Canada Employment and Immigration Union - https://ceiu-seic.ca/en/classification/ontario-vocational-rehabilitation-specialists-win-reclassification-battle/
August 17, 2010

Ontario Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists win reclassification battle

After working for years at the PM-03 level while their colleagues across the country were PM-04’s, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRS) in Ontario have finally been upgraded.

The VRS position was established in 1998, and when Ontario staff became aware of the discrepancy between their classification and that of employees elsewhere, they attempted to resolve the matter informally with management. This effort ended in failure and the affected members turned to the union, filing grievances in 2007 that led to the classification upgrade.

“We knew from the start that management’s position would not hold up,” said CEIU National Vice-President Jan Liberty, “the jobs in Ontario were the same as those across the country and our members deserved to get the same pay rate.”

Ontario VRS staff are located at Income Security Program (ISP) offices in Chatham, Scarborough and Timmins, and they carefully coordinated work on their grievances. “We had a good group working together on this,” said Liberty, “and the effort certainly paid off.”

The retroactive date of the upgrade remains in dispute, however, with the employer holding to February 22, 2007. The union is arguing that consideration should be given to the long period during which staff attempted to resolve the matter informally before turning to grievance action in 2007. For members facing classification issues, the dispute over retroactivity in this case illustrates the value in filing a grievance as early as possible.

“A small number of members were affected by this classification upgrade,” according to National President Jeannette Meunier-McKay, “but whether it’s one member or a thousand, getting the pay and respect you deserve is a key objective for us. I congratulate our Vocational Rehab Specialists on their victory and thank those who organized and represented these members through the grievance process.”

 

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