Public Service Staffing Tribunal
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Our Mediation Process

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that promotes open and respectful communication with the assistance of a neutral and impartial third party - the mediator. Mediation allows the parties in a dispute to examine their interests and concerns, explore a variety of creative options and develop mutually satisfactory solutions to the problem in a timely and cost-effective manner.

How does mediation at the Tribunal work?

The Public Service Staffing Tribunal's mediation services are similar to those of other tribunals or labour boards and follow the same basic steps:

  • Introduction
  • Identify issues
  • Explore interests
  • Generate options
  • Reach agreement

Generally, the "parties" in a mediation session at the Tribunal are the complainant and the manager who conducted the appointment process. Each party may be accompanied by a representative.

All complaints submitted to the Tribunal are referred automatically to mediation unless one of the parties does not wish to participate.

The Tribunal offers its mediation services at any stage of the complaint process. In other words, one of the parties may opt out of mediation early on in the process, but may ask the Tribunal to mediate the complaint at a later stage of the proceedings. In order for mediation to take place, however, both parties must agree to participate.

It is important to note that participation in mediation does not suspend time frames stipulated in the PSST Regulations for the formal hearing process.

Who are the mediators?

PSST mediators are members or employees of the Tribunal. A member who has conducted a mediation session where no agreement has been reached will not be assigned to hear the complaint when it goes to a hearing.

Steps in the Mediation Process

Pre-mediation

A chance for the mediator to get to know each of the parties, explain the process and gain an understanding of the issues.

Mediation

  • Introduction
    • Set the agenda and ground rules
    • Confirm authority to settle
    • Participants sign the Agreement to Mediate

  • Identify the issues
    • Opening remarks by the parties
    • Parties explain the issues from their respective points of view
    • Parties ask questions and respond to one another

  • Explore interests
    • Identify needs and concerns of both parties
    • Discuss hopes, expectations and priorities
    • Highlight common interests

  • Generate options
    • Be open to suggestions
    • Brainstorm
    • Consider alternatives

  • Reach agreement
    • Parties write and sign the agreement
    • Both parties receive a copy

The Role of the Mediator is to:

  • Be impartial and respectful
  • Familiarize the parties and their representatives with the process
  • Help everyone listen, communicate and stay focused on the process
  • Guide the parties in exploring their interests
  • Support the parties in developing and assessing viable options for resolving the complaint

The Role of each Party is to:

  • Prepare for the session
  • Communicate in an open and honest manner
  • Articulate own interests and recognize other party's interests
  • Contribute actively towards generating options
  • Comply fully with the Terms of Settlement

The Role of the Representative is to:

  • Prepare the client for the session
  • Assist and support the client during mediation
  • Assist the client in articulating his/her interests and in understanding other party's perspective
  • Help the client to explore options and propose solutions to resolve the complaint
  • Draft the Terms of Settlement with the other representative

Keys to Success

The parties:

  • Prepare themselves for mediation and participate actively in the process
  • Genuinely listen to one another in an effort to understand the other's point of view
  • Express themselves openly, yet respectfully
  • Are more concerned with resolving the complaint than laying blame or winning
  • Are fully authorized to settle, or have ready access to the necessary authority

Benefits of Mediation

Informal

Mediation is not subject to the same procedural requirements and time frames as a formal hearing. With the help of the mediator, the parties set the tone of the mediation session and organize their time in a way that meets everyone's needs.

Cost-effective

Some of the costs associated with a formal hearing process are avoided or reduced by using mediation - travel expenses for witnesses, for example.

Confidential

All of the information divulged during mediation is treated as confidential and can be released in certain, limited circumstances only.

Creative

In working through the issues and generating a number of ideas, the parties are often able to reach a solution that is more creative, or simply not available, through the formal process of a hearing.

Improves the working relationship between the parties

The focus of mediation is to help the parties find a solution by providing them a forum to examine their interests and possible options in a constructive manner and, in this way, build a better working relationship between them.

The parties own the process

With the help of the mediator, the parties themselves determine both the flow and the outcome of the process, and are therefore more likely to be satisfied with the process as a whole, and the results, in particular.