks that you do that are similar to other jobs with higher classification factors. The form contains more information on the types of evidence we require you to provide to understand your request for an exception.

Job description FAQs

What if I disagree with my job description?

PIPSC and the employer have agreed that the 27 standardized job descriptions correctly describe the work as it is intended to be assigned and performed. It’s important to note that the employer determines the structure and preferred terms for a job description.

Standardized Job Descriptions use extremely broad, categorical language to capture a diverse set of tasks, skills, working methods, etc. The broadness of generic job descriptions also has a positive impact on classification – provided the employer classifies fairly – as the classification must take into account the many variations of the job/work being performed. Your collective agreement gives you the right to have a job description that describes the most important aspects of your work, but this right does not extend to having a say on the structure or preferred terminology.

A very small number of members may be in exceptional circumstances where they should have a different job description (this is called “remapping”). These members were invited to submit a remapping request to PIPSC in 2020 and are being asked to submit the member-initiated remapping form. If your circumstances since 2020 have changed and you now believe that you have the wrong job description, you are welcome to submit this form along with evidence to support your claim.

Where can I find my job description?

Job descriptions can be accessed on the SharePoint site through the CFIA intranet. If you can’t access it, please contact your supervisor or HR contact person. Retirees can contact to request the document by stating the name of the standardized job description they wish to obtain.

Grievance FAQs

What is happening with my outstanding classification grievance?

The employer is canceling classification grievances filed against the obsolete Role Descriptors. Whether or not you received a notice of cancellation, you should submit a classification grievance request form if your classification grievance was filed against one of the 6 standardized job descriptions we have identified as being under-classified (Senior Inspector; Supervisor, Science Laboratory Standards Compliance; Supervisor, Inspection and Advisory Services; Policy and Programs Team Leader; Inspection Advisor; Excellence Systems Specialist).

If your classification grievance was against the classification of a job description outside of the 6 we have identified, we do not recommend taking any further action.

Note that some job descriptions have changed names, but remain the same job. For example, if you grieved the classification of the Senior Compliance Officer (now called Senior Inspector), you should fill out the classification grievance request form using the new job title.

What is happening with my outstanding job content grievance?

Because the new SJDs have replaced the obsolete role descriptors, job content grievances that sought to change the wording of a job description are, generally, pointless. PIPSC will be reviewing these grievances and contacting members about withdrawing their job content grievances.

If your grievance pertained to mapping (changing which job description you are assigned), PIPSC intends to move forward with grievance hearings this fall and in the new year. To ensure our records are up to date, we request that you fill out the member-initiated remapping form.

We have heard anecdotal reports that the employer is canceling job content grievances. If you receive a notice that your job content grievance is canceled and your grievance dealt with a mapping issue, it is critical that you fill out the member-initiated remapping form.

Why did the employer close my grievance?

The employer’s classification grievance procedure at article 4.2(b) says that a classification grievance against a modified job description is no longer valid, and therefore can be canceled. PIPSC has serious reservations about this policy as it denies members access to recourse and can strip members of their rights to a retroactive settlement. Despite federal legislation that excludes classification from collective bargaining, we are exploring ways to dispute this policy.

We are unclear by what legal or procedural mechanism the employer believes it has the right to cancel a job content grievance and will challenge any policy as appropriate.


How long will it take to resolve this situation?

Timelines are largely contingent on how the CFIA chooses to respond to our initiatives. We expect some issues, like remapping grievances or informal negotiations around employer-initiated remapping, to be resolved in a matter of months.

Classification and policy grievances may require the intervention of a competent tribunal. This could take several years. Keep in mind that legal remedies are retroactive and pay interest in certain cases.

What about the Inspection Advisors in Quebec?

During the Job Validation Review process, we alerted the employer to the unique situation of Quebec’s Inspection Advisors. Because there aren’t any Senior Inspectors in the province, Inspection Advisors might be fulfilling a hybrid role (doing both Senior Inspector and Inspection Advisor type tasks). We provided the employer with evidence of this mismatch, but haven’t heard back. We don’t know how or if the employer intends to resolve this issue. While we hope to continue working with the employer to address the situation, we are recommending that Inspection Advisors in Quebec fill out the member-initiated remapping form.

What about SRs in training and development (Human Resources) or complaints and appeals?

The employer has informed us that, because they don’t consider these jobs to meet the SR occupational group definition, they will not issue a classification decision until they can determine the appropriate occupational group. Members with a job in either work unit should fill out the employer-initiated remapping form. PIPSC will convene meetings to discuss next steps, which may include building a case to demonstrate the science-knowledge basis for the work (which defines an SR), proposing amendments to the work to increase the science component, or other measures suited to your needs and preferences.

What is PIPSC doing for people who are no longer employed as SRs (retirees, those who quit, etc.)?

As we have long stated, we believe in a common-sense approach to implementation that would see everyone who has been an SR since 2015 have access to the new jobs, classification and grievance process (with exceptions for short-term assignments). While the employer failed to respond to our repeated requests to meet to discuss this, we are committed to taking action to protect the rights of every affected member, including retirees.