The Toronto Metropolitan University Faculty Association (TFA) represents its members in respect to their employment relationship with Toronto Metropolitan University. It advocates for its members’ rights pursuant to the collective agreement and applicable workplace legislation. It enforces such rights through the grievance procedure in the collective agreement. It provides support to members who are subject to work-related investigations, including human rights investigation proceedings through TMU Human Rights Services. The TFA takes its duty to fairly represent members very seriously. It is committed to acting in compliance with its obligations under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995.

The TFA does not typically represent members in respect to criminal proceedings, in civil lawsuits, or individual applications before external tribunals such as the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

The TFA recognizes its duty of fair representation and undertakes to represent its members fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination. The duty of fair representation may be defined as the responsibility to act in a manner that is neither arbitrary, discriminatory, nor in bad faith. Representation shall not be capricious or superficial, and shall be based on reasonable investigation. The member shall be kept informed of actions and reasons for actions. In the event that multiple TFA members are parties to a workplace conflict, investigation or grievance, the TFA provides representation to all parties involved.

The TFA is committed to providing services in an environment for its members and officers that is respectful. This includes an environment free from harassment, abuse, intimidation or other vexatious behaviour.

There will be situations when TFA must, for specific reasons, make the decision to not represent a member on a particular matter, or to cease to represent a member in a particular matter as outlined below:

  • The matter is not within the ambit of TFA’s responsibilities as bargaining agent;
  • The matter lies outside of the Association’s jurisdiction, i.e. is not arbitrable under the law;
  • The case lacks sufficient merit to proceed;
  • The interests of the individual run counter to the interests of faculty members in general or TFA as an organization;
  • The costs of the case, financial and otherwise, outweigh the benefits that may reasonably be expected to accrue to the member and/or the TFA;
  • The member refuses to follow reasonable advice provided by TFA, its staff, or its counsel;
  • The member’s behavior is abusive, harassing and/or disruptive;
  • The member refuses to accept a settlement deemed reasonable by TFA taking into account all circumstances;
  • Other reasons deemed appropriate by the President of TFA and consistent with the law, given the prevailing circumstances leading to the issues in dispute.

Legal Counsel Privately Retained by Members 

The Association will not provide financial support for legal counsel privately retained by  members.

The TFA’s representatives have experience assisting members in workplace investigations, with particular knowledge of the employer’s policies, practices, and procedures. The TFA typically supports members through such processes. A member’s decision to retain a private lawyer for the purposes of representation during a workplace investigation, typically constitutes a waiver of their right to TFA representation during the investigation. It is the TFA’s practice to not jointly represent a member at an interview or through an investigation proceeding if the member opts for a personal/external lawyer.

The member’ private lawyer’s involvement will be limited to the investigation process itself.  Should discipline result from the investigation and should the member want to contest the discipline through a grievance, the TFA has carriage and the responsibility for managing that process. Should the member request that the TFA speak to their lawyer the cost of that would still be the responsibility of the member. The Association has carriage of all grievances arising from the collective agreement and the right to grieve on behalf of members as the exclusive bargaining agent; and the exclusive right to be the signatory on behalf of the member on any settlements or agreements negotiated with the University. Further, the TFA’s policy is to not share the text of legal opinion letters from TFA’s Legal Counsel with members/grievors or their privately retained counsel.

Members may choose to enforce their rights pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code through an application at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). The TFA does not provide representation at the HRTO. The TFA does not pay for or reimburse members for legal expenses incurred in relation to HRTO applications.

Grievance Committee Decision to Not Represent or to Discontinue Representing

The decision to not represent a member on a particular matter, cessation of representation on a particular matter, or refusal to refer a grievance to arbitration will normally be made by the Grievance Officer in consultation with the Grievance Committee.

Should the member disagree with the decision of the Grievance Committee, the member shall be entitled to appeal the decision to the Grievance Appeals sub-committee following the process outlined in the TFA Grievance Appeals Subcommittee policy. The membership of the Subcommittee will be as defined in Article 10.4(h) of the Association Bylaw.

While appeal procedures are in progress, the TFA will protect all applicable filing deadlines, will not withdraw representation or otherwise inform the Employer of its intent until the sub-committee makes a final decision. The decision of the Grievance Appeals sub-committee represents the final position of the Association.

Decision of the Executive Committee Not to Provide Funding for a Matter

The decision to not provide funding or to not continue to provide funding for a matter (including funding for arbitration or legal representation) will be made by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee will provide written reasons for the decision to the member.

Should the member disagree with the decision to not provide funding for a matter or

to not continue to provide funding for a matter, the member shall have five working days in which to provide the Executive Committee with a response.

The Executive Committee will reconsider their initial decision taking into consideration the response of the member. The decision will be made “in committee.” Their decision will be final and binding.

In the event that a member approaches the Ontario Labour Relations Board to request a review of a TFA decision not to represent them or pursue their grievance, The TFA will defend such application, including with reference to the application of this policy.