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 directive. This contrasts with the formal adjudication under the Public Service Staff Relations Act where the test is the meaning of the specific words in a collective agreement.
Who better to determine the 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.