Guidelines for Two-Tier Bargaining

Permits the parties to use flexible approaches in negotiating collective agreements. The adoption of such approaches is voluntary and, thus, subject to the agreement of the employer and the bargaining agent.
Date modified: 2005-04-01

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1. Introduction

The new Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA) recognises the concept of two-tier bargaining. The concept permits the parties to utilise flexible approaches in negotiating collective agreements. The adoption of such approaches is voluntary and, thus, subject to the agreement of the Employer and the bargaining agent.

2. Legislative base

The Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA, Section 110; as promulgated by the Public Service Modernization Act contains a new provision that recognises the practice of two-tier bargaining. The parties to collective agreements have always had the ability to utilise this approach. The new provision serves to highlight the desirability of employing it in the bargaining process in order to focus on concerns specific to departments.

3. Application

These guidelines apply to departments and agencies listed under Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act and for which Treasury Board is identified as the Employer.

4. Terminology

The definitions of various terms (e.g., bargaining agent, bargaining unit, board (PSLRB), employee, employer) used throughout these guidelines are found in the PSLRA.

5. What is two-tier bargaining

The Employer and the bargaining agent negotiate the collective agreement and are the parties to the agreement. Two-tier bargaining is a mechanism that permits the Employer and the bargaining agent to focus on and tailor terms and conditions of the agreement to specific situations in a given department or departments. The Employer, as part of this process, may delegate to a department the authority to conduct the negotiations, if the bargaining agent has agreed to negotiate on that basis. In any case, the parties to the agreement remain as noted above.

5.1 Ground rules for embarking on a two-tier bargaining process

In that part of the Public Service for which Treasury Board is the Employer, the parties to any collective agreement are the Treasury Board and the bargaining agent representing the particular bargaining unit to which the agreement applies. (see the list of current bargaining agents in Annex A).

If the Employer and the bargaining agent agree to proceed in this fashion with respect to one or more issues or situations in relation to the negotiation a of a collective agreement, the two parties, prior to entering into detailed discussions on the issues, will agree upon a protocol which will govern how the two-tier process is to work.

The protocol will specify who will represent the parties in that particular circumstance and define their respective roles, responsibilities and authorities. Protocols may vary depending on the issues and the situations for which a two-tier process is being proposed.

6. References

7. Enquiries

Enquiries should be directed to departmental human resources officers who, in turn, may direct enquiries to the:

Collective Bargaining Group
Labour Relations Sector
Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat


Annex A - List of Bargaining Agents

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

  • Program and Administrative Services (AS, CM, CR, DA, IS, OE, PM, ST, WP)
  • Operational Services (FR, GLT, GS, HP, HS, LI, SC, PR-Sup)
  • Technical Services (DD, EG, GT, PI, PY, TI)
  • Education and Library Science (ED, LS, EU)

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

  • Research (DS, HR, MA, SE)
  • Applied Science and Engineering (AC, AG, AR, BI, CH, EN, FO, MT, PC, SG-SRE, SG-PAT)
  • Health Services (DE, MD, PH, HE/ND, NU, OP, PS, SW, VM)
  • Computer Systems (CS)
  • Law (LA)
  • Audit, Commerce and Purchasing (PG, CO, AU)

Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE)

  • Translation (TR)
  • Economic and Social Science Services (ES, SI)

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

  • Electronics (EL)

Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO)

  • Financial Management (FI)

Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA)

  • Air Traffic Control (AI)

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW)

  • Radio Operations (RO)

Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO)

  • Foreign Service (FS)

Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG)

  • Ship Officers (SO)

Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council – East (FGDTLC-E)

  • Ship Repair – East (SR-E)

Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council – West (FGDTLC-W)

  • Ship Repair – All Employees West Coast (SR-W)

Canadian Federal Pilots Association (CFPA)

  • Aircraft Operations (AO)

Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association (CMCFA)

  • University Teaching (UT)

Graphic Communications International Union – local 588M (GCIU)

  • Non-supervisory Printing Services (PR-NS)

Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association (FGDCA)

  • Ship Repair Chargehands – East Coast (SRC)

Union of Canadian Correctional Officers – Syndicat des agents correctionnels du Canada (UCCO-SACC)

  • Correctional Services (CX)
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