As a Labour Relations Advisor for ACFO, my priority is to protect the wellbeing of FIs in the workplace. It’s in this interest that today I’d like to discuss the process of contacting Labour Relations and how we can assist you should you have any concerns or believe your rights are being violated.

Anytime you email Labour Relations or call ACFO’s office toll-free at 1-877-728-0695, the first available advisor will respond to your question. Your correspondence with us is 100% confidential—as LRAs, we’re simply here to present you with your options and we’ll never contact the employer or your manager unless your permission is given.

If you’ve contacted us about a workplace issue, in modern labour relations practice, our first step is to resolve it on the lowest level possible or through mediation. This process is called ICMS, or Informal Conflict Management System. This tends to be much shorter, less adversarial and lead to healthier long-term relationships between parties than grievances. Whether it’s an interpersonal relationship or personality conflict, we apply ICMS whenever possible.

Should it be necessary to go beyond ICMS and should you wish to proceed, a next step could be to file a grievance. There are two types of grievances: collective agreement and non-collective agreement. Collective agreement grievances are adjudicative requiring both ACFO approval and representation, such as grievances related to leave or hours of work. Non-collective agreement grievances are department-only and would be covered by Treasury Board policy, such as telework or harassment. Although we’re happy to give you advice about non-CA grievance issues, they don’t require ACFO approval and we’d represent you on a case-by-case basis (and frequently do).

Here’s an example of a workplace issue: you’ve been asked to perform duties of a higher classification by your manager for which you are not getting compensated, so you contact ACFO. To begin, we’d help you assemble a detailed package of time logs, notes and records of all relevant correspondence to build your case. From there, we’d give you coaching or language on how to follow up with your manager. If this follow-up is unsuccessful, a number of options could be taken, including contacting a Labour Relations Advisor or Human Resource Officer at the department, mediation or filing a grievance. Since this is only an example, please contact us if this specific issue applies to you.

When in doubt about contacting Labour Relations, whether it be a simple question or a more complicated issue, remember it’s our job to help you. We provide a free, confidential service, so simply having a conversation with us can do no harm—at every step along the way, the choice is always yours.


Grant Boland
ACFO Labour Relations Advisor


The Labour Relations Blog is a bi-monthly feature written by ACFO Labour Relations Advisors aimed at demystifying and familiarizing the FI Community with the services we are proud to provide. To suggest a blog topic, please email