The NJC grievance process is a very successful example of alternate dispute resolution which has been in place for many years. At the final level, the process has two distinctive and innovative features:
The criterion for reviewing grievances is the intent of the directive. Final level hearings are fact-finding inquiries designed to discover whether an employee has been treated within the intent of the NJC directive. This contrasts with formal adjudication under the Public Service Labour Relations Act where the test more often is the meaning of the words in a collective agreement.
Who better to determine intent than the parties who were responsible for the directive in the first place? At a final level NJC hearing, committee members from both management and bargaining agent sides who co-developed the directive weigh whether or not the directive has been applied as they intended. While there is sometimes disagreement between the parties about intent, much more often both sides reach consensus about how an employee should have been treated. This process is very different from conventional final level hearings where only one side --- management --- hears and decides the issue.
The Guidelines to Committees Reviewing and Hearing Grievances was first published by the National Joint Council in 2002. Its purpose then and now is to help committee members to understand the NJC grievance process and the procedures used in conducting NJC final level grievance hearings. We hope these Guidelines assist all involved to ensure the continued success of the NJC grievance process.
The NJC Grievance Referral Guide for Labour Relations Practitioners was developed in 2013 after receiving requests from the Labour Relations Community for more information about the grievance process at the NJC. Our hope is that this Guide will provide practitioners with the necessary tools to better prepare for the final level of the NJC's grievance procedure. As this product is evergreen, we encourage you to send us your comments should you feel that the Guide requires clarification. Our thanks go out to those of you who provided feedback during the development phase.