Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada Wins Landmark Policy Grievance Case Against Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

 

Ottawa, July 6, 2024 – The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) is proud to announce a sweeping victory in a precedent-setting policy grievance case against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board has ruled in favour of PIPSC, affirming the rights of members to file classification grievances for their former positions.

The decision, issued on May 23, 2024, by Adjudicator Christopher Rootham, reinforces the rights of former incumbents to have meaningful access to the classification grievance process.  CFIA's current classification policy cancels classification grievances when the related job description is changed; however, unlike at the Treasury Board, the CFIA would not allow affected employees to regrieve if they had retired, quit, or changed jobs.  In a word, their policy granted them the power to wait out grievors in order to strip them of any recourse.  Adjudicator Rootham found this to be an unreasonable exercise of management rights and in violation of members' rights under the collective agreement and law.

While this decision does not automatically strike down CFIA's classification policy, we do expect that the Agency will adjust its policy to avoid future complaints in similar circumstances.  This decision also establishes compelling arguments against such practices elsewhere in the public service.

PIPSC has been the leader in advancing the rights of public service workers when it comes to classification.  While some public service employers have tried to exploit rules and procedures to pit former incumbents against current incumbents or one group of workers against others, PIPSC has stood up to defend equal classification and pay for everyone who did the job.

CFIA Group president Ayman Soryal applauded the decision: “I thank all of our PIPSC members for their patience as it took so long to reach the decision. At this point, the Agency needs to play by the rule  - the courts have agreed."

The Agency is required to contact affected grievors in certain VM (Veterinarian) job descriptions currently subject to a classification grievance.  PIPSC staff are in communication with agency staff to develop an implementation strategy.

The text of the decision will be published by the Board in the coming weeks.

Questions may be directed to Compensation@pipsc.ca.