Toronto backtracks on return-to-office plans for city employees as Omicron spreads its wings
Back at the end of June, the Ontario public service union OPA was told the city was about to introduce a “new model” for the management of employee grievances. The contract of the OPA, which is responsible for negotiating and administering a large number of city unions, expired in June, and OPA has decided it would rather negotiate a new contract with this new model than return to the past.
In April, the city announced the return to “last model,” which means the same old system that was in place before the late 1990s. The new model, introduced in September, is what this union is looking for – a move away from the old model that was used since OPA’s early days under former OPA president David Green (who held this job until he died in May 2011).
The province used to have a system in place that was similar to what the new plan will be called. However, the new system, called in-house grievance resolution, or IGR, was launched after Green made it clear he wanted to create an entirely new government-wide program. There were a few changes, mostly to be introduced at a later date, but the process is the same.
The changes, and the introduction of a new system that will now be known as IGR, are outlined below:
When the contract expires, the city will introduce a new model of grievance resolution
All grievance resolution issues that have not been resolved, or that the union and the city still need to hammer out are to be resolved via IGR. The union cannot go back to arbitration.
The union will negotiate in each of the three main levels (local, territorial and provincial) and the parties will submit their proposals to OPA. It is up to OPA to select the proposals that are most advantageous to the city and most beneficial to the union
City employees who want to go back to a previous level of IGR will have to sit through a two-day process with OPA
The union will then take three days before it responds to the city and submits a resolution.
The city will then take one day to respond to the union resolution.
The city’s response will come after consultation with OPA and will take effect after the union submits its response (with appropriate changes