FAQ – Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on SR classification review

1. Is classification normally negotiable in the Federal Public Service?

No. Classification is normally excluded from being negotiated in the Core Public Administration and separate agencies of the Federal Public Service due to legislated limitations. The Federal Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board, which adjudicates issues relating to collective agreements, does not have jurisdiction to decide on classification.

2. Why do we need an MOA for review of the SR classification?

As classification falls within the Employer’s right to manage at CFIA, the Employer is only required to consult with the union. A separate MOA is an agreement between the parties on a particular classification process that is more robust than is regularly required by the Employer.

3. What is the regular classification process?

Classification can be broken into two main exercises, the development of job content and then the rating of that job content. The regular process would leave the development of job content wholly in the determination of the Employer, with consultation from the union in a non-determinative role. This is the same for the rating (and methodology used) of the developed job content.

If the employee or the union disagrees with the job content or the rating of that job content, they can file a grievance; a job content grievance (held by the union) or a classification grievance (held by the employee). The adjudicative process is internal to the Agency. This means that the union will advocate in front of panel composed of Employer representatives who will then make a determination. It is not before a neutral third party.

4. How does the process developed in the SR classification review MOA differ from the regular process?

The MOA infringes on the Employer’s right to be the ultimate decision maker during this SR classification review and sets a timeline for the review process. Firstly, the job content is to be developed in partnership with the union. If the parties do not agree on the job content it will be put forward to an objective third party adjudicator for determination, not to the Employer. This is a significant encroachment into what is regularly wholly within the Employer purview to decide. Secondly, the union will be involved in developing the methodology used to rate the newly determined job content. Lastly, the timeline in the MOA is for completion of the review process by December 31, 2019.

5. Will this process fix the classification problems with the SR?

The SR review MOA provides a strong foundation and built in accountabilities for the parties during the review process. Given the depth of involvement of the union and employees in developing the job content, which forms the basis for rating and classification, there is a very real opportunity to resolve the current problems with the SR classification.

6. What will happen with the current Job Content and Classification grievances?

All the grievances will be put in abeyance until the process set out in the SR classification review MOA is finalized. They will not be withdrawn. This is to protect any potential retroactivity for those who filed grievances. The intention is that the concerns brought forward in the grievances will be addressed and remedied as result of the MOA review process. As the MOA mandates more union involvement and empowerment within the decision making process of job content, there is a higher chance of resolution through the MOA process than there is through the Employer determined grievance process.

7. What happens to the SR classification if the tentative agreement is voted down?

If the tentative agreement is not ratified by the membership, the MOA will be considered voted down as well. The parties would be required to re-engage the negotiation process with a very high likelihood of ending up at arbitration – a binding process on both parties. The arbitrator does not have jurisdiction to make a determination regarding classification, therefore the SR classification review would be subject to the regular Employer driven process as described above, if the Employer decided to pursue a review at all. The outstanding grievances would follow through the regular job content and classification grievance process. The SR classification review would be out of the union’s hands.

8. Why did the SR2s and SR 3s receive a lump sum payment?

The lump sum payment for the SR2s and SR3s is a reflection that the current SR classification does not represent the work that a large percentage of the SR2s and SR3s do. It is a recognition by the Employer that there is a discrepancy, but without the review process prescribed by the MOA, they cannot set appropriate pay increases. The goal of the MOA process is to have everybody rightfully classified with an ability to gauge against the appropriate pay comparators. Until the review process is complete it is too abstract a classification to secure a singular pay increase for everybody. It would be too little for many and above public service comparators for others.

9. How is the lump sum for the SR2s and SR3s calculated?

The lump sum represents 2.25% ($6,000 for SR2s) and 2% ($5,350 for SR3s) of the average SR2 pay over the contract. It is not an individualized calculation. All SR2s will receive $6,000 and all SR3s will receive $5,350.

10. Who will receive the lump sum?

To receive the lump sum as an SR2 or SR3 you will have to currently hold, at the date of signing, and have held a substantive SR2 or SR3 position for a least three months prior to the date of signing the new collective agreement.