Public Service Employee Relations Act Change


Important Dec. 16, 2020 Update: MaPS transition to AUPE deferred due to status of Bill 21

The University of Calgary has decided to defer the transition of identified MaPS employees to the bargaining unit (AUPE) for up to three months.

Bill 21: Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability Act, 2019, received Royal Assent on Dec. 5, 2019. Among the many legislative amendments included in Bill 21 was a reinstatement of exclusions from the bargaining unit under Section 12 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act (PSERA). On the same date, the Government passed Order in Council 294/2019 which clarified that the application of section 12(1)(e.1) of PSERA would only apply to crown employees effective Jan. 1, 2020. Although the exclusions do not yet apply beyond direct government, it is anticipated that the exclusions may be extended in 2020 to apply to other public sector employers including post-secondary institutions.

The transition deferral allows consultation with various external stakeholders to determine if the exclusions will be extended to the university. This prevents the unnecessary disruption of moving employees into the bargaining unit only to move them out again a short time later. Impacted employees and their reports-to managers were informed of the deferral by email on Dec. 16, 2019.


More about Bill 21

On October 28, 2019 the Alberta Government introduced Bill 21, the Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability Act, 2019 (Bill 21)  in connection with its 2019 Budget. One of the legislative amendments proposed in Bill 21 would reinstate the PSERA exclusions and once again exclude Budget Officers, Systems Analysts, Auditors, and Disbursement Control Officers from the bargaining unit. Bill 21 remains subject to the legislative process and may undergo further amendments before it passes as law. Additionally, it is still unclear whether the university will be impacted by the changes. According to the current draft of Bill 21, the government will identify through regulations the list of impacted employers subject to these exclusions on a later date. As such, the UCalgary will continue to abide by the Letter of Understanding between UCalgary and AUPE, the AUPE Job Placement Manual, as well applicable law in force and of effect.

The Public Service Employee Relations Act (PSERA) sets out the labour relations regime for public sector employers, including the University of Calgary. Amongst other things, it sets out who can be in/out of a bargaining unit. 

Changes in PSERA occurred in late 2018 and as of June 1, 2019, the following employee groups were no longer excluded from the bargaining unit:

  • Budget officer  
  • Systems analyst
  • Auditor 
  • Disbursement control officer 

The following roles continue to be excluded from PSERA: managers, environmental health and safety staff, human resource staff, senior leadership team support personnel, doctors, lawyers, architects, dentists and engineers.



Frequently Asked Questions

While the legislation was changed on Dec. 5, it still excludes employees of post-secondary institutions.  However, the Government of Alberta is in the process of consulting post-secondary institution employers as they consider if the legislation should be extended.   There is a possibility that the legislation will apply to the University of Calgary soon; to avoid the frustration and disruption associated with moving roles into AUPE only to move them back to MaPS, it was decided to defer the transition.

You will remain in your current MaPS role to the end of March 2020 (or earlier) pending clarification on the exclusions being extended to post-secondary institutions. Your compensation, benefits, pension, vacation and other entitlements will remain in place as a MaPS until further notice.

It is possible your role will be moved to AUPE if the exclusions are not extended to post-secondary institutions.  In the event the exclusions are extended to post-secondary institutions, most positions which were MaPS will remain part of MaPS. We hope to gain more clarity on the applicability of the exemptions by March 2020 or earlier.

No, to minimize the disruption of moving from one employee group to another during this period of uncertainty, your role will remain in AUPE for the period of the deferral, subject to any unusual circumstances.

Recruitments which are in progress, but not finalized, will generally be hired into the MaPS group until we know about the extension of the legislation to post-secondary institutions, subject to any unusual circumstances. Any job postings and offer letters will notify candidates of the potential of the role to transition to AUPE.

No, any earned and used Personal Leave Days for 2020 will not be clawed back if your role subsequently moves to AUPE.

Employees remaining in MaPS during the deferral period will follow the MaPS timeline for performance reviews.

The Public Service Employee Relations Act (PSERA) sets out the labour relations regime for public sector employers, including the University of Calgary. Amongst other things, it sets out who can be in/out of a bargaining unit. 

Changes in PSERA occurred in late 2018. As of June 1, 2019, the following employee groups were no longer excluded from the bargaining unit:

  • Budget officer  
  • Systems analyst
  • Auditor
  • Disbursement control officer 

The following roles continue to be excluded from PSERA: managers, environmental health and safety staff, human resource staff, senior leadership team support personnel, doctors, lawyers, architects, dentists and engineers.

As a result of the changes, the membership of indicated positions at UCalgary will be moved from Management and Professional Staff (MaPS) to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). Changes will be announced in two phases, the first of which was in September 2019.

PSERA stands for the Public Service Employee Relations Act which establishes the labour relations and collective bargaining regime for public sector employees in Alberta which includes support staff at Alberta post-secondary institutions.

The university is ultimately responsible for periodically reviewing excluded positions against the criteria set out in PSERA to ensure positions are properly included or excluded from the bargaining unit. In doing so, the university is accountable to the bargaining agent (AUPE) and may be grieved or subject to a legal application to the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) if there is disagreement over the university’s assessment of included/excluded positions. The ALRB has the authority to make determinations about which positions are to be included in the bargaining unit.

In the last round of collective bargaining, the university and AUPE negotiated an expedited process to review all MaPS positions (excluding senior managers) against the updated exclusion criteria in PSERA.

The first phase of this process involved the university analyzing hundreds of MaPS positions of which 183 were identified as no longer meeting the criteria for exclusion. This list (List A) was disclosed to AUPE along with the remaining positions and the corresponding rationale for continued exclusion (List B).

Accordingly, the next phase will involve AUPE scrutinizing List B to determine whether they concur with the university’s analysis. If the union disputes any of the positions on List B and the parties are unable to reach consensus otherwise, the dispute(s) will be referred to expedited mediation-arbitration before a sole mediator/arbitrator for final determination.

The university notified the 183 impacted employees included on List A on Sep. 25, 2019 of their impending transition into the bargaining unit effective Jan. 1, 2020. [This has been deferred pending clarification of Bill 21 application to post-secondary institutions to up to March 2020]

In the event that there are positions on List B that must also be included in the bargaining unit, the university will provide similar notice in writing of their date of transition into the bargaining unit.

Once the employee and their manager have been notified, the university will commence the process of transitioning employees into the bargaining unit. Affected employees will receive a letter outlining the specific impacts to them.

There are a number of changes associated with a transition from the Management and Professional Staff (MaPS) employment group to the Support Staff/AUPE employment group. On the effective date of the transition, all terms and conditions of your employment as a Support Staff will fall under the AUPE Collective Agreement.

Below is a high level summary of the different employment terms.

A grouping of employees that are represented by a single agent or body (i.e., Union) that has been certified under the Alberta Labour Relations Code to collectively bargain terms and conditions of employment on behalf of the group of employees (i.e., bargaining unit) they represent. The product of collective bargaining is a collective agreement.

Section 12 of PSERA sets out which persons are to be included or excluded from a bargaining unit.

For the purposes of the University of Calgary:

  • those exercising managerial duties over one or more persons
  • those exercising managerial duties over the formulation, development or administration of policies or programs
  • those engaged in the administration of personnel (i.e., Human Resources) programs (e.g., payroll, health and safety or training, etc.)          
  • those employed in a personnel office (i.e., Human Resources) or on behalf of an employer with any matter related to collective bargaining
  • those whose duties and responsibilities are to represent the employer in a procedure established pursuant to the collective agreement for the resolution of differences (e.g., grievance procedure)
  • any direct reports of a senior leader who exercises comparable duties and responsibilities to a deputy Minister or Assistant Deputy Minister.

Must exercise effective control over the employees they supervise, including decisions around hiring, promotion, assignment of work, performance evaluation, approval of paid time off, discipline and dismissal. This would also include those who do not directly supervise staff but exercise independent decision-making authority that impacts the employment relationship as it relates to matters of policy or the running of the organization.

The general rule of thumb is the exercise of duties or responsibilities as a condition of employment that would put the person in a conflict of interest with the objectives of the bargaining unit. This would include, but is not necessarily limited to, representing management in the collective bargaining process, representing management in joint union-management committees, providing advice to management on the interpretation and application of the collective agreement or otherwise advising on matters that may form the subject of a grievance such as discipline, performance management and dismissal.

Those who practice as a condition of employment and are members of or are training to become members of:

  • the medical profession
  • the dental profession
  • the architectural profession
  • the engineering profession
  • the legal profession

For the purposes of the university this included:

  • Budget Officer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Auditor

No, that review was commenced in response to the Faculty Association’s assertion that MaPS should fall within the scope of their bargaining unit. This is a separate review that is necessary because of changes to PSERA, which governs the positions that may be excluded from the support staff bargaining unit.

The university has six months to complete an initial review of MaPS positions (Technical Professional, Professional, Research, and Management, Level 1). This is a significant undertaking and only possible if the hundreds of positions under review are static. As such, Job Reviews will not be accepted for positions in the classifications outlined above until Sep. 30, 2019.

Grace Li, Analyst, Total Rewards (Retirement) can provide information regarding your individual situation. She can be reached at 403.220.5461 or ggli@ucalgary.ca.

If an employee declares retirement with Total Rewards by Dec. 31, 2019, and the retirement date is between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, the employee will remain MaPS. If the employee extends their retirement date beyond Dec. 31, 2020, the employee will be transitioned into AUPE.  

[Total Rewards is contacting all employees who provided notice of retirement in advance of the deadline to discuss the deferral and the potential impact of retirement]

If after reviewing the employee information package and checklist you have unanswered questions or need assistance, contact:

Bill 21 became legislation on Dec. 5, 2019 and although it excludes certain employees from being members of bargaining units,it does not extend to employees of post-secondary institutions.

Bill 21 has not expressly named the university as an employer or class of employer who will be subject to these exclusions. The University of Calgary has deferred the transition of MaPS to AUPE for up to three months to determine if the legislation will be extended to include post-secondary institutions.