5.1.1       Differences between the parties bound by this agreement concerning its interpretation, application, operation or any violation thereof, and any questions as to whether any matter is arbitrable shall, if possible, be resolved by informal discussions.

5.1.2       Grievance Procedure – Steps

If the dispute has not been resolved by informal discussions the Association may, within seventy-five (75) days after the Association became aware of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, but in no event later than one year after the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, initiate a formal grievance as follows:

Step 1

The VIUFA Chief Steward shall provide the grievance in writing, including the proposed remedy, to the Associate Vice-President, of Human Resources. The VIUFA Chief Steward shall meet with the applicable Dean, Director, or Administrative Supervisor and a designate of Human Resources who shall endeavour to settle the grievance. The Employer shall, within ten (10) working days of the meeting, respond in writing. Either party may elect to waive Step 1 and move directly to Step 2.

Step 2

Failing a resolution at Step 1, the VIUFA Chief Steward may, within ten (10) working days meet with the applicable Dean, Director or Administrative Supervisor and the Associate Vice-President, Human Resources or designate who shall endeavour to settle the grievance.  The Employer shall have ten (10) working days to provide a written response.

Step 3

Failing a resolution at Step 2, the VIUFA Chief Steward may, within ten (10) working days meet with the applicable Dean, Director or Administrative Supervisor, the applicable Vice-President and the Associate Vice-President, Human Resources, or designate, who shall endeavour to settle the grievance.  The Employer shall have twenty (20) working days to provide a written response.

Step 4

Failing a resolution at Step 3, the VIUFA Chief Steward may, within thirty (30) working days refer the grievance to arbitration.    The timelines for the meetings and responses in Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 may be extended by mutual agreement. Such agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld.     Unless extended by mutual agreement, time limits in the grievance and arbitration procedure are mandatory. Failure to initiate a grievance in a timely manner will result in the grievance being deemed abandoned.  In the event that a grievance once initiated is not processed by either party within the time limit specified the grievance will be considered to have been advanced to the next step. A grievance shall be deemed to have been abandoned if a year passes during which no action is taken by either party without any reasonable explanation for the delay.     It is the expectation of the parties that before submission to arbitration, the grievance shall have been discussed in the grievance procedure.     The time limit provisions in this Article do not impact any remedy arguments either party may choose to make in connection with any continuing grievance(s) filed pursuant to this Article.

5.2       MEDIATION

a) The parties may by mutual agreement, submit a grievance or matter in dispute to a mutually agreed upon mediator at any time.

b) Any such mediation process shall be without prejudice to either party.

c) The expense of grievance mediator shall be equally shared by the parties.


5.3.1    Where a difference arises at an institution relating to the interpretation, application or administration of the collective agreement, including where an allegation is made that a term of condition of the collective agreement has been violated, either of the parties may, after exhausting the steps of the grievance procedure under the agreement, notify the other party with ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the last grievance step reply, of its desire to arbitrate and to submit the difference or allegation to expedited arbitration before a single arbitrator. Grievances not referred to the expedited process will continue to follow the procedures of Article 5.

5.3.2    Issues for Expedited Arbitration

(a) Subject to subsections (b) and (c) herein, grievances except those relating to the following shall be resolved by expedited arbitration:

i.      Dismissals;
ii.     Suspensions in excess of five (5) working days;
iii.    Policy grievances;
iv.     Grievances requiring substantial interpretation of a provision of the collective agreement;
v.      Grievances requiring the presentation of extrinsic evidence;
vi.     Grievances where one of the parties intends to raise a preliminary objection;
vii.    Grievances arising from the duty to accommodate; and
viii.   Grievances arising from the interpretation, application and administration of any provisions arising from the former or current Common Agreement.

(b) The parties may mutually agree to refer a particular grievance to the expedited process, or to the full arbitration process (Article 5.4) irrespective of the categories listed in Article 5.3.2(a) above.

(c) In the event that there is a dispute as to whether a particular grievance falls into one or more of the Article 5.3.2(a) categories; and the parties are unable to reach agreement on the arbitral process to be utilized, this dispute may be referred to the arbitrator selected under this section as a preliminary matter. The arbitrator would rule on this question, and then proceed to hear the grievance, assuming jurisdiction and applying rules of procedure and evidence in accordance with their ruling, that is sitting as a full single arbitrator per Article 5.3 or continuing as an expedited arbitrator per this section.

5.3.3 Expedited Arbitrators

An arbitrator shall be selected from a list mutually agreed upon by the union and the employer, and such may be subject to amendment during the term of the Agreement. If none of the listed arbitrators is available within thirty (30) days, the parties shall agree to another arbitrator who is available within thirty (30) days of appointment.

5.3.4    Process

Lawyers shall not be retained to represent either party unless there is mutual agreement between the parties. This does not preclude either party from using staff who may be lawyers.

5.3.5    Agreed Statement of Facts

The local parties shall develop an agreed statement of facts and shall exchange reliance documents prior to the hearing. Disclosure of relevant or potentially relevant documents is a mutual and ongoing obligation before and during the particular hearing.

5.3.6    Written Submission

By mutual agreement, written submissions may be used in place of a hearing. Submissions shall be in standard format and will not be more than ten (10) pages long.

5.3.7    Procedure

All presentations shall be short and concise and are to include a comprehensive opening statement. The parties shall make limited use of authorities during their presentations.

5.3.8    Mediation

a) Prior to rendering a decision, the arbitrator may assist the parties in mediating a resolution to the grievance.

b) Where mediation fails or is not appropriate in the opinion of the arbitrator, a decision shall be rendered as contemplated herein.

5.3.9    Issuance of Decision

The decision of the arbitrator is to be completed on the agreed form and          mailed to the parties within three (3) working days of the hearing.

5.3.10  Status of the Decision

  1. All decisions, including mediated settlements, under this expedited arbitration process are limited in application to the particular dispute and are without prejudice. The decisions shall have no precedential value and shall not be referred to in any subsequent proceeding. The expedited arbitrators shall include statements to this effect at the beginning of their decision.
  2. All settlements of proposed expedited arbitration cases made prior to an expedited hearing are also without prejudice and have no precedential value.
  3. The decision or award, including mediated settlements, is final, binding, and conclusive. It is understood that it is not the intention of either party to appeal a decision of an expedited arbitration proceeding.
  4. Should the parties disagree as to the meaning of the decision or award, including mediated settlements, either party may request that the arbitrator clarify the decision.

5.3.11  Costs

a) The parties shall equally share in the costs of the fees and expenses of the expedited arbitrator.

b) Hearings shall be conducted at the University where possible to minimize costs.

5.3.12  Authority of Arbitrator

The expedited arbitrator shall have the same powers and authority as an arbitration board established under the provisions under the Labour Relations Code.


5.4.1       The parties agree to a preference for sole-arbitrator hearings.  However, should either party determine that a particular case warrants it, they may opt for a three-person arbitration board by communicating that decision, in writing, to the other party prior to agreement on a named sole arbitrator.

5.4.2       The expenses of the arbitrator or chairperson of the arbitration board shall be shared equally. The parties shall bear the expenses of their respective nominees.

5.4.3       Powers of Arbitrator    The decision of the Board of Arbitration shall be binding upon the parties, but in no event shall the Board of Arbitration have the power to alter, modify or amend this Agreement in any respect. The Board shall have the power to determine whether the grievance is arbitrable.    The Board of Arbitration has the same powers, follows the same procedures and has the same authority as an arbitration board under the Labour Relations Code of British Columbia. The Board of Arbitration shall give full opportunity to all parties to present evidence and make representation to it. The Board of Arbitration shall commence its proceedings as soon as possible.  The decision of a majority shall be the decision of the Board of Arbitration.