Guide for Members

Table of Contents


Founded in 1920, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) is the largest multi-professional union in Canada representing some 65,000 scientific and professional public service employees at the federal and some provincial and territorial levels of government.

The Institute was founded to protect the interests of professional public employees and became a bargaining agent following the implementation of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA) in 1967.

The Institute is the bargaining agent for some 42 knowledge-based Groups and negotiates with 26 different employers in six different jurisdictions.

The Institute serves its members with approximately 160 full-time staff in Ottawa’s National Office and Regional Offices located in the National Capital, Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is to represent members collectively and individually:

  • by providing bargaining, labour relations and other member services,
  • by promoting and defending the rights and interests of members,
  • by safeguarding and promoting professional standards,

through an effective network of elected officials, stewards and members supported by staff.


The Institute has a parallel structure by occupational Group and by Region. The structure by Group allows each bargaining unit to determine its bargaining priorities and strategies, and to deal with current concerns specific to its members’ profession. The structure by Region allows the issues and interests specific to a particular geographic Region to be reflected in the Institute’s broader concerns.

Members may participate in activities on the Group Executive and/or Sub-Groups. Members may also participate along with colleagues from other occupational Groups through the Branches in the Regions.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the supreme governing body. Although any member may attend, voting delegates are selected by the Groups and Regional Councils on a representational basis.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is composed of four (4) Vice-Presidents (2 full-time and 2 part-time) and a full-time President (3-year term). Regular and retired members are entitled to vote for the four Vice- Presidents and the President.

The Executive Committee decides on questions concerning the management of the Institute that require attention between meetings of the Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

Composed of the Executive Committee, nine (9) Directors and one (1) Director elected by the Advisory Council, the BOD oversees the operations between AGMs.

Up to four (4) Directors are elected by voters in the National Capital Region and one (1) Director is elected in each of the five (5) other geographic Regions for a total of nine (9) Regional Directors.
The roles and responsibilities of Regional Directors include:

  • speaking on behalf of the Institute on regional issues as authorized by the President;
  • chairing and/or coordinating the Regional Steward Council and Regional Council in their respective jurisdictions, in consultation with the Regional Executive and Institute staff;
  • participating, as required, on Standing Committees, Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces as established by the Board of Directors;
  • submitting, in a timely fashion, a written report to the Board of Directors on the activities performed in their respective Regions, as well as on discussions and motions resulting from Regional Steward Council and Regional Council meetings; the report is distributed to all members in their respective Regions;
  • preparing a newsletter to the members of their respective Regions;
  • promoting work site visits, the creation of Branches and Sub-Groups where appropriate, and the recruitment of stewards in cooperation with their Regional Executives and Institute staff; and,
  • promoting regional consultation with departments and separate employers in accordance with the Institute policy on consultation committees.

Process for Institute Business


Advisory Council (AC)

The Advisory Council, consisting of all Group Chairs (or designated alternate) and the Chairs of the Treasury Board National Departmental Consultation Teams deals with matters referred to it by the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee or Group Executives. The AC serves as a forum for an exchange of ideas and information among Group Chairs and Treasury Board Departmental Consultation Team Chairs. Some of the prime functions are information sharing on collective bargaining issues, professional concerns and national consultation.

Committees and Task Forces of the Board

Committees and Task Forces study issues referred to them by the Board or provide advice and information on specific issues. The Committees formulate recommendations to the Board.

Task Forces are temporary and are struck to accomplish a precise objective.

Management Committee

The Management Committee, comprised of the President and senior staff, manages the day-to-day operations in accordance with the policies determined by the AGM and interpreted by the BOD and the Executive Committee. It ensures that expenditures comply with the budget.


Members belong to Groups, which include all the members of the same bargaining unit. Each Group operates under its own Constitution which must be consistent with Institute By-Laws. Members of the Group elect their own Executive.

One of the main roles of the Group Executive is to determine collective bargaining objectives. The Group Executive prepares and approves collective bargaining demands, selects and mandates the bargaining team and approves or rejects a tentative settlement for ratification. A staff negotiator supports the Group Executive and coordinates negotiations with the employer.

The Group Executive, in collaboration with the stewards and Sub-Groups, monitors the implementation of the collective agreement, records problems and concerns and determines the improvements and goals to be pursued during the next round of negotiations.

Other responsibilities of the Group Executive include keeping its members informed through newsletters and the steward network, organizing the Group’s elections and AGM, and appointing the delegates to the Institute’s AGM.


Sub-Groups are composed of five (5) or more members of an occupational Group in a geographical area or government department and/or location. Sub-Group functions may include:

  • supporting members in grievance situations;
  • monitoring the collective agreement in the workplace; and
  • submitting proposals and recommendations to the Group Executive on a wide range of matters.


The Institute is comprised of six (6) geographical Regions: National Capital, Atlantic, Québec, Ontario, Prairie/Northwest Territories and British Columbia/ Yukon. Each Region is normally structured to provide a minimum of three (3) levels of organization consisting of: the Regional Council, the Regional Executive and Branches. The Directors elected in each Region may be the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Regional Executive and the Regional Council.

The Regional Executive acts as a steering and administrative committee for the Regional Council and meets periodically.

The objectives of the Regional Council are:

  • to support the goals of the Institute as they pertain to special concerns of the Region;
  • to present regional views at the AGM in the form of resolutions, or submit them to the Board of Directors and other decision-making bodies.

Retired Members Guild

The Guild provides retired and retiring members with information and advice on retirement-related issues, coordinates activities and mobilizes retired members on retirement issues as required, and deals with matters referred to it by the Board of Directors.


Ten (10) or more members(normally from more than one Group) employed in the same geographical area may form a Branch. Branch functions may include:

  • supporting members in grievance situations;
  • monitoring the collective agreement in the workplace; and,
  • submitting proposals and recommendations to the Regional Council on a wide range of matters.


Public Service Labour Relations Act

The PSLRA governs labour relations for the unionized employees of the public service of Canada, including those working for separate employers such as the National Research Council, the National Film Board, the National Energy Board and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. One of the most distinctive features of the Act is the choice given to bargaining agents to select binding arbitration or conciliation with the right to strike as the procedure for resolving bargaining disputes.

In some instances, by mutual agreement, the dispute resolution method is binding conciliation/ no strike. However, both in terms of the scope of negotiable issues as well as access to third-party adjudication of grievances, the PSLRA is one of the most restrictive labour statutes in Canada.

Employer: Treasury Board (TB)

Group Name

AV  Audit, Commerce and Purchasing
AU  Auditing
CO  Commerce
PG  Purchasing and Supply

CS  Computer Systems
NR  Engineering, Architecture and Land Survey
EN  Engineering and Land Survey
AR  Architecture and Town Planning

RE  Research
DS  Defence Scientific Service
HR  Historical Research
MA  Mathematics
SE  Scientific Research

SH  Health Services
DE  Dentistry
MD  Medicine
ND  Nutrition and Dietetics
NU  Nursing
OP  Occupational and Physical Therapy
PH  Pharmacy
PS  Psychology
SW  Social Work
VM  Veterinary Medicine

SP  Applied Science and Patent Examination
AC  Actuarial Science
AG  Agriculture
BI  Biological Science
CH  Chemistry
FO  Forestry
MT  Meteorology
PC  Physical Sciences
SG-SRE Scientific Regulation
SG-PAT Patent

Employer: Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

Group Name

Audit, Financial and Scientific

Employer: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Group Name


Scientific & Analytical

Veterinary Medicine

Employer: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)

Group Name

Nuclear Regulatory Group

Employer: National Energy Board (NEB)

Group Name

National Energy Board

Employer: National Film Board (NFB)

Group Name

Professional Group

Employer: National Research Council (NRC)

Group Name

Information Services

Library Science

Research Officers and Research Council Officers


Employer: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions

Group Name

Professional Employees

Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act

Proclaimed in December 1986, the PESRA established collective bargaining rights for certain members of the permanent staff of the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament and the Senate. Administered by the Public Service Labour Relations Board, PESRA emulates most of the provisions of the PSLRA, but denies completely any right of employees to engage in strike activity. The first collective agreement in the history of the Parliament of Canada was negotiated and signed by the Institute on December 1, 1987.

Employer: House of Commons

Group Name

Procedural Clerks, Analysis and Reference

Employer: Senate

Group Name

Legislative Clerks

Canada Labour Code

The Code governs employee-employer relations in federally-regulated industries and undertakings outside the public service. Included under the jurisdiction of the Code are certain classes of Crown Corporations working at arm's length from the central administration of the federal government. The Code provides considerable latitude to the parties to address and resolve workplace problems without outside intervention and establishes important basic rights in areas such as pensions, staffing, benefit negotiations and Occupational Health and Safety. Among the more progressive labour laws in the country, various provisions of the Code have been identified by the Institute as advantageous models to replace outdated features of the PSLRA.

Employer: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

Group Name

Chalk River Professional Employees

Whiteshell Professional Employees

Whiteshell Technical Employees Group

Employer: Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC)

Group Name

All employees

Employer: Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC)

Group Name

Scientific Researchers

Employer: Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN)

Group Name

Research Scientists, Collections
Managers and/or Collections Specialists

Employer: Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)

Group Name

All Employees

Employer: National Gallery of Canada (NGC)

Group Name

All Curators

Employer: NAV CANADA

Group Name

Professional Employees

Employer: Yukon Hospital Corporation

Group Name

Whitehorse General Hospital

Public Service Labour Relations Act of New Brunswick

Provincial government employees of New Brunswick, as well as public employees in the hospital and education sectors in this jurisdiction, are covered by this piece of legislation. Modelled in substantial part after the federal PSLRA, this statute shares many of its restrictive elements. Unlike the PSLRA, binding arbitration of collective bargaining disputes is possible only by mutual agreement of the parties. The normal dispute resolution process culminates in a Conciliation Board procedure, after which employees can find themselves in a legal strike situation.

Employer: New Brunswick Board of Management

Group Name


Engineering, Land Surveying and Architecture

Veterinary Science

Labour Relations Act of Manitoba

Other than civil service members of the Manitoba Government Employees Association who are uniquely organized under the province’s Civil Service Act, public sector workers in this province are governed by the same law as applies to all private sector employees. The Labour Relations Act resembles the Canada Labour Code and, in some areas, has incorporated more innovative features.
The Act is generally recognized as one of the more equitable labour statutes in Canada and places relatively few restrictions either on the scope of negotiations or on the grievance arbitration procedure.

Employer: Civil Service Commission

Group Name

Manitoba Association of Government Engineers

Employer: Deer Lodge Centre

Group Name



Ontario Labour Relations Act

The OLRA applies to all employees in Ontario in industries under provincial jurisdiction, with several specified exceptions (among them, Crown employees as defined in the Ontario Public Service Act, teachers, police officers and firefighters).

PIPSC represents several bargaining units of hospital employees, which fall within the purview of the OLRA. All of these employees work in Cancer Centres within the hospitals. Since 2008, PIPSC has also represented the IT Professionals employed at the University of Ottawa. Unlike the federal Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Ontario Labour Relations Act permits bargaining on most terms and conditions of employment, including staffing and classification. Most employees in the hospital sector are not permitted to strike, including PIPSC members employed in Cancer Centres; instead, a mixture of conciliation and binding arbitration are utilized when bargaining reaches an impasse.

Employer: The Regional Cancer Centres Employers Association

Group Name

Medical Physicists

Employer: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto

Group Name

Mechanical and Electronic Technologists

Radiation Therapists

Employer: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Group Name

Radiation Therapists

Employer: Windsor Regional Hospital

Group Name

Radiation Therapists

Employer: University of Ottawa

Group Name

Information Technology Professionals


Collective Bargaining

Through negotiations, your Group’s bargaining team and the employer’s representatives reach a collective agreement which contains provisions establishing the terms and conditions of employment, rates of pay, hours of work, and the rights and duties of the parties to the agreement.

A negotiator, with the assistance of compensation analysts and support staff, prepares extensive documentation to support bargaining proposals. The preparation of bargaining proposals is a complex process which includes the sorting and sifting of proposals received from members and the examination of salary and other data prepared by the negotiator and research staff. This process involves consolidating large quantities of information and determining relative priorities, taking into consideration consistency with Institute policy, and establishing bargaining strategies. A final decision on the demands to be placed on the bargaining table is made by the Bargaining Team and Group Executive with the assistance of the negotiator.

The Institute’s representatives at the bargaining table consist of a negotiator, one or more technical specialists as required, and members of the Group’s Bargaining Team (selected by the Group Executive). The negotiator is the official spokesperson.

The employer’s representatives consist of a negotiator, one or more technical specialists (pay and compensation) and excluded individuals from the departments where a significant portion of the bargaining unit is employed.

Each set of negotiations will, to a certain extent, be a unique experience. The actual proceedings at the bargaining table are difficult to describe, partly because both parties are engaged in a process of studying their opponents and evaluating each other’s knowledge of the issues, and partly because of the need for both parties to continually shift their position in order to reach an agreement. For these reasons, it is usually not desirable to provide detailed progress reports to members during the negotiations phase of collective bargaining. The course of negotiations further varies given different negotiating styles and differences in the number and complexity of the issues to be resolved.

The success of bargaining will depend on a variety of factors including the data used to establish comparability and internal relativity, persuasiveness at the bargaining table, the general bargaining climate, and, most importantly, the will of the members.

The proposed agreement is usually submitted to the Group’s membership for ratification.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, a conciliator, mediator or arbitrator may be appointed to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. As a last option, although occurring rarely, members may strike. The Institute maintains a Strike Fund to compensate members who participate in legal and authorized strike activities.


Steward is the term used in labour relations to define a member who represents other members in a designated work area. The steward is an official representative of the Institute in the workplace and represents all members within a specific area of jurisdiction. Stewards deal on an equal basis with the employer, following well-established jurisprudence. They are volunteers and choose the scope of their activities, and the time spent on these activities, based on their experience, skills and availability.

Only a regular member may be a steward. Stewards are selected by one of the following methods: elected in the work place, recommended by a Group, Sub-Group, Regional or Branch Executive, or by virtue of being a member of the Board of Directors. All stewards are appointed by the President.
Stewards help ensure that the provisions contained in the collective agreement are adhered to and applied by the employer. The steward must deal with complaints, advise members on their right to file a grievance, and represent members in meetings with management. The steward also liaises with the Regional Directors, Branches, Groups, Sub-Groups and staff. As a communicator, the steward must be able to explain Institute policies and programs to members and keep members informed about the progress of collective bargaining, meetings and issues about which the Institute has voiced an opinion. The steward also plays an important role in educating the members by being able to answer, or by knowing where to obtain answers, to questions concerning terms and conditions of employment which are not contained in collective agreements.

Stewards are often called upon to attend union/ management consultations. These consultation meetings are designed to develop and maintain sound and harmonious union/management relations and to provide members with greater participation in the decision-making process of the employer. Stewards are also called upon to represent the Institute on Occupational Health and Safety committees. The steward’s name, location and phone number are posted on the union bulletin board. If this information is not posted, members are urged to contact any Institute office.

Employment Relations

The Institute provides its members with advice and assistance on issues and concerns affecting their terms and conditions of employment. Stewards at the work site are trained to give initial aid and guidance. The role of employment relations specialists consists of:

  • interpreting collective agreements and employment legislation;
  • providing expertise in such areas as classification, human rights, Occupational Health and Safety, superannuation, disability insurance, medical and dental plans and other Employment benefits;
  • assisting members in processing complaints and grievances;
  • representing members before tribunals affecting employment such as Workers’ Compensation Boards, Employment Insurance Appeal Boards, Criminal Injuries Compensation Boards and disciplinary committees of Licensing Boards;
  • informing members and potential members of the goals of the Institute and of the benefits related to membership;
  • representing the interests of the members at all three levels of consultation with the employer (local, regional, and national).


Classification experts provide advice on classification matters and represent members with their classification grievances. These experts deliver training pertaining to job evaluation, job content and the classification process.

Help Desk

Help Desk advisors provide a rapid response to inquiries on a wide range of issues including collective agreements, employment benefits, and recourse mechanisms.

Legal Counsel

Legal opinions and consultations are provided by legal experts on specific issues arising from government decisions and/or legislation that affect the entire membership, specific Groups or individual members. Outside legal counsel is retained as required.

Pension & Benefits Expertise

The Institute offers the services of a pension and benefits advisor to assist members in the areas of pensions/superannuation and insured benefits, including medical and dental plans.


The Institute offers a comprehensive training program to create a pool of informed, active and motivated members. Each course has specific learning objectives which are linked to the fundamental aim of serving members by acting as their agent in collective bargaining. The program is based on members’ needs and offers a variety of approaches and topics. Through practical experience, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the Institute and Employer-Employee relations.


Research officers provide compensation expertise during the bargaining process; present pay briefs before conciliation and arbitration Boards; conduct research for grievances proceeding to adjudication; lead studies on workplace issues; and draft public policy briefs.

Support for collective bargaining involves the identification of members’ needs; the analysis of current trends in federal, provincial, municipal and private sector jurisdictions; the review of economic forecasts; and the preparation of supporting rationales. Survey questionnaires are designed and analyzed in consultation with Group Executives to ensure that all members have an opportunity to provide input to the bargaining process. Research officers are involved as compensation advisors and advocates throughout all stages of the bargaining process. They prepare and present pay briefs before conciliation and arbitration Boards.

Research officers monitor policy and labour relations jurisprudence and develop position papers on workplace and human rights issues such as harassment, performance appraisals, pension reform, human rights, employment equity and pay equity.

Research provides general reference services to members and maintains Info-Base, the internal database.


The Communications Section ensures the flow of information between the Institute and its members, the media and the general public. Government Relations is also an important part of this function.

Communications Magazine, published quarterly, reports on issues affecting members, presents the Institute’s position on current issues, and provides a synopsis of collective bargaining. Other communications vehicles include the Annual Report, Guide for Members and other printed documents on specific topics.

Recognizing the importance of keeping members well informed in a timely fashion, the Institute maintains an active Web site at Breaking news is posted promptly and other resource material (copies of briefs to Parliament, Communications Magazine, collective bargaining updates) are accessible.

Media relations constitutes a vital link in the communications strategy with the general public. Media activities are orchestrated to keep the general public abreast of issues regarding the public service and their repercussions on Canadians.

The Institute closely monitors legislative developments in jurisdictions that affect the membership. The government relations program ensures that the views of professional public service employees are reflected in public policy development. The Institute liaises with House of Commons and Senate committees, and conducts advocacy campaigns with Members of Parliament, Senators and opinion makers.

Institute members are recognized through the Service Award, Life Membership, President's Achievement Award and Citation Certificate programs. The Gold Medal Award is the Institute’s oldest and most prestigious award. Founded in 1937, it was designed to acknowledge contributions of public service employees to Canadian life. Scholarships are also available for the children and grandchildren of regular or retired members.

The Institute maintains an extensive bilingualism policy, ensuring all members are served in the official language of their choice. All documents emanating from the National Office are issued in both official languages and simultaneous interpretation services are made available for most meetings.



The Membership Services Section provides a broad range of support to Institute members, constituent bodies and staff. Its responsibilities include ensuring that Regulations and Policies are implemented properly with regards to membership rights and the remittance of monthly dues. This requires daily interaction with the pay administrators who work for various departments, agencies and separate employers. The maintenance and accuracy of the database of member records, exclusions, membership lists, Executive updates, as well as the registration of new members and responding to member inquiries are handled by this Section. The verification and administration of new Groups, Sub-Groups and Branches is also managed by the Membership Services Section.

Its other responsibilities include the printing and mailing of newsletters, election ballots, ratification notices, bargaining questionnaires, surveys, Annual General Meeting materials and Institute briefs.

It also ensures the maintenance of its filing system, with its large volume of incoming and in-house correspondence.


The Finance Section oversees the Institute’s financial operations, including the annual budget, audited Financial Statements, investment portfolio, claims forms, and accounts receivable and payable.


Informatics officers maintain and support a complex computer network, including the maintenance of a sophisticated membership database and the PIPSC Web site.




ServicePlus is the Professional Institute’s enhanced member benefits program. ServicePlus offers preferential rates and savings on lifestyle protection, financial and consumer products and services… exclusively for members.

Visit to see the full suite of the ServicePlus offerings in greater detail. Feel free to return as often as you like, but be sure to have your PIPSC membership number close by, as access is exclusive to PIPSC members.

Don’t have internet access? No problem. Call the National Office at (613) 228-6310 or 1-800-267-0446 or your Regional Office, and we’ll fax or mail the information to you.


Why is it important to become a member of the Institute?

Professionals need a union that understands their unique needs. Membership in the Institute is voluntary and simply requires the completion and return of a membership application form.

Only members can participate in the affairs of the Institute and vote in elections or hold office. The member is paramount to the decision-making process of the Institute.

Does the Institute take a political stance in terms of supporting a particular political party?

The Institute is non-partisan but does communicate with politicians and the Canadian people in relation to matters affecting the employment of its members.

What is a “Rand” member?

Under the“Rand Formula”, all members of a bargaining unit represented by the Institute are required to pay the approved Institute fee (the “Rand Formula” is incorporated into all collective agreements to which the Institute is a party). The payment of fees does not automatically mean that an employee is an Institute member. The “Rand Formula” arose from the precedent-setting arbitral award of Justice I. C. Rand on January 29, 1946. In his decision, he stated:

“I consider it entirely equitable then that all employees should be required to shoulder their portion of the burden of expense of administering the law of their employment, the union contract, that they must take the burden along with
the benefit.”

All members and Rands of an occupational Group or bargaining unit are affected by Institute decisions. However, only members receive regular reports.

How are the membership fees set?

Fees or dues for regular, retired and affiliate members are determined by delegates to Annual or Special General Meetings and take effect on the date set by the delegates. The Institute’s flat-rate dues are tailored to professionals and are significantly less than the sliding scale of dues charged by most other unions.

Who governs the Institute?

The AGM is the supreme governing body of the Institute. Although any member may attend the AGM, voting delegates are selected by the Groups and Regional Councils on a representational basis defined in the By-Laws.

How are the By-Laws and Regulations set?

Institute By-Laws are approved by the AGM. Any member may propose changes to the By-Laws for consideration by the AGM. Regulations clarify the By-Laws. Regulations are approved by the Board of Directors and are submitted to the AGM for information and/or amendment purposes.

Each constituent body of the Institute may make its own By-Laws, Constitution or Regulations provided these are not inconsistent with those of the Institute and are approved by the Board of Directors.

How are the members of the Board of Directors chosen?

All Board members are elected by the membership. All voting members of the Institute are entitled to vote for the five (5) Executive positions: one President (full-time 3-year mandate) and four Vice-Presidents (2 full-time and 2 part-time).

Up to four Directors may be elected by voters in the National Capital Region (NCR), and one Director is elected in each of the six other geographic Regions. One Director is elected by the Advisory Council.

Who can run for election?

Any regular or retired member in good standing can run for election.

Where can you obtain a copy of your collective agreement?

For most Groups the employer is responsible for providing copies of the collective agreement. The collective agreement is usually linked to the Group’s Web page. Check with your personnel department if you do not have a copy. If you encounter any difficulties in obtaining a copy of your collective agreement, contact your nearest Institute office for assistance.

What is a grievance?

A grievance is a complaint in writing about any employment-related matter, presented in accordance with legislation or the collective agreement by an aggrieved employee on his/her own behalf, or on the behalf of himself/herself and other employees.

If you have a problem in your work environment, who do you contact at the Institute?

First, consult your steward at the work site. They are trained to give initial advice and guidance.

If you are unable to identify this person, or if you do not have access to a steward, then contact the closest Institute office. For the name of a specific Employment Relations Officer, consult the Institute’s Web site or call 1-800-267-0446.


ADJUDICATION (Rights Arbitration): The procedure by which a Board or a single adjudicator/arbitrator hears both sides of a dispute in relation to a grievance and issues a decision. The decision is final and binding on both parties.

ARBITRAL AWARD: A decision rendered in respect of an interest or rights dispute which is final and binding on both parties.

ARBITRATION (Interest Arbitration): The procedure whereby a Board hears both sides in an interest dispute (collective bargaining) and renders an award settling the dispute.

BARGAINING AGENT: An association or union that is certified by a Labour Relations Board to act on behalf of employees in collective bargaining, and as a party to a collective agreement with an employer.

BARGAINING UNIT: A group of employees which is an appropriate unit for collective bargaining.

COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT: An agreement in writing between an employer and the bargaining agent which contains provisions respecting terms and conditions of employment, rates of pay, hours of work and the rights or duties of the parties to the agreement.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: The process of negotiating a collective agreement.

CONCILIATION/MEDIATION: A conciliator/mediator may be appointed by a Labour Board or Minister of Labour to assist the parties in reaching a settlement in a negotiation dispute. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the dispute may be submitted to either an arbitration tribunal or conciliation board.

CONCILIATION BOARD: A body that hears both sides of a dispute and issues a report setting out proposed terms of settlement. This process is not normally binding on the parties unless they choose to make it so.

GRIEVANCE: A complaint in writing by an employee regarding any matter in relation to an employment situation for which no alternative administrative process of redress is provided.

NATIONAL JOINT COUNCIL (NJC): The National Joint Council (NJC) of the public service of Canada is a consultative body whose purpose is to promote the efficiency of the federal public service and the well-being of its employees by providing for regular consultation between the government, as the employer, and employee organizations certified as bargaining agents under the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA). The NJC consults on many matters where it is most desirable to have the same policy throughout the whole federal public service; they include such areas as workforce adjustment, travel, insurances, clothing and health and safety standards.

NEGOTIATION: Discussion between labour and management representatives for the purpose of arriving at an agreement on the terms and conditions of employment for employees.

REOPENER: A provision allowing for the reopening of a collective agreement prior to its expiration for bargaining.

STEWARD: A representative of the Institute appointed for a designated area of jurisdiction whose principal functions are to provide advice and initial representation to the union members.

STRIKE: A cessation of work or refusal to work for the purpose of compelling an employer to agree to terms or conditions of employment.

WORKING CONDITIONS: Conditions pertaining to the employment situation.


AC:    Advisory Council
AGM:    Annual General Meeting
BOD:    Board of Directors
NJC:    National Joint Council
NCR:    National Capital Region
NRC:    National Research Council
PIPSC:    Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
PSC:    Public Service Commission
PSEA:    Public Service Employment Act
PSLRA:    Public Service Labour Relations Act
PSLRB:    Public Service Labour Relations Board
WFAD:    Work Force Adjustment Directive




  • Membership Benefits
  • Professional Institute By-Laws and Regulations
  • Professional Institute Policy Manual
  • Steward Manual
  • Manual for Elected Officials
  • Mentoring Guide for Stewards
  • Pocket Guide for Elected Officials
  • Pocket Guide for Stewards
  • Pocket Guide to Consultation
  • Pocket Guide on Duty to Accommodate
  • Pocket Guide to Employment Equity
  • Pocket Guide on Harassment
  • Pocket Guide on Human Rights
  • Pocket Guide on Leadership
  • Pocket Guide on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)
  • Pocket Guide on Whistleblowing
  • Proud Professionals
  • Your Union at Your Service(CD)


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