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ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
Public Service Staffing Tribunal

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A. Chairperson's Message

I am pleased to present the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Public Service Staffing Tribunal ("the Tribunal"). This report outlines the Tribunal's intended direction for the next three years based on its strategic plan for the same period.

The new Tribunal was established through the Public Service Modernization Act which enacted a new Public Service Labour Relations Act and a new Public Service Employment Act (the PSEA or the Act). The new PSEA came into force on December 31, 2005 and is designed to modernize staffing in the federal public service while preserving the core values of merit, excellence, non-partisanship, diversity and Canada's linguistic duality. The Act includes a new definition of merit and creates new arrangements for the resolution of complaints related to appointments and lay-offs, one of which is the Tribunal.

The mandate of the Tribunal is to consider and dispose of complaints related to internal appointments, lay-offs, the implementation of corrective measures ordered by the Tribunal and revocations of appointments. In considering whether a complaint against an appointment or lay-off is founded or not, the Tribunal may interpret and apply the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Tribunal may provide mediation services at any stage of a proceeding in order to resolve a complaint.

In fiscal year 2006-2007, the Tribunal will ensure that the following essential elements are in place in order to hear complaints and offer mediation services: a complaint registry and information management system; a procedural guide for use by the Tribunal's clients and their representatives; and external training programs tailored to the needs of the Tribunal clients. As well, the Tribunal will develop an internal human resources system, including plans, tools and policies and training programs adapted to the different needs of its employees and members. These elements will be closely monitored and adjusted as necessary to ensure that the Tribunal fulfils its mandate in a highly professional and efficient manner.

The Public Service Staffing Tribunal is committed to: maintaining its impartiality, transparency and independence; providing professional, respectful and timely service to its clients and stakeholders; assisting parties in resolving their disputes as informally and as expeditiously as possible through full and meaningful exchange of information, mediation pre-hearing and settlement conferences, as appropriate, and ensuring that its decisions are fair, consistent and well reasoned. The goal of this work is to ensure that Canada continues to benefit from a public service that strives for excellence, is based on merit and non-partisanship, is representative of Canada's diversity and is able to serve Canadians with integrity and in their official language of choice.

Guy Giguère

B. Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Public Service Staffing Tribunal.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department's approved Program Activity Architecture structure as reflected in its Management Resources and Results Structure;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and accurate information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat in the RPP.

Guy Giguère
Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer
March 20, 2006

C. Summary Information


The new Public Service Staffing Tribunal has been established through the new Public Service Employment Act to deal with complaints related to internal appointments and lay-offs. The role of the Tribunal is to provide employees and employers with a fair, efficient and independent resolution of employee complaints. The Public Service Modernization Act, which substantially came into force in November 2003, enacts a new Public Service Employment Act (the "Act") designed to modernize staffing in the Canadian public service while preserving the core values of merit, excellence, non-partisanship, diversity and Canada's linguistic duality. The Act gives a new meaning to merit and creates new arrangements for recourse, one of which is the Public Service Staffing Tribunal. The Act came into force in December 2005.

The Tribunal will consider and dispose of complaints related to internal appointments, lay-offs, implementation of a corrective measure ordered by the Tribunal, and revocation of an appointment. A complaint related to an internal appointment may be submitted to the Tribunal on one of the following grounds: abuse of authority in the application of merit; abuse of authority in the choice of appointment process; and failure to assess a person in the official language of his or her choice. In the case of revocation, a complaint may be made on the grounds that the decision to revoke the appointment was unreasonable. The basis for a complaint against a lay-off or the implementation of a corrective action is abuse of authority. In considering whether a complaint based on an appointment or a lay-off is founded, the Tribunal may interpret and apply the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The Tribunal headed by Guy Giguère, Chairperson, is in place in order to receive complaints now that the new Act has come into force.


The mission of the Tribunal is to contribute to a competent, non-partisan and representative public service through impartial and timely disposition of disputes related to the internal staffing and lay-off processes in the government of Canada. This will include:

  • Rendering decisions that are sound and well reasoned.
  • Ensuring all parties are treated fairly.
  • Processing complaints in a timely manner.
  • Assisting the parties to resolve disputes through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Ensuring that all processes are fair and transparent.
  • Providing stakeholders user friendly access to Tribunal services and information.
  • Educating and informing clients and the public on the Tribunal's role, services and jurisprudence.
  • Promoting a work environment that fosters the development of a knowledgeable and client centered staff.

Benefits to Canadians

By providing transparent, impartial and sound decision-making and support to help parties resolve staffing disputes, the Tribunal will be accessible and responsive to stakeholders, and contribute to the effective management of human resources to the benefit of federal public service departments and agencies, managers, employees and Canadians at large.

The Tribunal benefits Canadians by promoting and supporting a competent, non-partisan and representative public service through impartial and timely disposition of disputes related to the internal staffing and lay-off processes in the government of Canada.

Resources and priorities

Financial Resources (in thousands of dollars)
2006-2007 2007-2008 1 2008-2009
1 Does not include the funding that will be requested by the Tribunal to pursue its mandate.
$5,244 - -

Human Resources
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
33 FTEs 33 FTEs 33 FTEs

In 2006-07, the Public Service Staffing Tribunal will address the priorities listed in the following table.

Departmental Priorities (in thousands of dollars)
Planned Spending
Type 2006-2007
Be ready to hear complaints New 654
Be ready to mediate New 825
Ensure tools are in place for HR management New 245
Establish registry and information management systems New 398
Establish internal and external communications New 256
Establish corporate and management practices New 431

D. Plans and Priorities

Working environment

Overall, there is an expectation that staffing will be improved with the coming into force of the new Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA). Expectations of stakeholders of the Tribunal include:

  • The timely resolution of complaints. The Tribunal will be conscious of the need to minimize the length of time required to render decisions.
  • A user-friendly accessible process.
  • Sound and consistent procedural and substantive decision-making.
  • Availability of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)–so that parties are better able to resolve disputes informally.
  • Transparency, impartiality, and independence of the Tribunal.
  • A Tribunal that is results-driven.

In meeting the above expectations of stakeholders, the Tribunal will need to address some key challenges:

  • Unpredictability of the volume of the caseload. The Tribunal's caseload is externally generated. It has no ability to predict or affect the volume of its intake of cases. Given that the Tribunal is still at its beginning stages, predicting caseload is all the more challenging. An underlying concern is that the resources of the Tribunal may not be sufficient to handle a higher caseload than expected, or a sudden increase in the number of complaints or demand for mediation services. This could affect the ability of the Tribunal to process complaints or provide mediation services in a timely manner.
  • Uncertainty amongst stakeholders. As with any major change, the Tribunal expects that there will be some apprehension amongst stakeholders and resistance to change to the new staffing process. For example, the parties have some concerns over the interpretation of the new legislation in specific areas such as abuse of authority. At these early stages of the establishment of the Tribunal, it will be critical for the Tribunal to maintain ongoing communications with stakeholders, do outreach, and provide training to stakeholders where appropriate.
  • Uneven awareness of the Tribunal. There is a need to create greater awareness of the Tribunal in the public service at large, and to dispel at the outset any misunderstandings that may exist about its role.
  • Ensuring the Tribunal is ready to receive complaints. This means finding staff with the required skills and abilities, training staff, and establishing new processes and systems.
  • Obtaining long term funding. Obtaining stable and adequate funding for the Tribunal in the long term. At this moment, funding has only been allotted up to 2006-2007.

At the same time, the environment in which administrative tribunals are operating is also changing:

  • Increased use of case management. Tribunals are increasingly being proactive in pursuing specific strategies such as pre-hearing discussions and settlement conferences in order to resolve cases more expeditiously. The Public Service Staffing Tribunal plans to do the same in close collaboration with the parties.
  • Prevalence of electronic communications. Increasingly parties (and their representatives) appearing before the Tribunal expect to be able to interface with it electronically, as they now do with the courts and other tribunals. This includes the ability to submit applications and supporting documentation electronically; to access case information electronically; and to be able to communicate with the Tribunal and the other parties electronically and securely. This will require that the Tribunal have sound information management practices in place, and be supported by a robust case management system.
  • Case management systems. CMS are being used to automate the processing and handling of cases as much as possible, and to facilitate e-filing and electronic access. The Tribunal is establishing a case management system to meet its requirements, using technology that will be shared with the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB).
  • Shared services between Tribunals. Tribunals are sharing services so as to reduce support costs related to corporate services, information technology, hearing and meeting rooms, and library services. With a view to containing costs, the Tribunal is sharing services with other tribunals such as the PSLRB, Canada Industrial Relations Board and Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal.

Stakeholder Expectations

The Tribunal will need to meet the expectations of a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • Departments and agencies–This group includes Deputy Heads, delegated managers, and Human Resource professional advisors. They will be looking for a user-friendly and transparent process, the timely resolution of complaints, impartiality of the Tribunal, consistent and well reasoned decisions, and increased ability to resolve disputes informally. The Tribunal also needs to be conscious of the service needs of clients at the regional level.
  • Public Service employees, bargaining agents, and other employee agents–They will have many of the same expectations as the departments and agencies. Employees will also want information on their process rights, and will expect to be able to seek recourse.
  • Central agencies–Agencies with specific interests such as the Public Service Commission, the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada will want to be kept informed of areas of concern in the staffing process, and will want to be consulted on major issues affecting the implementation of the new legislative framework.
  • Other interested tribunals and groups–The Canadian Human Rights Commission will want a proper determination of issues involving discrimination allegations, as well as consistency with Canadian Human Rights Act and jurisprudence. Similarly, human rights groups will be expecting fair treatment of complaints.
  • Public–At the highest level, Parliamentarians and Canadian citizens will want information on the application of the merit principle and its impact on the federal public service. The media will want information on specific decisions made by the Tribunal.

Plans and Priorities

Given that the Tribunal is still in the process of being established, its key priorities are to be ready to mediate and hear complaints. The other priorities of the Tribunal are associated with putting the supporting infrastructure in place, more specifically, the registry and information management systems, human resource management tools, internal and external communications, and corporate and management practices. These priorities, and the tasks to be carried out under each priority, are summarized in the chart below and discussed in further detail in the text that follows.

Priorities of the Tribunal

Be ready to hear complaints

Having the people and processes in place to hear complaints will be the key concern of the Tribunal during 2006-2007. Tasks will include:

  • Implement regulations and procedures, and procedural guide–Disseminating the regulations that have been developed to administer the new legislative framework, preparing a guide, preparing forms and procedures for hearings, and providing information sessions to stakeholders.
  • Training of employees and members–Training on the role of the Tribunal, the Tribunal processes for issuing decisions, the objectives of the PSMA and the PSEA, legal issues and precedents, and Tribunal administrative procedures.

Be ready to mediate

In carrying out its mandate, the Tribunal will strongly encourage parties to resolve their concerns through ADR processes, and will actively promote the use of ADR mechanisms. The Tribunal must carry out a number of tasks to establish this capacity to provide mediation services:

  • Establish mediation team–Putting the organization in place, staffing positions, and orientation and training of staff.
  • Finalize and disseminate forms and procedures for mediation–Including policies and procedures, standard contracts and agreements for mediation services.
  • External mediation training for departments and bargaining agents–Providing training in mediation on complaint mediation, mediation agreements, and the roles and responsibilities of the parties.
  • Training of members in mediation–Advanced mediation training will be provided to the members.

Establish registry and information management systems

A key concern of the Tribunal will be to provide employees and members with the tools and support they need to do their work. This will involve:

  • Put internal and external registry processes in place–For example, processes related to receiving and processing complaints and disputes, arranging for mediation services, translating decisions, issuing decisions, answering requests for information, managing the Case Management System, the dissemination of decisions/case summaries, and scheduling and managing logistics with members.
  • Case management system and processes–The Tribunal will need to document its case management processes, and will over the next 18 months be implementing a new case management system through a shared service arrangement (with the PSLRB).
  • Staff training–Providing staff training in registry processes, case management system workflows, Tribunal procedures for hearings and mediation, and client service.

Ensure tools are in place for HR management

The Tribunal has begun to develop its overall vision and operating principles. The Tribunal wishes to ensure it has the right skill sets to foster staff and member training, create meaningful jobs, and look for people who are adaptable and multi-disciplinary. This will require a strong focus on human resources. Key tasks will include:

  • HR planning–The development of HR plans, and resource policies and requirements, in close integration with business plans.
  • Set up HR policies and processes–The development of the HR infrastructure, including classification, staffing, staff relations, performance management, and employee assistance.
  • Set up an Informal Conflict Management System (ICMS) and Labour-Management Committee–Including the development of processes, roles and responsibilities, and communication to staff.
  • Continuous learning–Competency profiling, development of individual learning plans, assessing organizational-wide needs, and developing a Tribunal learning plan.

Establish internal and external communications

Externally, the Tribunal will use its web site to provide value added information to its clients (e.g., access to jurisprudence); use Tribunal mediation services and training (e.g., as part of departmental training programs) to foster better relationships with departments and bargaining agents; and be visible through conferences, and participation in joint committees, while maintaining its independence. Internally, the Tribunal will foster communications through regular monthly staff meetings, joint member and staff meetings together to report on activities, the Intranet, and committees such as a Health and Safety Committee and Labour- Management Committee. Key tasks will include:

  • Web site development–Includes design of web site, development of content, interface with stakeholders, and in the long term, establishing the linkages with e-filing and the Case Management System.
  • Development of communication products and tools–Includes communications plan and strategy, corporate branding, and development of communications products and tools.
  • Outreach–Identification of messages, key vehicles and responsibilities, as well as the overall outreach strategy and plan, recognizing that all members and staff will have a critical role to play in doing outreach.

Establish corporate and management practices

The Tribunal will undertake a number of tasks to establish its corporate and management practices. These include:

  • Audit and evaluation–Developing an audit program and plan. The plan is to conduct one audit every second year. The focus will be primarily on audit as opposed to evaluation at this time.
  • Establish corporate services processes–Including development of policies and procedures for finance, contracting, travel, security, inventory management, and other administrative procedures.
  • External reports–Developing the Tribunal's performance measurement framework and performance indicators, and establishing a process for producing external reports.
  • Service agreement management– Ensuring that shared service arrangements with other tribunals meet the expectations of PSST managers and staff. For example, the Tribunal has concluded a shared service agreement with the PSLRB to obtain corporate support for its information technology, and remuneration and compensation.