Audit of the Staff Grievance Process

Internal Audit Report

378-1-279

January 11, 2013

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Background

The Audit of Correctional Service Canada's (CSC) Staff Grievance Process was conducted as part of the 2011-2014 Risk-Based Audit Plan (RBAP). The audit links to the CSC corporate priorities of "safety and security of staff and offenders in our institutions and in the community" and the "efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership." The audit also relates to the CSC Human Resource Strategic Plan, CSC's Values Statement, and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

CSC's business activities, combined with its unique occupational groups and multiple bargaining agents, create challenging workplace environments that result in complex labour-management relations. This environment is illustrated by the 3307 grievances that were filed by CSC employees during the last fiscal year (April 2011- March 2012).

The Audit of the Staff Grievance Process was national in scope and focused on the process in place to manage staff grievances.

The objectives of this audit, as outlined in the RBAP, were to:

  • provide assurance that a Management Framework is in place to support the CSC staff grievance process; and
  • provide assurance that CSC's staff grievances are processed in compliance with relevant legislation, policies and collective agreements.

Conclusion

The audit found that a management framework is in place to support the staff grievance process. Collective and global agreements provide direction on matters relating to grievances, the roles and responsibilities of individuals and committees associated with the process are generally understood, and some monitoring and reporting exercises are occurring at the local, regional and national levels.

That stated, the audit identified areas where work can be done to strengthen the overall administration of the staff grievance process.

First, roles and responsibilities within the Labour Relations and Compensation Branch require updating, and the roles and responsibilities of some positions with delegated authority to respond to grievances are unclear. Second, grievance committee meetings are not occurring on a monthly basis across institutions in all regions. Third, monitoring and reporting exercises lack comprehensive trend analysis to support the effective management of the staff grievance process.

The audit also found that staff grievances are being processed in compliance with Government of Canada legislation, collective agreements and policies. As required, CSC's grievance process is composed of three levels, as per legislative requirements. Most grievances are filed in a timely manner. An established Informal Conflict Management System is available to all employees.

However, the audit identified areas where improvement is required in regard to compliance. There are challenges in meeting the prescribed deadlines for responding to grievances at all levels, albeit, not all of which are within CSC's control. As well, internal procedural guidance documents and quality assurance systems are not in place to ensure that grievances are processed consistently and efficiently.

The impact of these findings is that CSC's administrative control over the staff grievance process is not as strong as it could be. As a result, opportunities to identify possible issues, efficiencies and areas for improvement may be missed.


Office of Primary Interest Response

The Human Resources Management Sector agrees with the audit findings and recommendations as presented in the report. We have prepared a detailed action plan to address the issues raised in the audit. More details on the actions to be taken have been provided for each recommendation. All actions to address recommendations are to be implemented by March 31, 2013.

STATEMENT OF ASSURANCE AND CONFORMANCE

This engagement was conducted at a high level of assurance. i

In my professional judgment as Chief Audit Executive, sufficient and appropriate audit procedures have been conducted and evidence gathered to support the accuracy of the opinion provided and contained in this report. The opinion is based on a comparison of the conditions, as they existed at the time, against pre-established audit criteria that were agreed on with management. The opinion is applicable only to the area examined.

The audit conforms to the Internal Auditing Standards for Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program. The evidence gathered was sufficient to provide senior management with proof of the opinion derived from the internal audit.

__________________________________ Date: __________________
Sylvie Soucy, CIA
Chief Audit Executive

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

The Audit of Correctional Service Canada's (CSC) Staff Grievance Process was conducted as part of the 2011-2014 Risk-Based Audit Plan (RBAP). The audit links to CSC priorities of "safety and security of staff and offenders in our institutions and in the community" and the "efficient and effective management practices that reflect values-based leadership." The audit also relates to the CSC Human Resource Strategic Plan, CSC's Values Statement and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

CSC's business activities, combined with its unique occupational groups and multiple bargaining agents, create challenging workplace environments that result in complex labour-management relations. This environment is illustrated by the 3307 grievances that were filed by CSC employees during the last fiscal year (April 2011- March 2012). Grievances for the past three years were as follows:

Number of employees
March 31, 2011
Grievances Filed
2009-2010
Grievances Filed
2010-2011
Grievances Filed
2011-2012
Total Grievances
FY
2009-2012
Total Out-standing Grievances as of March 31, 2012 Total Audit Sample

19 018*

2 971

2 846

3 307

9 124**

5 015

369***

*7 272/19 018 of total employees are CX = 38.2%
**6 602/9 124 of total grievances submitted by CX = 72.3%
***276/369 of total audit sample are CX = 74.7%

The staff grievance process is material to the organization because it supports the achievement of departmental objectives through the promotion of a healthy workplace and by providing staff with a mechanism to resolve differences pertaining to the terms and conditions of their employment.

CSC has a process in place for resolving staff grievances that is governed by legislation, applicable policies and collective agreements.

1.2 Legislation and Policy Framework

Legislation

The Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA),1 a component of the Public Service Modernization Act,2 sets out various requirements for deputy heads, such as the obligation to "establish an informal conflict management system (ICMS)"3 and to "inform the employees […] of its availability."4

The PSLRA also states that the deputy head "must [...] establish a consultation committee consisting of representatives of the deputy head and bargaining agents for the purpose of exchanging views and advice on issues relating to the workplace that effect those employees."5

The Public Service Labour Relations Board Regulations (PSLRBR) provide additional requirements and direction for the establishment of a grievance process, including the resolution levels, the use of ICMS and prescribed time limits for submitting grievances.

Treasury Board Policies

Treasury Board (TB) has developed several policy documents that support the staff grievance process, as follows:

  • TB Guidelines for Labour Management Consultation Committees;
  • TB A Guide to the Key Elements of an ICMS in the Core Public Service; and
  • TB Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.

Additionally, TB is responsible for all collective bargaining and negotiations within the core public administration for all departments and agencies named in Schedule I and Schedule IV of the Financial Administration Act,6 including CSC.

Collective Agreements

A collective agreement is an agreement in writing, entered into by the employer and a bargaining agent, containing provisions respecting the terms and conditions of employment and related matters.7 CSC has a number of bargaining agents represented within the department. They are:

CSC Directives, Strategies and Procedures

  • the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN);
  • the Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE);
  • the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC);
  • the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO);
  • the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE); and
  • the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The two bargaining agents with the largest number of CSC employees are UCCO-SACC-CSN and USGE, representing 38.2% and 45.9% of employees respectively. The remaining employees are excluded or are represented by other bargaining agents.

UCCO-SACC-CSN is the bargaining agent that represents Correctional Officers (CX) and is therefore specific to CSC. In addition to the Collective Agreement, CSC has negotiated a Global Agreement with UCCO-SACC-CSN, which is intended to "clarify the application of certain provisions of the Correctional Officers (CX) Collective Agreement."8

USGE, a component union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), unites public service workers across Canada's federal justice system.9 CSC has the greatest number of USGE members in the Government of Canada and represents employees from numerous classification groups such as Administrative Services (AS), General Labour and Trades (GLT), Hospital Services (HS) and Welfare Programs (WP) which includes parole officers.

CSC Directives, Strategies and Procedures

In addition to legislation and collective and global agreements, CSC has the following documents in place to support the staff grievance process:

  • Instrument of Delegated Authority for Human Resources;
  • HR Bulletin #2006-10 National Direction – Grievance Committees;
  • Labour Relations Roles and Responsibilities (2007).

As well, CSC's Strategic Plan for Human Resource Management states that a grievance reduction strategy has been developed, in coordination with unions, to promote the resolution of grievances at the lowest possible level and to reduce the number of grievances being transmitted to the final level or adjudication.

1.3 Grievance Process

Within the Government of Canada, the grievance process is a formal administrative mechanism through which employees may seek the resolution of differences pertaining to terms and conditions of employment.10

As per Section 208 of the PSLRA, an employee is entitled to present a grievance if the employee feels aggrieved,

(a) by the interpretation or application, in respect of the employee, of
(i) a provision of a statute or regulation, or of a direction or other instrument made or issued by the employer, that deals with terms and conditions of employment or
(ii) a provision of a collective agreement or an arbitral award; or
(b) as a result of any occurrence or matter affecting his or her terms and conditions of employment.11
 

Under the PSLRA, there are three types of regular grievances: individual grievances, group grievances and policy grievances.

For regular grievances, there are three internal levels in CSC's staff grievance process, which are defined in CSC's Instrument of Delegated Authorities. If the grievance is not resolved internally, it can be referred to adjudication under the PSLRA.

A grievance can also be heard by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and ultimately the Supreme Court of Canada.

Time frames for presenting, transmitting and responding to a grievance at each step are determined by the griever's collective agreement. It should be noted that time frames can vary accordingly.

National Joint Council Grievances

The National Joint Council (NJC) of the Public Service of Canada is a forum for co-development, consultation and information sharing between the government as employer (represented by the TB) and public service bargaining agents.12

Members of the NJC have agreed that any employee who feels aggrieved by the interpretation or application of an NJC directive or TB policy must process his or her grievance through the NJC procedure. Examples of NJC directives are: the Bilingual Bonus Directive; the Travel Directive; and the Work Force Adjustment Directive.

The NJC grievance process differs from the regular grievance process in that there are only two levels within a member department or agency. If a grievance is not resolved through the NJC process, the employee, with the agreement and support of his or her bargaining agent, may proceed to adjudication under the PSLRA.

1.4 Organizational Structure

National Headquaters (NHQ)

Within CSC, responsibility for the overall staff grievance process rests with the Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Management (ACHRM). The administration of the process falls under the Director General, Labour Relations and Compensation Branch (LR&C). With a budget of $3.9M for the FY 2011-2012, the Branch comprises four directorates: Workplace Wellness and Employee Well-Being; Corporate Compensation; Strategic Corporate Services; and Operations. The two latter directorates hold accountabilities for the staff grievance process.

Corporate Labour Relations is responsible for providing direction and advice on the application and interpretation of TB policies and collective agreements. It is responsible for supporting the regional and local levels, and has direct process accountability for final level of the grievance process and level two of the NJC process.

The Director, Operations, is responsible for managing the overall grievance process, which includes providing training, advice and guidance to the Regions and preparing responses to grievances at the third and final level at NHQ. Reporting to the Director, Operations are the Supervisor, Grievance Management and the three team leads: one for Ontario and Atlantic; one for Quebec and NHQ; and one for Pacific and Prairies. Team leads are supported by four to six Labour Relations (LR) advisors. The Supervisor, Grievance Management, is supported by an LR assistant. In total, there are 22 staff.

The Manager, Strategic Corporate Services, is responsible for supporting the grievance process. The Manager's responsibilities include coordinating National Labour Management Consultation Committee meetings, supporting collective agreement negotiations and interpreting policies. The Manager is supported by 11 staff in teams of LR advisors and officers.

Regional Headquarters (RHQ) and Institutional levels

Regional LR advisors and assistants are responsible for supporting the grievance process at the local and regional levels by providing advice to management, obtaining documentation to support the grievance decision and ensuring responses are consistent with CSC policies. Assistants are responsible for entering all grievance data into the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) and for sending notification of a grievance to the employee, the bargaining agent and the manager required to respond. Depending on the region, LR staff members are centralized at RHQ or are located at an institution. Regional LR offices vary in size from 6 to 21 staff.

All regional LR staff report to the Regional Manager, Labour Relations (RCLR), who reports to the Regional Administrator, Human Resources, who in turn reports to the Associate Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services.

2.0 AUDIT OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

2.1 Audit Objectives

The objectives of this audit, as outlined in the RBAP, were to:

  • provide assurance that a Management Framework is in place to support the CSC staff grievance process; and
  • provide assurance that CSC's staff grievances are processed in compliance with relevant legislation, policies and collective agreements.

The framework supporting the staff grievance process was assessed against audit objectives and criteria, which were developed using legislative and collective agreement requirements, a risk analysis and Core Management Controls.

Specific criteria related to each of the objectives are included in Annex A.

2.2 Audit Scope

The audit was national in scope across all five regions and NHQ. It included an examination of CSC's regular, individual and group grievances filed under the UCCO-SACC-CSN, USGE, PIPSC and ACFO bargaining agents, during the timeframe of April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012.

Grievances from the three levels of the regular grievance process were examined, as were first and second level NJC grievances. The audit looked at the grievance process for which CSC is responsible, meaning that the adjudication process, as administered by TB, was not covered.

Union processes and responsibilities were not examined as part of this audit; however, executives from above-noted unions were interviewed to obtain their views on CSC's management of the staff grievance process.

CSC's Office of Conflict Management (OCM) was reviewed with regard to its role in providing employees with an alternative, interest-based and informal approach to conflict resolution, in contrast to the grievance process, which is a formal rights-based approach.

For the purpose of this audit, the nature and decisions specific to the sample grievance files were not examined. The audit did not include policy grievances, staffing or classification grievances, since there are separate and distinct mechanisms for dealing with these grievances. As well, the audit did not examine harassment complaints or complaints pertaining to Sections 127 and 128 of the Canada Labour Code, Canadian Human Rights Commission complaints or Global Agreement complaints because they fall outside of the parameters of the grievance process.

3.0 AUDIT APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY

The approach included site visits to all five regions; interviews with institutional, regional and NHQ LR staff; and a file review of 369 grievance files from FY 2009-2010 to FY 2011-2012. It also included an examination of relevant policies, legislation, collective and global agreements and documentation such as organizational charts and committee records of decision.

A preliminary risk assessment was completed, based on interviews with the Office of Primary Interest, members of the LR&C Branch (NHQ) and a review of policies and other documentation related to staff grievances. Overall, our risk analysis led us to conclude that the main risk to CSC relates to the impact that grievances may have on the workplace environment and thereby, the safety and security of staff and offenders in the institutions.

These risks were considered in establishing audit objectives and developing supporting audit tools for testing and gathering of audit evidence. Due to the complex nature of the files, a Subject Matter Expert facilitated and expedited audit testing processes and the gathering of evidence. Annex B provides a list of the techniques used to gather evidence to support the objectives of this audit, including details on the sample selected for examination.

4.0 AUDIT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

4.1 Management Framework for the Staff Grievance Process

The audit team assessed the extent to which a management framework is in place to support the staff grievance process. This included an examination of legislation, collective and global agreements, policies and guidelines. The audit team also examined roles and responsibilities and organizational structures, as well as monitoring, reporting and planning activities.

4.1.1 Policy and Legislative Framework

We expected to find CSC directives and guidelines were consistent with relevant Treasury Board policies and other governing authorities such as the PSLRA, and that these guidelines and procedures were communicated to staff.

CSC's guidelines relating to the staff grievance process are consistent with relevant Treasury Board policy and the PSLRA, and are communicated to staff.

An examination of CSC guidelines and procedural documents confirmed that they are consistent with relevant legislation and policies. Those documents included collective agreements, global agreements, HR Bulletins, GENCom emails, and the Instrument of Delegated Authority for Human Resources. Moreover, when audit team members asked interviewees what documents, policies and directives they use pertaining to the staff grievances process, employees responded that the key documents on which they base their work are collective agreements. Other documents cited were the Instrument of Delegated Authorities, Treasury Board policies and applicable CSC Commissioner's Directives (CDs) and HR bulletins. These documents are communicated to employees via the CSC's intranet and through General Communication (GENCom) emails.

Instrument of Delegated Authorities

As per the PSLRBR, there can be no more than three levels in the grievance process. CSC has three delegated authority levels for the staff grievance process, as follows:

  • First Level – supervisor/manager;
  • Second Level – Warden/ Director General/ District Director;
  • Third Level – ACHRM.

In keeping with PSLRBR and Collective Agreement requirements, the delegated authority instrument is available to all staff via CSC's intranet. Notices were also observed in some sites visited by the audit team.

In January 2008, the second level was moved from the Regional Deputy Commissioners to the Wardens, District Directors and other equivalent managers, in order to "resolve conflicts at the lowest level and to strengthen management's accountability."13

Results of this audit reflect some of the issues with the current structure. As such, to assist management in its decision-making, the information presented will provide more detail as to the functionality of the existing arrangement.

4.1.2 Governance

We expected to find roles and responsibilities were clearly defined, and that Labour Management Consultation Committees occur as required.

CSC roles and responsibilities regarding the staff grievance process are generally clear and understood, with minor inconsistencies; however, some areas require clarification.

Roles and Responsibilities of LR Staff

Roles and responsibilities are defined in the 2007 document, CSC's Labour Relations Roles and Responsibilities, and are understood at the national, regional and local levels. LR staff members responded that their roles are clear and all LR staff reported they have considerable educational and professional experience that supports them in the performance of their duties.

However, the specific roles of the Director Operations and Manager, Strategic Corporate Services and their directorates are not clearly defined in CSC's Labour Relations Roles and Responsibilities document.

At the regional and institutional level, LR roles are for the most part consistent and understood. Some LR advisors and assistants are centralized at RHQ, while others work in the institutions and support one or more sites, depending on the region. In regions where LR staff is located at RHQ, data entry responsibilities at the site level fall to a site employee, such as a warden's assistant. The risk associated with non-LR assistants performing grievance data entry is that data such as grievance code types and action dates may be determined and entered inconsistently, thereby affecting data integrity and reporting numbers. This is important as management uses information in the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) to identify priorities and develop initiatives. Data entry and integrity will be discussed further in Section 4.3 of this report.

Roles and responsibilities of those employees with delegated authority to respond to grievances are not always clear.

While the majority of interviewees (32 of 37) 86% indicated that the roles and responsibilities for delegated authorities responding to grievances are clear, some believed that the supervisor/manager positions at the first level required better definition. Others said that more guidance was required for those without experience in responding to grievances. LR staff indicated that roles and responsibilities for those with the delegated authority to respond to grievances are less clear at NHQ than in the institutions. The audit team interviewed 19 staff in positions with the authority to respond to a grievance at the first and second level, of which 16 of 19 (84%) reported that they had received training regarding their role in the grievance process. Labour Relations for Managers and Supervisors is a five day mandatory course provided to all managers and supervisors who are a step in the grievance process. Last year, 32 training sessions were delivered to 649 participants across the organization. While the audit team did not examine the sufficiency or delivery of this training, the audit team did note that the organization has 1355 excluded positions based on the rationale that the position is a step within the grievance process.

Good Practice

Joint training sessions were held in the Atlantic Region, facilitated by Union and CSC representatives, to clarify the grievance process, including roles and responsibilities for health care managers and supervisors.

To confirm the extent of interview findings, which indicated that roles and responsibilities for those with the delegated authority to respond to grievances may be unclear, the audit team selected 21 random files from the audit sample of 369 to test if respondents had received their delegated authority letters at the time they responded to a grievance at the first or second level. For the supervisors/managers responding as the employer at the first level, 11 of 21 (52%) had the delegated authority letter on file; 6 of 11 (54%) of managers responding at the second level had letters on file.

The Instrument of Delegated Authorities states that the responsibility for issuing letters to employees designating them as a step in the grievance procedure rests with those officials at Delegated Authority Levels 1, 2 and 3.14 As such, this process is not centrally administered. The audit team found that while the TB Guidelines on Managerial or Confidential Exclusions offer direction on this process, there are no internal documents to provide additional CSC-specific guidance or procedures. There is therefore a risk that those responding to grievances without the delegated authority may not possess sufficient knowledge to respond consistently or efficiently.

This is particularly of risk for CSC, as the organization has 1738 excluded positions, of which 1355 are excluded based on the rationale that the position is a step within the grievance process.

Clearly documented and communicated roles and responsibilities within the LR function, and with regard to the issuance of delegated authority letters, will facilitate consistent and efficient processing of grievances.

Labour Management Consultation Committee meetings occur as required; however, grievance committee meetings do not occur on a regular basis.

In line with the PSLRA requirements, CSC established Labour Management Consultation Committees (LMCC), with bargaining agents at the national and regional levels. An examination of minutes and terms of reference confirms that meetings occur regularly and consistently at the national and regional levels.

As per the Global Agreement between CSC and UCCO-SACC-CSN, and in keeping with the informal conflict management system concept, each institution is required to hold grievance committee meetings on a monthly basis, or as otherwise agreed to by both parties. The mandate of these meetings is to provide a forum for bargaining agent representatives and institutional management to discuss labour relations issues before they become formal grievances, as well as grievances originating from the institution.

During this audit, a PSLRB decision on equitable distribution of overtime was delivered, which identified concerns with CSC's information sharing and communication regarding its National Policy on Overtime. In response to this decision, CSC identified grievance committees as a forum for management and union representatives to discuss the issue of overtime hiring on a quarterly and monthly basis.

According to data provided to NHQ by each region, grievance committee meetings are not occurring on a regular basis. Reasons cited ranged from member availability in some institutions, to lack of need in other institutions where informal discussions take place on a regular basis.

The audit team analyzed quarterly grievance committee reports and concluded that a greater frequency of meetings held did not necessarily translate into fewer grievances filed. Still, these meetings do provide opportunities for constructive discussions and follow-up exercises on topics such as the aforementioned issue of overtime.

4.1.3 Monitoring and 4.1.4 Reporting

We expected to find monitoring in place to identify trends and issues with the staff grievance process, and that performance indicators exist to support the implementation of the grievance reduction strategy. We also expected to find that adequate information was identified and processes were established to ensure staff grievances are reported to management at the local, regional and national levels.

Staff grievances are being monitored and reported to management at the local, regional and national levels.

Local level

The institutions visited during this audit monitor grievances using institution-specific spreadsheets to capture data such as the date at which the grievance was presented, the type of grievance and status. The audit team noted that while the institutions visited use differing reporting methods, all institutions are providing reports to institutional heads as requested. In addition, this information is presented at institutional management meetings and personnel committee meetings as required. The audit team also found that the HR Dashboard was not used regularly to monitor grievances.

As noted by CSC's internal response to concerns with its reporting activities raised in the previously-discussed PSLRB decision, institutions are now required to keep records of meetings, including reports regarding the distribution of overtime. The audit team did not conduct assurance work to determine if this monitoring has commenced, as it was implemented at the end of the engagement's reporting phase.

Regional level

All regions monitor grievances using region-specific spreadsheets to capture data such as the date at which the grievance was presented, the type of grievance and status.

Reports differ by region, as was the case between institutions. Some provide analysis regarding the type of grievance while others provide a breakdown by classification. Some regional reports contain performance indicators such as the number of days outstanding per grievance while others identify if a grievance has been responded to within prescribed time limits at the first and second levels.

Regional reports are provided to senior management at Regional Management Committee meetings or through direct reports to the ADCCS or RDC. They are also shared with bargaining agents via Regional LMCC meetings.

Good Practice

Current monitoring practices in the Ontario Region include the tracking of grievances per institution with dates and resolution outcomes, continued aging of outstanding grievances and separate tracking of grievances at the third level.

National level

NHQ monitors staff grievance activities on a quarterly basis using the following information:

  • frequency of grievance committee meetings held at each institution;
  • types of grievances filed at all levels, such as overtime, designated paid holidays and work descriptions;
  • types and number of grievances at adjudication; and
  • status of grievances at final level: transmitted, resolved, or outstanding.

Using the Human Resources Management System (HRMS), NHQ reports this information to NLMCCs on a quarterly basis, and also provides progress reports to the PSLRB on the CSC/UCCO-SACC-CSN Grievance Reduction Initiative, as required.

With regard to currently established monitoring and reporting exercises, the audit team found that regular reporting is lacking on issues such as file aging and timeliness of responding to and transmitting of grievances.

The audit team did find ad hoc reports available that were not included in established monitoring exercises, which provided a detailed breakdown of information regarding:

  • the number of grievances at each level;
  • the number of grievances at each level by bargaining agent; and
  • the number of grievance types at adjudication.

The inclusion of this information in established quarterly monitoring exercises could improve current reporting information and trend analysis efforts in support of grievance reduction initiatives.

Additionally, the audit team found that information regarding the status of a grievance was unclear. For example, the total number of grievances reported as resolved during FY 2011-2012 was 3090, but it is difficult to ascertain exactly how a grievance was resolved, because the definition of a resolved grievance includes the following:

  • dismissed
  • rejected
  • settled
  • upheld
  • withdrawn.

While this information is entered in HRMS, it is not currently reflected in quarterly reports. The audit team also noted a lack of regular reporting on information pertaining to the costs associated with the grievance process such as mediation exercises, adjudication expenses or the salary dollar costs emanating from settled and resolved grievances. Detailed information provides senior management with the ability to conduct cost-benefit analysis exercises in order to identify efficiencies and areas for improvement regarding grievance reduction initiatives. There is a risk, however, that without defined, robust monitoring exercises, management may miss opportunities to identify trends and address emerging issues before they result in an increased number of grievances.

4.1.5 Planning

We expected to find plans in place at the national, regional and local level, to support the effective and efficient management of the staff grievance process, including the grievance reduction strategy.

Although planning activities exist to address the current grievance volume, no evidence of a formal, documented corporate plan was found to support the overall administration of the staff grievance process.

At NHQ, the Director, Operations, plans and prioritizes the workloads of LR team leads and advisors on a quarterly basis through the assignment of priority lists. Based on the nature of the grievance and the experience of LR staff, team leads assign prioritized grievances to their advisors (approximately 20-30 files per quarter). While some examples of priority grievances provided by LR staff at NHQ were those pertaining to unrepresented employees and those that were scheduled for adjudication, the audit team could not identify any pre-established risk ranking exercises of individual grievances based on factors such as their complexity or possible financial implications for the organization.

A grievance reduction strategy is in place to address the volume of grievances pending adjudication.

The grievance reduction strategy, co-developed with bargaining agents, includes CSC's activities to develop initiatives to reduce the number of grievances and to allow issues to be resolved at lower levels more quickly. An example of one such initiative activity was the conducting of five mediation sessions in the regions to resolve 203 outstanding pre-2009 overtime grievances pending adjudication.

Good Practice

Under the Grievance Backlog Reduction Initiative, CSC partners with PSLRB, TB, and UCCO-SACC-CSN to identify and group the major issue grievances at adjudication. A test case is heard by the PSLRB in order to obtain a decision that can be applied to grievances pertaining to the same issue, thereby reducing the number of grievances at adjudication. A recent decision (2012 PSLRB 57) provided clarification on issues relating to designated paid holidays, which will be applied to reduce 358 grievances at adjudication.

Going forward, CSC, PSLRB and UCCO-SACC-CSN have a plan under development to address grouped grievances at adjudication according to pre-identified issues such as: overtime; designated paid holidays; meal allowances; and acting pay.

While the aforementioned actions are successful in addressing grievances pending adjudication, the audit team was not able to find evidence of a consolidated, proactive, documented planning exercise to address emerging priorities and impending grievances, at all levels within the process. Enhanced monitoring and trend analysis efforts will enable CSC to better measure the success of current initiatives, and to develop and implement future initiatives.

Conclusion

In relation to Objective One, the audit found that a management framework is in place. Specifically, we found the following.

  • CSC's guidelines relating to the staff grievance process are consistent with relevant Treasury Board policy and the PSLRA, and are communicated to staff.
  • Labour Management Consultation Committee meetings occur as required.
  • Roles and responsibilities are generally clear and understood.
  • Some monitoring, reporting and planning exercises are in place at all levels.
  • Plans, including a grievance reduction initiative with bargaining agents, have been developed.

However, the audit revealed that there are areas requiring improvement.

  • Roles and responsibilities of LR&C directorates and staff require updating
  • Roles and responsibilities of those with delegated authority to respond to grievances need to be clarified
  • Grievance Committee meetings need to occur as agreed to by all parties
  • A pre-established risk ranking exercise of individual grievances based on factors such as their complexity or possible financial implications for the organization needs to be developed
  • Monitoring and reporting methodologies need to be improved to produce enhanced trend analysis
  • An overall integrated corporate plan to address grievance volume at the local, regional and national levels needs to be documented and communicated.

Some of these concerns will be supported and addressed by recommendations in Section 4.2 of this report.

Recommendation 1 15

Under the Grievance Backlog Reduction Initiative, CSC partners with PSLRB, TB, and UCCO-SACC-CSN to identify and group the major issue grievances at adjudication. A test case is heard by the PSLRB in order to obtain a decision that can be applied to grievances pertaining to the same issue, thereby reducing the number of grievances at adjudication. A recent decision (2012 PSLRB 57) provided clarification on issues relating to designated paid holidays, which will be applied to reduce 358 grievances at adjudication.

Office of Primary Interest Response

We agree with this recommendation. By March 31 2013, the ACHRM will:

  • Review and revise current monitoring exercises, to address issues that may exist with the current method of processing grievances, as provided in the Management Action Plan (MAP) attached to this document;
  • Continue to develop and implement action plans, on an ongoing basis, to address grieved matters, with a focus on the current UCCO-SACC-CSN reduction initiative. It is of note that a list of priorities, pertaining to grievances, has been developed and submitted to senior management for review and approval.

4.2 Processing and Compliance

The audit team assessed whether staff grievances are processed in compliance with relevant Government of Canada legislation, policies and collective agreements. This included a review of grievance files, data entry practices and quality assurance controls, as well as a verification of data accuracy in HRMS.

4.2.1 Processing

We expected to find that staff grievances were processed in compliance with relevant Government of Canada legislation, policies and collective agreements.

CSC processes grievances in compliance with legislation, policies and collective agreements; however, responses often fall outside of normal timeframes at all levels.

As per the PSLRBR, CSC's grievance process is composed of three levels, and grievances are processed accordingly. Collective agreements provide deadlines for presenting, transmitting and responding to grievances. For a grievance to be considered timely, it must be presented by the employee to a CSC management representative within 25 days16 of the occurrence of the event being grieved. If a grievance is presented beyond the 25-days period, CSC responds to the merits of the grievance, but notes in its response to the employee and on file that the grievance was filed outside of the prescribed time period. A grievance may be rejected at adjudication for failing to meet a deadline only if it has been rejected at a lower level for the same reason.

Of the 361 files reviewed, 47 grievances were presented outside of the 25 day deadline. Of those, 6 of 47 (13%) grievances had this noted on file.

Grievances must be transmitted by the grievor to the next appropriate level within 10 days of receiving a response, or 15 days if no response is received. The audit team examined the transmission times of grievances from level to level, with the following results:

  Timely Presentation at First Level Timely Transmittal to Second Level Timely Transmittal to Third Level

2009-2012

314/361
(87%)

216/267
(81%)

173/194
(89%)

According to various collective agreements, "the Employer shall normally reply to a grievance at any level of the grievance procedure, except the final level, within 10 days after the grievance is presented,"17 and normally within 20 or 30 days of being received at the final level, exclusive of those being granted an extension to allow for consultation or those being placed in abeyance as per collective agreements with the appropriate bargaining agents.

As reported earlier, NHQ monitors and reports quarterly on grievances according to type and status. However, data to demonstrate the timeliness of responses at all levels and from all regions was not readily available. Therefore, the audit team collected this information, based on the sample of grievance files. Response times were determined by calculating the number of days between the date of the management representative signature on the presentation form to the date management signed the response letter. Extensions and abeyance periods were taken into consideration if proof was on file. The following chart depicts timeliness of responses at the first, second and third levels for the files reviewed.

  Responses within 10 Days at First Level Responses within 10 Days at Second Level Responses within 20/30 Days at Third Level

2009-2012

233/361
(65%)

149/267
(59%)

96/194
(49%)

Many interviewees who work in institutions indicated that meeting the 10-day deadline was often a challenge due to operational realities such as shift scheduling and constant changes in daily priorities. Abeyance agreements with the bargaining agents, whereby CSC does not render a decision until consultation has occurred, were also cited as a cause for providing responses outside the above mentioned timelines. As mentioned above, grievances affected by abeyance agreements were taken into consideration.

Delays at the final level can also be the result of more complex issues, such as work description grievances, which require the involvement of joint CSC-Union committees to address National Generic Work Descriptions (NGWD). While it was reported that movement on the file has been slow, the Agreement between CSC and USGE to transmit all NGWD grievances directly to the third level does illustrate a willingness to prioritize types of grievance files and to streamline their processing accordingly.

On the issue of prioritizing and triaging, the audit team noted that all regular grievances are subjected to the same process and timelines, regardless of the type of grievance. For example, a disciplinary grievance is processed in the same manner as an overtime grievance, until it reaches the third level, when it is prioritized by the Director, Operations, on a case-by-case basis.

CSC-wide procedural guidance documents are not in place to ensure that all grievances are processed consistently and efficiently.

The audit team examined documentation at the national and regional levels that guides the processing of staff grievances at CSC, such as file checklists and procedural manuals. The corporate document entitled A Guide to Correctional Service Canada's Grievance Procedures (2006) includes grievance steps and response timelines and templates; however, it has not been updated to reflect CSC's current delegated authority levels, it does not fully define roles and responsibilities of those involved in the process, and it has not been distributed to provide information to delegated managers and labour relations advisors, as per the intent of the guide.

During the examination, the audit team became aware that, unlike the offender grievance process, which is supported by Commissioner's Directive 081 and the Offender Complaint and Grievance Procedures Manual, there are no comparable corporate documents to support the staff grievance process. The audit team discovered through interviews and file reviews that regions have created their own process documents to address this gap in corporate national guidance. For instance, the Ontario region has developed and implemented a Desk Top Procedures guide, which outlines the steps for entering and responding to grievances, and the Quebec region has issued HR bulletins to provide guidance for processing second level grievances.

There is a risk, therefore, that the lack of corporate processing guidance documents could cause grievances to be processed inconsistently and inefficiently. This report's Section 4.2.3 on Documentation provides further support on this matter.

Process Mapping

The grievance management process for presenting, transmitting and responding to grievances has been charted by the LR&C Branch. The draft flow chart (see Annex E) outlines the process for both regular and NJC grievances, and indicates timelines, decision points and delegated authority levels. However, this process has yet to be communicated broadly to staff.

In order to gain a better understanding of the time required in the grievance process, as well as the cost of human resources, the audit team requested evidence of this type of management information. However, none was available.

The audit team noted through interviews and an examination of organizational and flow charts that there were identified LR vacancies in all regions, including the LR&C Branch at NHQ. Depending on the roles and responsibilities associated with a vacant position, there is a risk that certain tasks may be discontinued and workload may be assumed by another position or positions. This becomes an issue of efficiency if the assuming position is at a higher classification level or if overtime is required in order to accomplish regular workloads.

There is also a risk that, without information resulting from process-mapping exercises such as this, management will be limited in its ability to assess the operating costs per grievance and per process, identify possible inefficiencies, and better anticipate resourcing needs to meet changing operational requirements.

4.2.2 Informal Conflict Management System

We expected to find that an Informal Conflict Management System was available to all CSC employees.

CSC has an established Informal Conflict Management System that is available to all employees.

In keeping with CSC's commitment to promoting the use of interest-based communications and problem-solving in daily interactions at the earliest opportunity and at the lowest level, the majority of interviewees agreed that informal mechanisms are made available to employees, both within and outside of the grievance process.

CSC has a National Guide for the Use of the Informal Conflict Management System (ICMS) Services in place and reports annually on its activities and services.

The audit team observed that Conflict Management Advisory Committees are established and meet regularly in the regions. Interviews confirmed that employees in all regions are aware of Office of Conflict Management (OCM) activities, the majority of whom have participated in training or presentations offered by the OCM.

4.2.3 Documentation

We expected to find that staff grievance files contained documentation to demonstrate that grievances were presented and responded to within time frames and at appropriate delegated authority levels.

CSC grievance files contain documentation to support the process; however, adequate information was not always on file, and paperwork was often redundant and unorganized.

The audit team reviewed a statistically valid national random sample of 369 grievances and found documentation on file for 99% of all grievances reviewed.

Files reviewed in all regions contained key documents. For example 97% (351/361) of all files contained signed and dated presentation letters. Most files contained additional supporting documentation, such as grievance hearing minutes, policies and schedules.

The audit team noted that files did not have a common look and feel and were constructed unsystematically, which made file review time consuming. Differing document checklists were found in all regions, and these checklists were not always used. The audit team also noted that hard copies of a grievance file can exist at the local, regional and national level, which is a duplication of effort.

The need for adequate information increases when a grievance is transmitted to adjudication. Due to a significant backlog of files pending at adjudication, there can be a prolonged time period between the date at which a grievance is first presented and the date at which it is heard by the PSLRB. Interviews confirmed that it is challenging and time consuming for LR staff to track down and obtain documentation after the fact, as employees change positions and transfer within and among institutions, and supporting documentation such as schedules and sign-up sheets cannot always be located.

Good Practice

The Prairie and Pacific regions have conducted their own grievance file audits in the past to ensure that files contain adequate documentation, adhere to timelines and have been processed according to policies and legislation.

As all grievances have the potential to be transmitted to adjudication, greater attention should be paid to ensure that files contain adequate documentation to support a grievance at adjudication while minimizing the amount of unnecessary, repetitive paperwork and handling.

4.2.4 Data Integrity

We expected to find that all grievances were entered in HRMS, and that data entered was subjected to a quality assurance process.

All grievances selected for file review are entered into HRMS, with minor inconsistencies.

All sample files reviewed for this audit were entered into HRMS. The system automatically generates a grievance number for each new file opened, thereby assuring that each grievance has a unique identifier.

In collaboration with a subject matter expert, the audit team identified data entry fields that are important for managing the staff grievance process. There are 153 possible grievance type codes, and correct coding is crucial because management relies on this reporting information to determine initiatives and priorities. Inaccurate coding creates the risk that wrongly coded grievances may be omitted from or wrongly included in initiatives, or that grievances may be processed under the wrong process, since NJC grievances have different delegated authorities and response levels.

Most grievances were assigned the correct grievance type code. To test the accuracy between the grievance file and HRMS, the audit team looked at grievance codes, descriptions, dates and resolution status.

The chart below illustrates HRMS data points examined by the audit team and their level of accuracy.

Grievance Type Code Grievance Description Grievance Date Action Date Resolution (status)

318/361
(88%)

355/361
(98%)

301/361
(83%)

242/361
(67%)

291/361
(81%)

The most common coding error reported pertained to dates, since there appears to be some confusion as to whether the Action Date should align with the date a grievance was transmitted or with the date the data was entered.

Quality assurance is occurring on an ad hoc basis.

Interviews confirmed that quality assurance occurs on an ad hoc basis, as files are reviewed and transmitted through the process; however, there are no formal processes currently in place.

Without procedural guidance and a formal quality assurance program to ensure the validity of grievance data, there is a risk that data quality will not be sufficient to support accurate monitoring and reporting of staff grievances. As well, CSC needs to be able to address circumstances where corrective actions are required in the process.

Conclusion

In relation to Objective Two, the audit found that CSC processes grievances according to legislation, policies and collective agreements.

  • CSC's grievance process is composed of three levels, as per legislation.
  • Grievances are entered into HRMS. Data is generally accurate and files contain documentation to support the process.
  • An established Informal Conflict Management System is available to all employees.

However, the audit noted areas where improvements are required.

  • Grievance responses often fall outside of normal timeframes at all levels.
  • Internal procedural guidance documents and quality assurance systems are not in place to ensure that grievances are processed consistently and efficiently.
  • Files do not have a common look and, feel making it difficult to manage them efficiently.

Recommendation 2 18

The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Management, should develop and distribute corporate guidance and procedural documents, such as updated roles and responsibilities, a process flow chart, guidelines that include a triaging process based on risks, file checklists and a quality assurance practice, to support the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.

Office of Primary Interest Response

We agree with this recommendation. By March 2013, the ACHRM will:

  • Develop, finalize and share corporate guidance documents with CSC staff as provided in the Management Action Plan (MAP) attached to this document;
  • Develop and implement a quality assurance cycle to support the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances as provided in the Management Action Plan (MAP) attached to this document.

5.0 OVERALL CONCLUSION

In relation to the first audit objective, the audit found that a management framework is in place to support the staff grievance process. Collective and global agreements provide direction on matters relating to grievances, the roles and responsibilities of individuals and committees associated with the process are generally understood, and some monitoring and reporting exercises are occurring at the local, regional and national levels.

That stated, the audit identified areas where work can be done to strengthen the overall administration of the staff grievance process.

First, roles and responsibilities within the Labour Relations and Compensation Branch require updating, and the roles and responsibilities of some positions with delegated authority to respond to grievances are unclear. Second, grievance committee meetings are not occurring on a monthly basis across institutions in all regions. Third, monitoring and reporting exercises lack comprehensive trend analysis to support the effective management of the staff grievance process.

In relation to the second audit objective, the audit found that staff grievances are being processed in compliance with Government of Canada legislation, collective agreements and policies. As required, CSC's grievance process is composed of three levels, most grievances are filed in a timely manner, and an established Informal Conflict Management System is available to all employees.

However, the audit identified areas where improvement is required. There are challenges in meeting the prescribed deadlines for responding to grievances at all levels, albeit, not all of which are within CSC's control. As well, internal procedural guidance documents and quality assurance systems are not in place to ensure that grievances are processed consistently and efficiently.

The impact of these findings is that CSC's administrative control over the staff grievance process is not as strong as it could be. As a result, opportunities to identify possible issues, efficiencies and areas for improvement may be missed.

Office of Primary Interest Response

The Human Resources Management Sector agrees with the audit findings and recommendations as presented in the report. We have prepared a detailed action plan to address the issues raised in the audit. More details on the actions to be taken have been provided for each recommendation. All actions to address recommendations are to be implemented by March 2013.

ANNEX A

AUDIT OBJECTIVES AND CRITERIA

AUDIT OBJECTIVES AUDIT CRITERIA
1. Provide assurance that a Management Framework is in place to support the CSC staff grievance process. 1.1 Guidelines and procedures
  • CSC has guidelines and procedures in place that are consistent with government policies, legislation and collective agreements; and
  • guidelines and procedures are communicated to staff.
1.2 Governance
  • Labour Relations Branch and CSC employee roles and responsibilities at the national, regional, and local levels are defined and documented; and,
  • committee meetings are held as required; are documented, including the mandate and membership of Labour Management Consultation Committees and Grievance Committees at the national, regional and local levels.
1.3 Monitoring
  • Monitoring occurs to identify trends and issues within the staff grievance process; and
  • performance indicators exist to support the implementation of the grievance reduction strategy.
1.4 Reporting
  • Adequate information is identified and processes are established to ensure staff grievances are reported to management at the national, regional, and local/institutional level.
1.5 Planning
  • CSC has plans in place at the national, regional and institutional/local level, to support the effective and efficient management of the staff grievance process, including the grievance reduction strategy.
2. Provide assurance that CSC's staff grievances are processed in compliance with relevant legislation, policies and collective agreements. 2.1 Processing
Staff grievances are responded to:
  • within required timelines as per government policies, legislation and collective agreements, and according to CSC processes and procedures; and
  • by the appropriate delegated authorities, as per government policies, legislation and collective agreements, and according to CSC processes and procedures.
2.2 Informal Conflict Management
  • An Informal Conflict Management System (ICMS) is available to employees including those involved in the staff grievance process in accordance with Treasury Board policy.
2.3 Documentation
As per CSC procedures, staff grievance files contain documentation to demonstrate that grievances have been:
  • filed within time frames;
  • responded to within time frames; and
  • approved by the appropriate delegated authority.
2.4 Data entry/integrity
Staff grievances are entered into HRMS and the data is:
  • accurate;
  • entered in a timely manner; and
  • subject to a quality assurance process.

ANNEX B

AUDIT APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY

Audit evidence was gathered through a number of methods.

Interviews: Interviews were conducted with LR&C staff, senior management at NHQ and RHQ and with staff involved in the management and administration of the staff grievance process in the regions and at selected institutions. Interviews were also conducted with union executives and staff from the OCM.

Review of Documentation: Relevant documentation was reviewed, including legislation, collective agreements, corporate documents and procedural documents such as process maps, reports and planning exercises.

Testing: File review was performed to provide assurance that grievances were processed according to legislation, policies, collective agreements and CSC procedures, and included adherence to time frames, collection of required documentation and approval by appropriate delegated authority levels.

Observation: Certain processes and procedures regarding information management, data entry and monitoring and reporting were observed at the institutions, districts, RHQ and NHQ.

Subject Matter Expert: Due to the complex nature of files, a SME facilitated and expedited audit testing processes and the gathering of evidence.

Site Selection: The sites were selected based on an analysis of information which included the number of grievances received in FY 2011-2012 and CSC's Internal Audit Branch Analysis of Site Coverage for Internal Audit/Review Engagements FY 2007-2008 to 2010-2011, to ensure equal coverage across regions and institutional levels. (See Annex D).

Sampling: For the purpose of this audit, a random sample of files was selected from all five regions and NHQ, using a 95% confidence level and 5% confidence interval applied to the population of total grievances filed from April 1, 2009 – March 31, 2012.

Table 1 in Annex C depicts the number of CSC employees for FY 2011-2012, the number of grievances filed between FY 2009-2010 and 2011-2012, and the representative number of grievances in the sample.

ANNEX C

STATISTICAL INFORMATION

Table 1: Total Number of Grievances by Employee and Region (total population and by audit sample population)

REGION Number of Employees Total Grievances % Total Sample % +/- %
NHQ 1 649 17 .001 1 .002 +.001
Atlantic 2 025 952 10.4 26 7.0 -3.4
Quebec 4 161 2 850 31.2 116 31.4 +0.2
Ontario 4 214 2 395 26.2 101 27.3 +1.1
Prairies 4 167 1 466 16 60 16.2 +0.2
Pacific 2 802 1 444 15.8 65 17.6 +1.8
Total 19 018* 9124** 99,6 369*** 99,5  

*7 272/19 018 of total employees are CX = 38.2%
**6 602/9 124 of total grievances submitted by CX = 72.3%
***276/369 of total audit sample are CX = 74.7%

Table 2: Grievances Filed by Occupational Group - those with > 100 grievances

Grievances Filed by Occupational Group - those with > 100 grievances.
AS – Administrative Services CR - Clerical and Regulatory Group
CX – Correctional Officers GSFOS – Food Services
GSSTS – Stores Services NUH – Nursing staff
WP – Parole Officers  

Table 3: Grievances by Status - Total File Population (9 124) FY 2009-2010 – 2011-2012

Grievance by Status Total
Dismissed (adjudication only) 90
Pending 4 026
Rejected 2 158
Settled 654
Upheld 622
Withdrawn 1 574
Total 9 124

Table 4: Top 10 of 153 Grievance Codes by Type - Total file population (9 124)

Grievance Type Code Description Total
101 Designated Paid Holiday 2 331
162 Overtime: Equitable Distribution 540
142 Job Description 538
150 Pay: Other 409
126 Pay: Acting 377
148 Pay: Retroactive 341
108 Hours: Shift Scheduling 328
163 Overtime: Meal Allowance 265
105 Hours: Meal Breaks 238
123 Pay: Rate of Pay 222

ANNEX D

LOCATION OF SITE EXAMINATIONS

REGION SITES
NHQ
  • Labour Relations Branch
  • Office of Conflict Management
Atlantic
  • RHQ
  • Westmorland Institution
  • Shepody Healing Centre
Québec
  • RHQ
  • Joliette Institution
  • East/West District Office
Ontario
  • RHQ
  • Collins Bay Institution
  • Frontenac Institution
Prairies
  • RHQ
  • Saskatchewan Penitentiary
  • Riverbend Institution
Pacific
  • RHQ
  • Kent Institution
  • Pacific Institution

ANNEX E

GRIEVANCE PROCESS FLOW CHART

This figure is a schematic outline of the Grievance Process at CSC.

This figure is a schematic outline of the Grievance Process at CSC.

The schematic outlines two grievance processes; Regular and National Joint Council (NJC)

Regular Process

The first box represents the beginning of the action or lack of action by management.

For regular process, there are three internal levels in CSC's staff grievance process, which are defined in CSC's Instrument of Delegated Authorities.

  • The next box indicates that within 25 days, the action is transmitted to 1st level (Mgmt).
  • The next box indicates that Mgmt has 15 days to respond and 10 days to transmit to 2nd level (warden).
  • The next box indicates that the Warden has 15 days to respond and 10 days to transmit to final level (FL). It is significant to note that an agreement was negotiated with USGE, PIPSC, ACFO, CAPE to keep grievances in abeyance until presentations. Once this completed, FL has 20 days to respond.
  • The next box indicates that at FL, Delegated Manager responds (ACHRM) within 30 days. Next box is REPLY: either Agree or Disagree.
    • If agree: Grievance is Resolved - end of process.
    • If disagree: the next box indicates that the action goes to Adjudication (PSLRB).
  • The four subsequent boxes are, if PSLRB rejects it, it can be heard by the Federal Court, if it is rejected, it can be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal, and if rejected again, ultimately the Supreme Court of Canada can hear it.

*Demotions or Terminations of employment are forwarded directly to Final Level.

NJC Process

The first box represents the beginning of the action or lack of action by management.

NJC process has two levels within a member department or agency.

  • The next box indicates that within 25 days the action is filed and transmitted to 1st level (Mgnt).
  • The next box indicates that Mgnt has 10 days to transmit to 2nd level (NHQ).
  • The next box indicates that the Departmental Liaison Officer responds (DLO).
  • Next box is REPLY: either Agree or Disagree.
    • If agree: Grievance is Resolved - end of process
    • If disagree: the next box indicates that it goes to 3rd level (NJC). In the next box, NJC provides a decision. The next box indicates that if unsatisfied it goes to Adjudication (PSLRB).
  • In the next box, NJC provides a decision.
  • The next box indicates that if unsatisfied it goes to Adjudication (PSLRB).
  • The four subsequent boxes are, if PSLRB rejects it, it can be heard by the Federal Court, if it is rejected, it can be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal, and if rejected again, ultimately the Supreme Court of Canada can hear it.

MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN

AUDIT OF STAFF GRIEVANCE PROCESS

Recommendation: Recommendation 119
The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Management, should enhance current monitoring and reporting exercises and ensure that they are centralized and standardized to include specific requirements for information, from all levels of the grievance process, such as status, timeliness and cost to the organization, to facilitate trend analysis activities and to support a more informed, fulsome, proactive and coordinated planning process.
Management Response / Position: __x__ Accepted ___ Accepted in Part ___ Rejected
Action(s) Deliverable(s) Approach Accountability Timeline for Implementation

What action(s) has / will be taken to address this recommendation?

Expected deliverable(s) / indicator(s) to demonstrate the completion of the action(s)

How does this approach address the recommendation?

Who is responsible for implementing this action(s)?

When will action(s) be completed to fully address the recommendation?

Labour Relations Operations will report on the 'age' of all grievances, by union, at each level of the grievance process. Labour Relations Operations will further review current information and determine any additional indicators that may be monitored and reported.

Quarterly report provided to the Director General, Labour Relations, Compensation, and Wellness Branch, National Labour Management Consultation Committee (NLMCC), and National Human Resources Management Committee (NHRMC).

This approach will address the issues relating to the monitoring and reporting of the timeliness of grievance responses. In addition, this approach will enable Labour Relations Operations to monitor the length of time a specific grievance remains in the system. The above method will further assist Labour Relations Operations with the identification of any issues that may exist with the current method of processing grievances and whether revisions, to the process, are required.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations will continue to develop and implement action plans to address matters that are grieved with a focus on the current UCCO-SACC-CSN reduction initiative.

Director, Labour Relations Operations will continue to provide reports to the Director General, Labour Relations, Compensation, and Wellness Branch. Reports will also be provided to the NLMCC and NHRMC.

This approach will continue to provide a proactive and coordinated planning process.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31


Recommendation: Recommendation 220
The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resources Management, should develop and distribute corporate guidance and procedural documents, such as updated roles and responsibilities, a process flow chart, guidelines that include a triaging process based on risks, file checklists and a quality assurance practice, to support the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.
Management Response / Position: __x__ Accepted ___ Accepted in Part ___ Rejected
Action(s) Deliverable(s) Approach Accountability Timeline for Implementation

What action(s) has / will be taken to address this recommendation?

Expected deliverable(s) / indicator(s) to demonstrate the completion of the action(s)

How does this approach address the recommendation?

Who is responsible for implementing this action(s)?

When will action(s) be completed to fully address the recommendation?

Labour Relations Operations will provide direction to all Regions in relation to grievance files and the expected content of same.

Written direction to all Regions. The written direction will also be posted on the CSC intranet.

This approach will confirm that corporate guidance is provided in relation to the content of grievance files. This approach will also ensure that the content of all grievance files is consistent across all Regions.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations will develop a file checklist, pertaining to various types of grievances, for distribution to all Regions.

File checklist.

This approach will address the requirement for a standardized 'file checklist' and will ensure that the content of grievance files is consistent across all Regions. This approach will further ensure that all files have a 'common look and feel'.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations will perform an audit exercise, of a sample of grievance files from each Region and from National Headquarters (NHQ), wherein the content of the files will be assessed for completeness. In addition, the timeliness of the first and second level responses will be reviewed. All Regions will be informed of this exercise and the results of the exercise will be reported to the Regional Deputy Commissioner (RDC) of each Region.

Annual report to the Director General, Labour Relations, Compensation, and Wellness Branch, NLMCC, and NHRMC.

This approach will ensure that there is a quality assurance practice in place to support the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Module 8 of Labour Relations for Managers provides procedural guidelines, pertaining to the grievance procedure and grievance responses. This document further provides information relating to the roles and responsibilities of parties involved in the grievance process. A copy of Labour Relations for Managers is provided to all managers during the mandatory training session. Labour Relations Operations will further distribute Labour Relations for Managers to labour relations personnel in all Regions and will post a copy of the materials on the CSC intranet site.

Distribution and posting of Labour Relations for Managers on the CSC intranet.

This approach will ensure that corporate guidance and procedural documents are distributed to all parties involved in the processing of staff grievances. This approach will further support the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations will finalize and distribute the Grievance Process Flow Chart located at Annex E of this document to the CSC labour relations community.

Final version of Grievance Process Flowchart and record of distribution. The Process Flow Chart will also be posted on the CSC intranet.

This approach will ensure that a Grievance Process Flow Chart is distributed to all parties involved in the processing of staff grievances. This approach will further ensure the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations has developed a list of priorities in relation to grievances. The list has been submitted to senior management for approval.

Report

This approach will assist with the consistent and efficient processing of staff grievances.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

Labour Relations Operations will review and update the document entitled Roles and Responsibilities Correctional Service Canada Labour Relations (June 2007).

The updated document will be posted on the intranet.

This approach will ensure that the roles and responsibilities, of parties involved with the processing of staff grievances, is clear, updated, and in accordance with the CSC Delegation of Authorities Instrument.

Director, Labour Relations Operations

2013-03-31

i Amendment made on June 10, 2013 to reflect proper assurance level.

1 Public Service Labour Relations Act, S.C. 2003, c. 22

2 Public Service Modernization Act, S.C. 2003,c.22

3 An ICMS "comprises a set of policies, procedures and structures that an organization integrates into its infrastructure to support a culture of effective conflict management and resolution using a collaborative problem-solving approach. It encompasses training and informal processes, and includes the necessary linkages to the formal processes, as well as a full integration into all aspects of people management", A guide to the key elements of an ICMS in the core public administration, TBS.

4 PSLRA (s. 207)

5 PSLRA (s. 8)

6 Financial Administration Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.F-11

8 Global Agreement

9 USGE website - Overview

10 TB - Guidelines on the Grievance Procedure (Archived Draft), p.1

11 PSLRA (2003), Section 208

13 Infonet – December 2007 – Changes to CSC's grievance process.

14 Management Delegation Levels at CSC are as follows: 1 = Commissioner; 2= Senior Deputy Commissioner; Regional Deputy Commissioners; Deputy Commissioner for Women; Assistant Commissioners; Associate Assistant Commissioners; Director and General Counsel Legal Services; Chief Executive Officer, CORCAN; Chief Audit Executive; Executive Director, Executive Secretariat; 3 = Assistant Deputy Commissioners, Institutional Operations; Director General, Information Management Services; Director General, Learning and Development; Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services.

15 Recommendation requires management's attention, oversight and monitoring.

16 Deadlines are calculated using working days (Monday to Friday), excluding weekends and statutory holidays.

17 PSAC CA section 18.17, CX CA section 20.11.

18 Recommendation requires management's attention, oversight and monitoring.

19 Recommendation requires management's attention, oversight and monitoring.

20 Recommendation requires management's attention, oversight and monitoring.