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Government of Canada and public service unions announce compensation for federal employees impacted

Canada's public servants deserve to be paid properly for their important work and the Government of Canada continues to take action on all fronts to resolve Phoenix pay issues.

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Publication date : 2019-05-03
PSAC rejects compensation offer for Phoenix pay fiasco, other groups accept
PSAC rejects compensation offer for Phoenix pay fiasco, other groups accept

The federal government says it has reached a tentative deal with some groups on compensation for workers affected by problems with the Phoenix pay system. But the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the majority of federal employees, has rejected the offer.

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Publication date : 2019-05-03
Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?
Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?

In R v. Jordan, the Supreme Court put a hard cap on the duration of criminal trials — sending a thrill of panic through the justice system in the process. The ruling is roughly two and a half years old now. Time for the training wheels to come off.Now, that backlog of pre-Jordan charges has been largely cleared — the transitional period is over. But Crown and defence lawyers alike report that trial times aren’t speeding up; statistics cited in a recent Law Times article show that in the Ontario Court of Justice, average times to disposition and the number of court appearances have not diminished since Jordan. If the SCC intended the ruling as a salutary shock to the system, it didn’t work.So what happens now?

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Publication date : 2018-12-18
RCMP’s forensic firearm testing backlog adding delays to justice system

The RCMP’s forensics labs are taking nearly four times longer to analyze firearms than they did just four years ago, adding delays to a criminal justice system under pressure to speed up after a recent Supreme Court decision.

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Publication date : 2018-12-16
Court delays persist, despite Jordan
Court delays persist, despite Jordan

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Jordanand the problems it tried to address are still top of mind in the criminal courts in Ontario nearly two-and-a-half years after it was released.

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Publication date : 2018-12-03
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement

The issue is the prorating of performance pay in relation to pre-promotion period for the year in which lawyers are promoted. If a lawyer was eligible for performance pay and was promoted during the year, the Employer, rather than pay out a prorated performance pay for the period pre-promotion, paid out nothing at all regardless of your performance rating for the year. The AJC originally filed a grievance in 2011 and in response to that grievance, TB had conceded in the context of the adjudication hearing that pre-promotion service should be recognized. Unfortunately, the adjudicator originally disregarded TB's concession in his decision of 2015, requiring the AJC to file an application for judicial review, which eventually resulted on December 22, 2016 in a remedy limited to the right to pre-promotion performance pay for the year 2010-2011. Thus, the AJC filed another policy grievance on July 27th 2016. The hearing was scheduled for October 2018. We are pleased to announce that we now have a signed Memorandum of Settlement on this matter with TB.  

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Publication date : 2018-10-30


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The SQ on the side of lawyers

01-03-2017

According to Mr Luc Bruno, it is only a matter of time before the Crown attorneys mimic the SQ polic and go to court to get arbitration instead of just recommendations. -PHOTO LIBRARY OF THE SUN


These union demands will multiply because of the jurisprudence created by the Supreme Court. To fully understand what is happening, especially in the case of lawyers, we must go back 20 years to a decision on the status of judges.

 

Step One: In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that it was inappropriate for judges to negotiate their salary directly with the state. As a result, independent committees have been given the responsibility of making decisions on their salaries and making recommendations. The government is not obliged to follow them, but it must justify its decision.

 

Step Two: Starting in the early 2000s, Crown Attorneys across the country argue that the nature of their work requires the same independence status and arbitration mechanism as judges. The Ontario government gives in first. In 2003, the Quebec government is still resisting. Instead of arbitration, it gives its Crown attorneys and lawyers the right to strike, even if they do not want it.

 

Third step: In 2011, Quebec Crown attorneys go on strike and boycott the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC). The pressures are enormous on the government. A special law puts an end to the strike, but the prosecutors obtain that their wage conditions are subject to a non-binding arbitration mechanism, as for the judges.

 

Step Four: Also on strike in 2011, lawyers have the same demand as prosecutors. But they settle with the government two months earlier than their colleagues in return for a letter of understanding to discuss their bargaining system. This discussion is not done.

 

Fifth step: In October 2016, the lawyers again strike and claim the same status as prosecutors, with one difference: they want binding arbitration, that is to say enforceable. Why this requirement? Because of a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that invalidates a Saskatchewan essential services law. This ruling states that the law "substantially impedes the right to a genuine process of collective bargaining". The Court states that the right to strike "enjoys constitutional protection because of its crucial function". Two judges dissenting: Richard Wagner and Marshall Tothstein. They argue that the Court should not interfere in the delicate balance of labor relations established by elected officials.

 

This judgment is major. Deprived of the right to strike, as are the SQ police officers, or recalled by a special law such as jurists, the case is the same: the unions argue that their constitutional rights are being violated. 

 

This, in their view, is the same kind of impediment to "a genuine process of collective bargaining" denounced by the Supreme Court in the case of Saskatchewan. This will be the basis of the legal battle that the state's lawyers now plan to take against the Quebec government.

 

Crown attorneys will follow

 

It's only a matter of time before Crown Attorneys imitate SQ police and go to court to get binding arbitration instead of simple recommendations, predicts lawyer Negotiator Luc Bruno . "Clearly, the path is drawn. They could easily, like the SQ police and other organizations such as peace officers, appeal to the Superior Court to invoke the unconstitutionality of their regime. "
Even the judges could theoretically bring such an appeal, according to Mr. Bruno, but he doubted that because the government finally respected the latest recommendations of the committee to advise him on their salary.

 

The legal negotiator also believes that a repeat of the nurses' strike, brought back to work by a special law under Lucien Bouchard, would take a different turn because of the Saskatchewan decision. "This is a case in point," he explains, "and the principle adopted by the Court is the balance in the negotiations. The government is an employer, and labor relations regimes must be built in such a way that there is a balance of power in the negotiations. It is from this perspective that the Court said in 2015 that even if you are a government, you can not get out the baton or the atomic bomb to end a negotiation. " 

 

Mr. Bruno indicated that the Saskatchewan decision may also apply to the private sector if there is government intervention. In recent examples, he cites Acts 71 and 111, passed in 2015 and 2016 to end the conflicts between garage employees in the Saguenay and the Relais Nordik shipping company. He pointed out that in both cases, the special law provided for an arbitration mechanism in case of failure of mediation, which the government refused to its lawyers.

 

Mr. Bruno's remarks are echoed by the Canadian Association of Jurists, chaired by Halifax lawyer Rick Woodburn. "In Quebec, the government tells its lawyers that they can not be entitled to binding arbitration and it removes the right to strike. In our opinion, this is unconstitutional. "

 

Mr. Woodburn points out that the only exception allowed to the rule of law would be in the case of a government that faces "extreme budgetary constraints. But it can not last forever. And what we did in Quebec, in my opinion, is simply punitive. "

 

Finally, counsel states that Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba have granted binding arbitration to their lawyers. In British Columbia, lawyers have a right to binding arbitration only for normative clauses. The government gives them 75% of the salary paid to provincial judges. According to him, the litigation of the Quebec jurists is on a direct way towards the Supreme Court.

 

http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/actualites/chroniques/gilbert-lavoie/201703/01/01-5074678-la-sq-du-cote-des-juristes.php