How PSAC works: Operations and services

PSAC performs a wide variety of functions and provides a diverse array of services. Some are provided by the local, some are delivered regionally, and some nationally. 


Locals are expected to connect with members in the workplace. Members turn to locals for:   

  • Support when they have a question or problem 

  • First level representation when they have a grievance 

  • Information about their collective agreement and other matters 

  • Opportunities to get involved in union activities, including activities related to collective bargaining and campaigns on different issues 

PSAC locals, and specifically local offers and stewards, are responsible for monitoring what is going on in the workplace and for ensuring that members’ rights are being respected by the employer.   

Locals make sure that health and safety issues are addressed, and that human rights are protected. They bring problems to the attention of the employer and find solutions. Sometimes pressure has to be applied to get the right solution and so locals must also organize and mobilize members to take action in support of their demands.  

Directly Chartered Locals have unique roles and responsibilities set out in the PSAC Constitution and Regulations (Section 11, Sub 5). These are akin to the roles and responsibilities of PSAC’s Components. They are: 

  • Process appeals and grievances up to, but not including adjudication/arbitration  

  • Enforcement of the collective agreement(s) 

  • Representation of members on matters related to classification and working conditions not covered in the collective agreement  

  • Serve as a link to the PSAC Centre  

  • Elect officers 

  • Hold membership meetings  

When locals select and hire staff they must do so in accordance with the PSAC Constitution.  

PSAC allows DCLs flexibility with respect to how they are structured and how they operate however the bylaws of DCLs must conform to the requirements of the PSAC Constitution and Regulations and be approved by the PSAC National President. 


PSAC’s 23 regional offices, staffed by PSAC employees, are the hub for delivery of PSAC programs and provide direct support to DCLs.  Also, every region has an elected full-time Regional Executive Vice-President who works with the Regional Office staff to make sure PSAC members and locals in the region get the support they need  

Locals can look to their REVP and Regional Offices for the following:  

  • Information, support and troubleshooting 

  • Union education programs  

  • Regional committees 

  • Regional conferences 

  • Workplace health and safety support and representation  

  • Representation on workers’ compensation claims 

  • Campaigns, mobilization and lobbying on specific issues 

  • Local development and local training 

  • Coordination of strikes  

  • Political action  

  • Connection with the broader labour movement, locally and provincially  

  • Organizing workers seeking PSAC representation  

Every PSAC region has its own website and communication system.  It’s also important to keep the regional office informed of changes in local contact information otherwise gaps in communication can occur.  Members of local executives (just like all members) can subscribe to email lists from the regional and national web sites.  

Each region in PSAC provides great networking opportunities for local leaders and members; these relationships become important when seeking support from other locals during negotiations and mobilizing activities.  

PSAC also has a strong presence on social media channels. Following PSAC on social media and passing on information to followers is a great way to keep members informed.  

The regions provide an opportunity for engagement with provincial and territorial Federations of Labour which bring together locals of all unions affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress. 

We build solidarity and bargaining strength by supporting each other in our struggles – that’s the power of unions historically and something we must capitalize on today as well.  


PSAC represents more than 180,000 members. With this comes great responsibility. The union is responsible to provide all members with fair representation and to negotiate in good faith on their behalf.  

PSAC national is responsible for all collective agreement negotiations and for representation of grievances at the adjudication/arbitration (final) level.  

Aside from these two critical roles, PSAC national is also responsible for: 

  • Political action and lobbying  

  • National campaign coordination 

  • Mobilizing national bargaining units during contract negotiations 

  • Training for leaders  

  • National conferences 

  • Overseeing the Social Justice Fund 

  • Overseeing the Joint Learning Program  

  • Affiliation with the Canadian Labour Congress 

  • Affiliation with Public Services International  


December 13, 2019