The public service labour relations board

AuthorChristopher Rootham
 
e Public Servic e Labour Relations Board (the Boa rd) is the successor to the
Public Service St a Relations Board. Its pri mary objective s are to provide ad-
judication service s, mediation services, and compensat ion analysis and research
services under t he PSLRA. e adjudication ser vices can be d ivided into three
areas: industria l disputes (governed by Part I of t he PSLRA), grie vances (gov-
erned by Par t II of the PSLR A), and occupational health and safety complaints
(governed by Part III of the PSLRA, which incorpor ates Part II of the Canada
Labour Code).
e Board also admi nisters the Parliamentary Employment and Sta Rel a-
tions Act. e Board, under a n agreement with the Yukon government, admin-
isters the collective ba rgaining and g rievance adjudication systems u nder the
Yuk on Education Labour Relations Act a nd the Yukon Public Service Labour
Relations Act. When performi ng these funct ions funded by the Yukon govern-
ment, the Board acts respe ctively as the Yukon Teachers Labour Relations Board
and the Yukon Public Serv ice Labour Relations Board.
Public Serv ice Labour Relations Act , S.C. , c. , s.  [PSLRA], s. .
Canada Labour Code, R.S.C. , c. L-.
PSLRA, above note , s.  .
R.S.C.  (d Supp.), c. .
R.S.Y.,c..R.S.Y. , c. .
98           
e Board is comprised of a chair person, up to three vice- chairpersons, a nd as
many other members as the Governor in C ouncil may appoint. ere are no
particula r criteria for being a chair or v ice-chair of the Boards , aside from be-
ing Canadia n citizens , not holding other employ ment in the public ser vice or
carry ing on any activit y inconsistent with being a member of t he Board, and
having “knowledge of or experience in” labour relations. is requirement that
members of the Board have knowledge or experience i s a partial sh ield against
judicial review: by de signating the Boa rd as an expert t ribunal, Parl iament has
made it more lik ely that the Boa rd’s deci sions wi ll onl y be revi ewed on t he patent
unreasonableness sta ndard instead of the more intrusive correct ness standard.
Members, however, are appointed from a list prepared by the cha ir aer con-
sultation with t he Treasury Board a nd the separate employers on one hand, and
the bargaini ng agents on the other. e list is comprised of all of the people rec-
ommended by employers, bargaining agents , and anybody the chai r decides to
include as well. Members are t hen appointed so that, to the ex tent possible, an
equal number are appointed f rom among the employers’ recommendations and
the bargaining a gents’ recommendations.
In this way, the Board is — in some respects — a tripartite Board. However,
this does not hold t rue in any particu lar hearing. As d iscussed below, most hear-
ings are conducted before a single member. When hear ings are conducted before
three members, there i s no obligation on the part of t he chair to appoint one
member from each of the employers’ and bargai ning agents’ list. Further, the
PSLRA specically states that the Board is not a representative Board. Members
recommended by employers or bargaining agents do not represent either the em-
ployer or employees, and must act impart ially.
Applications under Pa rt I of the PSLR A — those concerni ng industrial re -
lations disputes between t he employer and bargaining agents — may be hea rd
before a panel of three or more members. However, the chair may decide to have
these applications hea rd by a single member, and almos t all Board hea rings are
PSLRA, above note , s.  . At the time of publication, t he Board had two vice-ch airper-
Ibid., s. ().
 e Supreme Court of Canad a ine Supreme Court of Ca nada in Dr. Q. v. College of Physicians and Sur geons of British
Columbia, []  S.C.R.  at para .  stated: “a statute may ca ll for decision-makers
to have expert qua lications, to have accu mulated experience in a pa rticular are a, or to
play a particu lar role in policy development ” and consequently warra nt more deference
on judicial rev iew.
 PSLRA, above note , s. ().
 Ibid., s. ().
 Ibid., s. .
 Ibid., s. ().

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