Canada Employment and Immigration Union -

National Joint Council grievance procedure

The National Joint Council (NJC) grievance procedure is less commonly used than the standard grievance procedure as it deals only with agreements reached through the Council. A discussion of these agreements is available elsewhere on this website for your reference. Stewards handling grievances of this type may wish to contact their union staff representative for further support.

The NJC grievance procedure is found in section 15 of the National Joint Council By-Laws and is available here. What follows is a brief discussion of issues that typically arise for stewards in the course of their work. However, in all cases the grievance procedure itself should be consulted as the definitive source for guidance.

Submitting the grievance

The grievance is to be submitted to the grievor’s supervisor or officer-in-charge and the employer is responsible for providing a copy of the grievance stating the date on which it was received. There is no requirement to submit a grievance on the form provided by the employer. The grievor must have the approval of, and be represented by, the union where the directive involved is part of the employee’s collective agreement.

Right to representation and consultation

The union has the right to consult with the employer with respect to the grievance at the first two levels of the procedure and to make representations to the NJC committee that considers the case at the final level.

Time limits

Grievances must be filed within 25 days of being informed, or learning of, the action or circumstances that gave rise to the grievance. The 25 day time limit excludes Saturdays, Sundays and designated paid holidays. Note that all time frames used in the procedure exclude these days.

The employer is required to reply within 10 days of the grievance being presented at the first level. At the second level, the employer must reply within 15 days. Where the employer does not reply within these time limits, or the reply is not satisfactory to the grievor, the case must be transmitted to the next level within 10 days.

The time limits in the procedure can be extended by mutual agreement between the employer and the grievor. This type of agreement should always be made in writing. A statement, signed and dated by the employer representative and the grievor is all that is needed. It can read simply “It is mutually agreed between the employer and ___(grievor)___ that the date for reply to grievance No. _______ is extended to ___(date)___.”

Levels in the procedure

With the exception of cases that are successfully resolved, most grievances progress through three levels. The first level is at the local level and the second at the national. The final is at what is known as the “executive committee” level and is heard in Ottawa.

Where the employer and the grievor mutually agree, one or more levels in the procedure can be skipped. This does not apply to the final level, however. Agreements of this sort should always be in writing and can simply read: “It is mutually agreed between the employer and ___(grievor)___ that with respect to grievance No. _______, level(s) ______ is waived and the case will proceed directly to level ______.” Both the employer representative and the grievor should sign the agreement.

More information

The NJC website provides information about grievances, including a searchable index of decisions, which will be of interest to stewards. In addition, a set of NJC Bulletins summarizing the work of its various committees is available on line.

Special note: Appeal process for Public Service Health Care Plan

The NJC grievance procedure does not apply to disputes over decisions made by the Plan administrator. Instead, an appeal can be made to the Trustees of the Plan. The Trustees have the discretion to reach a decision that embodies due consideration for individual circumstances and Plan provisions. Members should endeavour to exhaust all avenues of review with the Administrator before submitting an appeal to the Trustees. An appeal must be submitted within one year of the Administrator’s mailing of an Explanation of Benefits regarding the claim. Appeals should be submitted in writing to the Trustees at the following address:

P.O. Box 1328, Station “B”
Ottawa, ON K2P 0P2

What to send to the CEIU office

As the grievance proceeds through the levels of the procedure, stewards should forward the following information to the union staff representative responsible for their local:

When the grievance moves from the first to the second level:

  • A copy of the grievance presentation (the grievance form or other document stating the grievance).
  • A copy of the reply from the employer at the first level.
  • A copy of the grievance transmittal authorizing the case to proceed to the second level (the grievance transmittal form or other document).
  • A statement outlining the facts of the grievance as well as any supporting documents.
  • A summary of the arguments used in support of the case at the first level hearing of the grievance.

When the grievance moves from the second to the third (final) level:

  • A copy of the reply from the employer at the second level.
  • A copy of the grievance transmittal authorizing the case to proceed to the third level (the grievance transmittal form or other document).

Without this information, the case cannot proceed. If there is a delay in providing it, the outcome of the grievance will be similarly delayed. The CEIU recognizes that stewards work as volunteers who must manage work and personal responsibilities in addition to their union role, and all efforts to provide necessary information quickly are very much appreciated.

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