Both employers and unions had agreed that all cases - including discipline cases and appeals against health and safety officers’ directions - should be appealed first to the Appeals Officer and then to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).
That would have let easily resolvable issues be dealt with without the quasi-judicial procedure of the CIRB. A more formal process is still necessary to deal with any remaining impartially and effectively.
Unions and employers involved in consultations around Part II of the Canada Labour Code had wanted an appeal procedure similar to Part I of the Code: a CIRB member with two part-time Board members.
The government rejected this, choosing to give Appeals Officers within HRSDC- Labour the final say. The government had committed to moving the appeals officer function to the CLRB but to date, HRSCDC is still responsible for reviewing its own decisions, a violation of the principle of natural justice.
Meanwhile, some public service workers must appeal to the PSSRB which has no particular expertise in health and safety.
There should be one efficient, fair appeal process for all federal employers and workers.