Myths about Bargaining: What is Negotiable and What is Not.

Following a survey conducted by the AJC between December 2013 and January 2014, members told us their top priorities in terms of bargaining with TB were:  compensation, job security and sick leave came.

We did however notice that there were some misconceptions as to what is subject to collective bargaining and what is not.  To this end, please refer to the following FAQs to find out what can and cannot be bargained.

Indeterminate Status

Did you know that...

...the conversion from term to indeterminate employee cannot be bargained?  Indeed, pursuant to section 59(1) of the  Public Service Employment Act, the conversion from term to indeterminate employee will take place “at the end of the cumulative period of employment specified by the employer in circumstances prescribed by the employer”,  which are outlined in section 7.2 of the Term Employment Policy.  

For more information on the matter, please refer to the AJC FAQs for Term Employees.   If after consulting our FAQs, you still have questions, do not hesitate to send your inquiry to .


Did you know that...

...the Public Service Pension Superannuation Act governs all aspects of the public service pension plan?  Indeed, everything including eligibility, contribution rates and even death benefits are legislated and thus are not subject to collective bargaining.  The sole power to amend or modify your pension plan rests with the government.  All bargaining agents can really do is to lobby on your behalf.

Recently, a Quebec Superior Court ruling  has opened the door to expanding the scope of collective bargaining.  Section 113(b) of the FPSLRA was declared invalid as it relates specifically to preventing bargaining on matters that fall under the Public Service Superannuation Act (“PSSA”) and the Public Service Employment Act (“PSEA”).  While the decision has just opened the door to expanding the scope of collective bargaining, the declaration of invalidity has been suspended for one year.  We anticipate this means that new legislation may be in the works and so it is too early to tell whether the employer is contemplating bargaining agent consultations on this issue.   Stay tuned for potentially positive developments, however for the moment it is status quo.  We also note that even if the parties could negotiate matters that fall under the statutory purview of the PSSA and the PSEA, any agreed to changes would require legislative amendments, a matter that may not fall squarely within the AJC´s control.

Flexible work hours

Did you know that...

...the collective agreement recognizes the importance of a flexible working schedule allowing lawyers to balance personal and professional obligations? However, this flexibility must be reconciled with the employer´s legislated right to manage hours of work.  As a result, such flexibility is subject to operational requirements and managerial approval.   Lawyers may enter into alternate work or flexible work hour arrangements with the approval of their manager, who is expected to exercise their discretion in a non-arbitrary, discriminatory or bad faith manner.  That said, lawyers in question must work an average of 37.5 hours per week over a 4 week period.  What a lawyer can´t do,  is to take it upon himself or herself to set his or her own schedule without management approval

Secondments and Assignments/Mobility

Did you know that...

...secondments/assignments offer the opportunity of a temporary lateral movement within the core public administration.  This kind of mobility can provide a public service employee with training and career development opportunities in addition to promoting knowledge transfer between organizations.  Although generally encouraged by the employer, such resourcing options remain at the employer´s discretion as set out in sections 7 and 11 of the Financial Administration Act .  

Area of Selection

Did you know that...

...the power to determine the area of selection for an internal non-advertised appointment rests with the department under a delegated authority or where no such delegated authority has been granted, with the Public Service Commission (PSC) pursuant to section 34 of the Public Service Employment Act?

Generally it is the Departments, through delegated authority from the PSC, who establish the area of selection by geographic, organizational,  occupational criteria or by designated groups within the meaning of section 3 of the Employment Equity Act.  


Did you know that ...
Promotions are not subject to collective bargaining.  The Public Service Employment Act and the Financial Administration Act regulate the Employer´s right to manage its human resources through delegated authority.  Although the AJC actively advocates on behalf of its members and supports all career development programs that may be put in place by different Departments, it simply cannot direct the employer to offer or increase promotional opportunities through the bargaining process.      


Did you know that...

Classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining.

Are you regularly doing work above your current classification level and feel you should be reclassified to a higher level?

Since classification levels are not the subject of collective bargaining, there is very little the AJC can do to help you unless you submit an individual request to the AJC to support the filing of an individual job content grievance on your behalf.    For more information on job content, acting pay and job classification grievances, including the process to follow to request support, please refer to our online FAQ relating to job descriptions and classifications.

Health Care Benefits

Did you know that...

Health care benefits are negotiated at the National Joint Council level?  There is a cyclical review conducted every three to five years that allows bargaining agents to send their proposed changes to the health care plan.  The Public Service Health Care Plan Directive is currently under review.  

For more information on the co-development process, please consult the NJC website.