The Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (PSLREB) is responsible for administering the collective bargaining process in the federal public service and in Parliament.
Section 103 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act identifies the process for the resolution of disputes arising from collective bargaining to be conciliation. Conciliation is a non-binding process that can lead to employees having the right to strike under certain prescribed conditions, and is therefore often referred to as the "conciliation/strike route."
Section 104 identifies two situations under which arbitration may be substituted. Section 104(1) allows the employer and the bargaining agent, by agreement in writing, to choose arbitration as the process for the resolution of the dispute. It is to be noted that in the case of a separate agency, any such agreement requires the approval of the President of the Treasury Board.
Section 104(2) allows for arbitration to be substituted as the dispute resolution process if, on the day on which notice to bargain collectively may be given, 80% or more of the positions in the bargaining unit have been designated under section 120, in whole or in part, as providing an essential service.
Arbitration culminates in an arbitral award (a decision) that is legally binding on both parties and precludes subsequent strike action.
Regardless of the method by which a collective bargaining dispute will eventually be dealt with, the employer or the bargaining agent may request third-party assistance from the PSLREB to help their negotiations move forward. Such requests may be made under the provisions of section 108 of the Act.
Under the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, binding arbitration is the only method available to parliamentary employees for resolving collective bargaining disputes.
The Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) provide the focal point for the administrative services that facilitate the resolution of bargaining disputes. The DRS receive and process most of the various forms and applications required in the establishment of arbitration boards and public interest commissions.
See the fact sheet on collective bargaining for more detailed information.