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 Ontario Arts Council Collective Agreement has a four stage dispute resolution process:
Upon becoming aware of a workplace issue or complaint which could give rise to a dispute, AMAPCEO-represented employees have the option of trying to work with their local manager and other Employer representatives to resolve the issue or complaint at a local level, before the dispute becomes formal.
Employees may seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative at any point in the Informal Stage, including representation at informal meetings with their manager.
Though this step is not mandatory, engaging with a local manager at the Informal Stage can help foster a more harmonious and productive working environment. Informal resolution of workplace disputes can be pursued even after Stage One has been triggered.
If an employee’s workplace complaint is not resolved at the informal stage OR if the employee declines going through this informal step, the employee may submit a Formal Stage One dispute with their manager or director within 15 working days of becoming aware of the conditions giving rise to the complaint.
To file a Stage One dispute, the employee must request a Stage One Dispute Form from an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative. The manager must provide the employee and the employee’s Workplace Representative their decision in writing within 15 working days of receiving the dispute form.
If an employee’s workplace complaint is not resolved at Stage One and the employee wishes to escalate their dispute, the Collective Agreement permits AMAPCEO to file a formal dispute on behalf of that employee within 15 working days receiving the manager’s decision. In other words, for the complaint to continue to Stage Two of the dispute resolution process, AMAPCEO must agree to “carry” the dispute forward.
To determine whether AMAPCEO will carry the formal dispute to Stage Two, AMAPCEO will complete the AMAPCEO Internal Stage Two Dispute Carriage Determination Process (see Stage 2). If AMAPCEO agrees to carry the dispute to Stage Two, it will file the formal dispute within the 15 working day timeline.
Should AMAPCEO carry a dispute forward to Stage Two, the Collective Agreement requires the Employer to meet with the employee at a Stage Two meeting within 15 working days of submission of the Stage Two dispute. The Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO), who is an AMAPCEO staff member, will represent the complainant in the Stage Two meeting with the Employer.
The Collective Agreement requires the Employer to submit a written decision within 15 working days of the Stage Two meeting.
If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute at Stage Two, the Association on behalf of the complainant may decide to carry the dispute forward for arbitration or mediation.
Carrying an OAC Employee’s Complaint to Stage Two: Dispute Carriage Process
A significant element of any dispute resolution process is that AMAPCEO assumes “carriage rights” at a specific stage in the process. Carriage is the ability to advance a dispute forward at the various stages of the dispute resolution process.
AMAPCEO-represented employees of the OAC bargaining unit may raise a complaint at the Informal Stage and file a Formal Stage One dispute however, for the complaint to continue to the subsequent stages, AMAPCEO must agree to “carry” the dispute forward to Stage Two and Arbitration.
To carry a dispute to Stage Two, the AMAPCEO Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO), a staff member at the AMAPCEO office, will review the complainant’s Stage One dispute and consult with the complainant and the complainant’s chosen Workplace Representative as necessary. After careful review, the DRO will prepare a written dispute recommendation for AMAPCEO’s Director of Dispute Resolution.
If the Director recommends that the dispute should proceed to Stage Two, the DRO will notify the complainant and file the Stage Two dispute with the Employer. The DRO will also report to the OAC Labour Relations Committee Co-Chair that the dispute is proceeding to Stage Two.
If the Director decides that the dispute should not proceed to Stage Two; the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) will automatically review this decision. The DRO will then alert the complainant of the denial and the WRC review process. The DRO will also inform the complainant that they can 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
Deny - Automatic Review to Workplace Relations Committee (WRC)
DRO notifies complainant of:
Dispute Resolution Director’s decision to deny proceeding to Stage Two;
Automatic review of the denial by the WRC; and
Complainant’s right to send in additional material for WRC review
The WRC meets to review the denial, with one of two results:.
WRC Overturns Denial
If the WRC overturns the denial, the DRO will:
Inform the Complainant of the WRC’s decision; and
File the Stage Two dispute with the Employer.
WRC Upholds Denial
WRC’s decision is final (no right of appeal or review);
The dispute does not proceed; and,
DRO reports the decision to the complainant and to the Labour Relations Committee Co-Chair.
After receiving the Stage Two 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 carry the 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.
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.
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 Stage, with or without the assistance of AMAPCEO representation.
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 15: Employee’s deadline to submit the Formal Stage One dispute
Employees will need to complete the Stage One Dispute Form with their Workplace Representative, and email or fax the form to their manager with a copy to the employee’s AMAPCEO Workplace Advisor.
Working Day 30: Employer’s deadline to provide a written decision on the Stage One dispute -- within 15 working days of receiving the Stage One dispute.
Working Day 45: AMAPCEO’s deadline to submit the Formal Stage Two dispute -- i.e. to take “carriage” of the dispute on behalf of the complainant -- within 15 working days of receiving the Employer’s denial of the Stage One dispute.
Working Day 60: Employer’s deadline to meet with the employee and AMAPCEO – within 15 working days of receiving the Stage Two dispute.
Working Day 75: Employer’s deadline to provide a written decision on the Stage Two dispute – within 15 working days of the Stage Two meeting.
Working Day 90: AMAPCEO’s deadline to file for Arbitration or Mediation - - within 15 working days of receiving the Employer’s decision at Stage Two.