Grievance FAQs

What is a grievance?

A grievance is an allegation made by OCADFA, generally on behalf of itself and one of its members, that the Employer has violated the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) or an applicable policy or legislation. Such a violation may follow from the Employer’s interpretation, application, or administration of the policy in question.

How do I know if I have a valid grievance?

If you have a concern, you should contact us. We will help you assess whether your concern falls within OCADFA’s purview and whether a complaint or grievance should be filed. If you think your rights have been violated, please contact us. We will discuss the issues confidentially with you and seek legal advice as needed to determine if you have grounds for a complaint. If something feels wrong, there’s a good chance it is, and you should confer with us.

Who can file a grievance?

All members of OCADFA may request that OCADFA file a grievance on their behalf. This includes faculty in all labour categories, as well as research assistants, teaching assistants and OCADFA-affiliated academic staff. OCADFA will seek legal advice as needed to determine whether or not to file a grievance for each case, and if so, how to proceed with the grievance. If you’re unsure whether you’re an OCADFA member, ask us!

What are the different ways to file a grievance?

There are three possible avenues for filing grievances:

  1. Complaint

    A complaint may be discussed informally between a member and their Dean or Manager. Many complaints can be resolved at this stage. OCADFA can assist by consulting with the faculty member beforehand, clarifying their rights within the context of the MoA or applicable policies and legislation, assisting with correspondence, or accompanying a member to a meeting with the Dean/Manager. This option is especially worth considering if you have a positive relationship with your supervisor, or feel that your supervisor will be receptive to your concern. If the complaint doesn’t resolve the problem, a grievance can be filed. See Article 13.3 of the MoA.

  2. Grievance

    A grievance is a written allegation made by OCADFA that the MoA or an applicable policy or law has been breached. The alleged infraction(s) and proposed remedies are submitted in writing to the Vice-President Academic or designate, and a meeting is held to try to resolve the grievance. If there is a proposed resolution from the Vice-President Academic or designate, the proposed resolution is presented to the grievor for approval. OCADFA then confirms in writing to the Vice-President Academic if the resolution is agreeable. See Article 13.4 of the MoA.

  3. Grievance Mediation/Arbitration

    Either OCADFA or the Employer may refer unresolved grievances to Mediation/Arbitration. Typically—although not always—this process starts with Mediation in which the Arbitrator tries to work with the two sides to reach a mutually-agreeable resolution. If mediation is not successful in resolving the grievance, then the process reverts to arbitration. At this stage, the Arbitrator assesses evidence brought forward by the Faculty Association and the Employer and renders a binding decision. See Article 13.5 of the MoA.

How does OCADFA support me through this process?

Filing a grievance and following the process through can be confusing and anxiety-provoking. OCADFA’s grievance team seeks to do everything possible to mitigate your confusion and anxiety. OCADFA typically starts by assigning a member of the grievance team to your complaint who becomes your primary contact through the process. Their job is to draw on the appropriate resources (such as consultation with OCADFA’s president, grievance chair, or legal counsel) to assess your concern and, where appropriate, develop and execute an appropriate grievance strategy. In addition, your grievance team member can accompany you to any meetings that may arise connected to the grievance, provide progress updates, and answer any questions you may have about the process as it unfolds.

Are there time limits on filing a grievance?

Yes, a grievance must be submitted to the Vice-President Academic within 21 calendar days of the alleged infraction, or of the date on which the Grievor first knew or ought reasonably to have known of it.

Are grievances confidential?

The Employer and OCADFA are committed to keeping the grievance process confidential, however it’s important to note that it will be necessary to exchange information with the Employer to try to resolve your grievance and also if the grievance proceeds to arbitration. While mediations are typically confidential, if a grievance proceeds to arbitration, the hearing is typically open to the public, so any testimony given or documents submitted in such a hearing is normally in the public domain. Importantly, grievance arbitration is relatively rare in our context and, if confidentiality were an issue, we would consider that before proceeding to arbitration.

I want to sue the Employer. Will OCADFA assist me with that?

Most disputes with the Employer concerning your employment must be addressed through the grievance procedure under the Memorandum of Agreement. If you believe that you have some reason to sue the Employer rather than to pursue a grievance under the Memorandum of Agreement, then you can retain your own legal counsel at your own expense to advise as to whether it is possible, or in your interest, to do so.

Can grievances be filed against other faculty members?

No. The grievance procedure applies only to disputes between OCADFA members and our Employer.

How do I handle disputes with other faculty members?

The Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Policy (RWLEP) addresses issues of discrimination, harassment, and bullying within the University community. Members may contact the Director of Human Resources or the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI) with concerns that fall under the purview of this policy.

Will OCADFA help me with my RWLEP complaint?

OCADFA can work with both complainants and respondents throughout the RWLEP process. This includes if a member requires support in filing an RWLEP complaint, or is on the receiving end of one. Contact: or