Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act

In 1986, the Parliament of Canada passed the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA). Part I (Staff Relations) of PESRA gives employees of the Parliamentary institutions the right to form a union in order to negotiate collectively the conditions of their employment. Part I also gives these employees the right to lodge grievances concerning these conditions and, in certain cases, to refer these grievances to adjudication before a neutral third party. Part I is administered and applied by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB).

Under PESRA, the FPSLREB hears various matters:

  • applications by employee organizations for certification to become the bargaining agent representing employees;
  • complaints of unfair labour practices;
  • designation of persons employed in managerial and confidential capacities; and
  • adjudication of disputes.

The FPSLREB also adjudicates grievances concerning the interpretation and application of provisions of collective agreements, significant disciplinary action, and all forms of termination of employment except rejection on probation during initial appointments. Grievances concerning demotion, appointment, and classification may also be referred to adjudication but are determined, not by a FPSLREB Member, but by an external adjudicator chosen by the parties, which are equally responsible for the adjudicator's compensation and expenses.

Through its dispute resolution service, the FPSLREB also assists parties unable to resolve their disputes at the bargaining table. This assistance may lead to a resolution without the need for the dispute to be heard formally by the FPSLREB, or may limit the number of issues.

Unlike the FPSLRA, PESRA provides for only one means of resolving disputes if bargaining comes to a dead end: arbitration. In these situations, the FPSLREB acts as an arbitration board; after hearing the parties, it renders a decision on the issues. These decisions form part of the collective agreements and apply to the parties and to employees.