National Joint Council
Unions and Employers Working Together
Overview of Council and its activities
Created in 1944, the National Joint Council today is the "Forum of Choice" for co-development, consultation and information sharing between the government as employer and public service bargaining agents.
Through the NJC, participating employers and bargaining agents develop collaborative solutions to workplace problems. NJC subjects include government travel, relocation, commuting assistance, isolated posts and government housing, foreign service directives, work force adjustment, safety and health, the bilingual bonus and public service health plans.
Marking its 60th anniversary in 2004, the NJC builds on a strong record of achievement. The success of NJC reflects the continuing need of the parties for an effective national forum to address common issues, and the ability of NJC itself to evolve and adapt to changing requirements.
Co-development is a key element of the NJC mandate. NJC co-development is a joint problem-solving process through which representatives of the parties work to reach consensus on terms and conditions of employment and on policies that have application across the Public Service. The NJC model of co-development emphasizes co-operative exploration of issues and interests, flexibility and the search for innovative solutions.
NJC directives achieved through co-development form part of the collective agreements of participating parties. They deliver important results both to the workforce as a whole and to groups of employees with special workplace needs:
- The Public Service Health Care Plan provides benefits to over one million Canadians.
- A Travel Directive which covers all aspects of employee business travel.
- An Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive which helps employees in isolated locations through travel support, rent assistance and isolated post allowances.
- Foreign Service Directives which address the special needs of employees who serve Canada abroad.
- Bilingual bonuses, relocation payments, commuting allowances.
The NJC also plays a central role in co-developing other aspects of health care coverage such as the dental and disability insurance plans.
The NJC's approach to grievances arising from its directives is an innovative example of alternate dispute resolution. At the final step of the NJC grievance process, employer and union representatives jointly decide whether employees have been fairly treated within the intent of NJC directives. The NJC also supports an administrative appeal process where employees can obtain a final review of decisions about dental and disability insurance benefits by a bilateral board of management.
The Council, its component bodies and the Trust
The Council is composed of representatives of all member bargaining agents and employers. A chairperson from the employer side (a member appointed by the President of the Treasury Board) and a co-chairperson elected by bargaining agents alternately preside at quarterly meetings of Council.
Between meetings of Council, the work of NJC is administered by an Executive Committee consisting of the chairperson, the co-chairperson and two other representatives from each side.
The day-to-day work of Council is performed by bargaining agent and employer representatives on committees, working groups and boards of management.
- NJC working committees have a continuing mandate to review directives and policies, recommend changes to Council, and advise the Executive Committee on grievances. Other matters can also be referred to working committees by Council or by the Executive Committee.
- Working groups are established as a forum to conduct joint projects or address special issues. Recent examples include co-development of a framework of principles for joint learning and co-development of a methodology for the conduct of comprehensive national compensation surveys.
- Boards of Management play key roles in the operation of health care plans under mandate from the members of Council.
The work of Council, the Executive Committee and component bodies of NJC is supported by an independent secretariat led by a General Secretary. Under Council By-laws, the employer and bargaining agent sides alternately appoint a General Secretary to a five-year term.
Today, the National Joint Council includes 18 public service bargaining agents, Treasury Board and a number of "separate employers" as official members.
Bargaining Agent Side
Association of Canadian Financial Officers
Association of Justice Counsel
Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, CAW Local 54 54
Canadian Association of Professional Employees
Canadian Federal Pilots Association
Canadian Merchant Service Guild
Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association
Coast Guard Marine Communications Officers CAW-Canada Local 2182
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Local 588-G
Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association
Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East)
Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2228
Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Research Council Employees' Association
Union of Canadian Correctional Officers - CSN
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Communications Security Establishment Canada
National Research Council Canada
Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
For more detailed information, please visit the NJC Web site at www.njc-cnm.gc.ca