5th Edition
April 2019

April 2019

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 as well as those who present cases before committees to understand the NJC grievance process and the procedures used in conducting NJC final level grievance hearings.

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.

We hope that the Guidelines to Committees Reviewing and Hearing Grievances may assist all involved to ensure the continued success of the NJC grievance process.


Sean Ross
General Secretary

National Joint Council

Guidelines to Committees Reviewing
and Hearing Grievances


paragraph 15.1.5 (c) of the NJC By-Laws

subsection 15.1.4

subsection 15.1.10

subsections 15.1.23 and 15.1.24

subsection 15.1.15

subsection 15.1.11 and 15.1.12


subsection 15.1.13

Criterion for Review

subsection 15.1.17

subsection 15.2.1

Representations to the Committee

subsection 15.1.16

Conduct of the Review/Hearing

Role of the Chairperson

Role of Committee Secretary (Committee Advisor)

subsection 6.3.1

Role of Committee Members

Role of Representatives

Mediation/Voluntary Resolution

Recommendation and Report

Subsequent Steps

subsection 15.1.18

subsections  15.1.19 and 15.1.20

subsection 15.1.21

subsection 15.1.22



This document is available in both official languages on the NJC website: 

Summaries of many grievance decisions are available on the National Joint Council Web site, located at www.njc-cnm.gc.ca.

You may search our database of archived decisions or browse recent decisions. Only summaries of the grievances are presented and the names of the parties involved are not disclosed.