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All Employment and Assistance Workers (EAW) - Re: EAW Classification Appeal Update - BCGEU

We want to update members as to the status of the EAW appeal as we have received a number of queries, including about collective agreement timelines.

Context is important, as timelines in the collective agreement are based around typical appeal scenarios. This would involve one individual appealing one position. Under the collective agreement, we would hold an onsite interview, after which the PSA would complete their review within the 60 day period. Further processes set out in the collective agreement would follow, including steps involving the union's response to the PSA, further replies by the PSA, potential alternate dispute options, and then, if still disputed, decisions about proceeding to arbitration. Appeals of greater complexity usually take longer than 60 days on both sides, which is why we allow for timelines to be mutually extended.

The EAW appeal began in 2011, and was put on hold pending the benchmark review that was negotiated as part of the 17th Public Service Collective Agreement. The benchmark review was abandoned in the most recent collective agreement and that allowed the appeal to move forward. 

Now that the appeal has recommenced, we are following the process as set out in the collective agreement, adjusting to allow for that fact that we held five onsites with multiple members in December 2019 through February 2020. The PSA has advised that they are continuing work on their initial rationale, and have been reviewing and considering over 500 work examples (the majority submitted by members), interview notes and other information gathered. 

This is significantly more information than is filed in a typical appeal. As indicated in our June 2020 bulletin, we confirmed that the PSA's work has continued despite Covid-19. We have also confirmed again this week that the PSA is working on the EAW appeal as a priority, balanced with other priority appeals, some of which also date back to 2011.

The PSA's rationale will contain, for each of the 13 plan factors, which degree level applies (from their perspective), and the reasons that degree level applies and not some other degree level. The reasons will refer to negotiated benchmarks that are an integral part of the plan. Both of these pieces of information are required for the union to understand and effectively contest any conclusion that we disagree with.

The union has reviewed a substantial portion of the information gathered so that we're prepared to understand the PSA rationale in the context of all the information provided. There is no way for us to anticipate the PSA's response to any of the 13 factors, and thus cannot begin our analytical work until we review the PSA's initial rationale. 

We appreciate your frustration. We can report that the amount of time taken so far compares favourably with similarly complex appeals performed in the past, in addition to consideration of the wide variety of duties performed in different offices, as well as the different streams of work. 

The result of job evaluation analysis can be forever, absent a significant or material change in the role or a successful arbitration decision down the road, so the focus for job evaluation is accuracy and completeness having fully considered the full scope of work examples provided as part of the appeal, rather than the time taken to complete the analysis. We want to ensure that the PSA properly considers all relevant information for each of the factors. 

At this stage, it is impossible to give timelines for the reasons we've noted. Please be assured that work is continuing, and we will give you updates as soon as we have something further to report.

Note – contact information for those retiring or leaving the EAW job

Please keep the union up to date with your current contact information, particularly your personal email address which we will use to contact you should you leave the EAW position.

Frequently asked questions

As provided in earlier bulletins, here is a link for those interested in details of the job evaluation process and timelines, and to answer some of the questions and issues raised during our worksite visits.

In solidarity,


Judy Fox-McGuire – Component 6 Vice-President
Jennifer Jordan – Staff Representative, Negotiations


Download PDF of notice here
Download PDF of FAQ here