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Dispute Resolution: OPS

AMAPCEO's various collective agreements all contain a process for resolving workplace issues, complaints and formal disputes in the workplace. These dispute resolution processes have all been designed to encourage informal resolutions of complaints, both before the complaint is formally disputed and during the formal dispute resolution process itself.  

The OPS Collective Agreement has a three stage dispute resolution process which includes: the Informal Resolution Stage; the Formal Resolution Stage: and Referral to Arbitration.

Informal Stage

Upon becoming aware of a workplace issue or complaint which could give rise to a dispute, AMAPCEO-represented OPS employees are encouraged to work with their local manager and other Employer representatives to resolve their issue or complaint at a local level.  

Throughout the Informal Resolution Stage, employees have the right to representation by an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative, including at informal meetings with their manager.

Workplace Representatives have been trained to assist AMAPCEO members in addressing and resolving workplace issues before they become Formal Disputes. They are members’ first points of contact in seeking information and advice, as well as dealing with violations of Collective Agreement rights. Workplace Representatives help members address their workplace issues with management at the Informal Resolution Stage and advocate on their behalf.

The member should contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative as quickly as possible after the event giving rise to the workplace issue. This is important because the Collective Agreement allows AMAPCEO only 30 working days after the event in question to evaluate the issue at hand and file a Formal Dispute, where applicable. Unless an extension to that deadline is mutually agreed upon by the OPS and the member, the member and Workplace Representative have less than 30 working days to attempt an informal resolution.

After securing a Workplace Representative the employee can log into the AMAPCEO website and click the link for RADAR. RADAR is a secure web-based tool that helps AMAPCEO members and Workplace Representatives confidentially record, track, and store information related to workplace issues, complaints, and disputes. For more information about RADAR please see the RADAR fact sheet (link).

Though the Informal Resolution Stage is not mandatory, it is encouraged. Engaging with a local manager at this step can help foster a more harmonious and productive working environment. Informal resolution of workplace disputes can be pursued even after the Formal Resolution Stage has been triggered.  

Formal Stage

If a member’s workplace complaint is not resolved at the Informal Resolution Stage OR if one of the parties declines participating in the informal step, AMAPCEO may file a Formal Dispute on behalf of that member within 30 working days. In other words, for the complaint to continue to the Formal Resolution Stage of the dispute resolution process, AMAPCEO must agree to “carry” the dispute forward.  

Upon being asked to consider filing a Formal Dispute on a member’s behalf AMAPCEO will review the details of the workplace issue or complaint that is brought to its attention through RADAR before making a decision as to whether the complaint should be “carried” to the Formal Resolution Stage.    

Should AMAPCEO decide to carry a complaint forward to the Formal Resolution Stage, a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO), who is an AMAPCEO staff member, will represent the complainant in the Formal Resolution Stage meeting with the Employer.

The Collective Agreement requires the Employer to submit a written decision at the Formal Resolution Stage within 7 days of the formal dispute meeting.

Arbitration

If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute at the Formal Resolution Stage, the Association, on behalf of the complainant, may decide to carry the dispute forward to the Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) for arbitration or mediation.

Advancing or Carrying an OPS Member’s Complaint to the Formal Resolution Stage

Note: If a complaint is close to the 30-working day filing deadline by the time their workplace issue or dispute first comes to the attention of a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO), then AMAPCEO will file a Formal Dispute on their behalf without first deciding on dispute carriage merely to preserve the dispute filing timelines. Once the dispute has been filed, however, AMAPCEO will determine whether the dispute should continue or be withdrawn through the process as described below.

AMAPCEO-represented OPS employees may raise a complaint at the Informal Resolution Stage of the process, however, for the complaint to continue to subsequent stages, AMAPCEO must agree to advance or “carry” the dispute forward through those stages.

In deciding whether to carry a dispute to the Formal Resolution Stage, the DROwill review all information received from a Workplace Representative about the complaint and will consult with the complainant and the Workplace Representative as necessary. After careful review, the DRO will prepare a written dispute “carriage” recommendation for the Director of Labour Relations Services, or their designee, to review.

The Director will either agree or disagree with the DRO’s recommendation. Should the Director agree that the dispute should be carried forward to the Formal Resolution Stage, the DRO will be responsible for representing the complainant at this stage.

Should the Director decide that the dispute should not proceed to the Formal Resolution Stage, the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) will automatically review this decision. The DRO will then alert the complainant of the decision not to carry the dispute and of the WRC review process. The DRO will also indicate to the complainant that they will have the ability to send in a written rationale or arguments as to why the WRC should overturn the decision not to carry the dispute forward.   

Summary of Process

Formal Dispute Approved for AMAPCEO Carriage

  • DRO notifies complainant and files formal dispute with the Employer

AMAPCEO Denies Carrying Dispute Forward - Automatic Review to Workplace Relations Committee (WRC)

  • DRO notifies complainant of:
    • The decision to deny;
    • The automatic review of the decision by the WRC; and
    • The complainant’s right to send in a written rationale or written arguments for the WRC to review.

As part of the appeals process, the WRC will meet to review the denial decision and the complainant’s written material, before making a final determination. This will result in one of the following:

WRC Overturns Denial

  • The DRO informs the complainant, and the  Workplace Representative who has assisted the complainant of the WRC’s decision
  • The DRO files the formal dispute with the Employer

WRC Upholds Denial

  • No right for the complainant to appeal the WRC’s denial
  • The dispute does not proceed, the DRO reports the decision to the complainant and to the  Workplace Representative who has assisted the complainant

Carrying a Dispute Forward to Arbitration

After receiving the Formal Resolution Stage denial from the Employer, the Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) will make a written recommendation to the AMAPCEO Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) on whether the Association should or should not continue to carry a dispute forward to mediation or arbitration.

Note: a DRO may recommend that the dispute proceed to mediation only, and that a decision about arbitration be determined at a later date should mediation not lead to a settlement of the dispute.  

The WRC will meet to review the DRO’s recommendation and decide whether the dispute is carried forward, or advanced, to either for mediation or arbitration.  

Should the WRC decide not to advance a dispute to mediation or arbitration, the complainant will have the right to appeal this decision to AMAPCEO's Executive Committee.

Summary of Process

Arbitration or Mediation Approved by the WRC

  • DRO notifies the complainant and files the dispute to mediation or arbitration.  

Mediation or Arbitration Denied by the WRC

  • The DRO notifies the complainant in writing of:  
    • The decision to deny carriage of the dispute to mediation or arbitration;
    • The complainant's right to appeal this decision to the AMAPCEO Executive Committee;
    • The complainant’s obligation to indicate their intention to appeal the decision in writing within 5 business days of the denial letter; and
    • The option to submit documentation, and/or appear before the Executive Committee in-person (at the complainant's expense) or by teleconference.


Should the complainant appeal the WRC's decision, the Executive Committee will hear the complainant’s appeal, as well as review the WRC's original decision not to carry the dispute forward to mediation or arbitration.

If the Executive Committee upholds the WRC's decision to withdraw the dispute, there is no further right of appeal of this decision.

Filing Deadlines

It is the employee's responsibility to initiate a dispute within the allotted time frames. We encourage you to involve your local Workplace Representative.

Day 1

The Event that has lead to the alleged breach of the Collective Agreement and /or an Employer policy, directive or guideline, and/or legislation or a regulation.

TIP: In some circumstances, the specific “event” that triggers the dispute may not be clear since the dispute may be caused by an accumulation of smaller events. It is then necessary to determine what specific point in a progression of events will be identified as the dispute.

Working Day 1-30

The employee attempts to resolve the issue at the Informal Resolution Stage, with or without the assistance of AMAPCEO representation

TIP: OPS employees have the right to be represented at informal complaint meetings by a Workplace Representative. Workplace Representatives can provide valuable advice and guidance at this stage.

Working Day 30

AMAPCEO’s deadline to submit the formal stage dispute – i.e. to take “carriage” of the dispute on behalf of the complainant

TIP: Employees will need to complete the Formal Dispute Request Form with their Workplace Representative, and submit the form to the AMAPCEO office well before the end of the 30-working day dispute filing deadline.

Working Day 45

Employer’s deadline to meet the complainant and AMAPCEO — within 15 working days of the AMAPCEO filing the dispute at the Formal Resolution Stage.

Working Day 52

Employer’s deadline to provide a response to the formal dispute - - within 7 working days of the formal dispute meeting.

Working Day 67

AMAPCEO’s deadline to file to the Grievance Settlement Board for Arbitration or Mediation - - within 15 working days of receiving the Employer’s decision at the Formal Resolution Stage.

N.B.: These timelines are subject to mutual agreements between the parties under article 15.5.5.

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