Manager, Employee and Labour Relations

Job Summary

The Manager, Employee and Labour Relations engages in a constructive union-management relationship and collective bargaining process. This includes co-ordinating and acting as a key participant in the collective bargaining process, advising management and working with union officials on the interpretation and application of the collective agreement, and managing the grievance process.

The incumbent is a full member of the Division’s management team and participates in key strategic and operational discussions and decisions on human resources issues, priorities, systems, processes, performance indicators, human resources and budgets.

The incumbent manages the development and updating of Human Resources policies and Regional Office manuals and ensures a common understanding and interpretation of policies and of the collective agreement. The manager is also responsible for overseeing the occupational health and safety and wellness programs. The manager exercises managerial responsibility of his or her work unit.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Corporate HR Management (Strategy and Planning)

• Participate as a member of the Human Resources management team in the development of the Division’s policies, guidelines, standards, and strategies to guide senior management at Head Office and in the Regions in conducting human resources activities.
• Work with the Director Human Resources, Manager, Global Compensation and Manager, HR Business Solutions to develop objectives, set priorities, and plans for the Division and contribute to corporate HR monitoring and reporting.
• Provide corporate HR leadership with regards to strategy, policy, design, development, implementation and continuous improvement of the areas related to the mandate of the work unit, ensuring that the frameworks, policies and practices align with and support the achievement of IDRC’s strategic objectives and business plans including HR’s implementation plan.
• Provide strategic advice to senior management on various HR management disciplines related to the mandate of the work unit.
• Develop high-level presentations to senior management on strategic labour relations and occupational health and safety issues.
• Responsible for designated formal HR authorities in the organization as determined in the HR authority matrix.
• Responsible for the execution of the HR Implementation Plan which may include leading certain related work unit projects under this plan.
• Ensure sound corporate reporting on HR management performance in regards to the HR Implementation Plan, IDRC Annual Report, Corporate Dashboard and other reporting obligations by coordinating data gathering and quality control as well as ensuring expectations and timelines are met.
• Maintain a close relationship with the Controller, Regional Operations to be kept up-to-date on any changes on local labour laws that could impact on working conditions of locally-engaged staff in the four regions where IDRC is present. Analyze these changes and make recommendations on their implementation.

Managerial Responsibilities

• Manage the Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, develop objectives and annual work plans to ensure that the incumbent works towards shared objectives, plan and assign work and priorities, monitor progress as well as manage hiring, orientation, professional development and manage performance and address employee relations issues.

Employee and Labour Relations

• Act as an integral member of the Centre’s negotiation team, assist in preparing negotiation strategies and prepare and review drafts of collective agreement language. Ensure that negotiations are properly documented.
• Educate management on negotiated contract changes and assist with implementation where required.
• Coordinate the operations of the Labour-Management Consultative Committee, including preparation of the agenda on behalf of management and documentation of discussions. Participate as a member of the Committee. Actively contribute to the establishment of a positive relationship with the union.
• In complex cases, provide expert advice to the Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety Specialist and management on the interpretation of the collective agreement and application of relevant jurisprudence.
• Manage, with the support of the Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, termination cases and complex employee relations cases by supporting the HR Business Solutions team and managers in building the case, determining corrective measures, supporting management in delivering the decision to the employee and liaising with union representatives.
• Manage, with the support of the Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, investigations and negotiation strategies for any dispute. Manage the preparation of cases for negotiation of agreement, mediation or arbitration and ensure settlements or court orders are followed/implemented correctly.
• Provide expert advice to the HR Business Solutions team on specific employee surplus situations and ensure consistent application across the organization.
• Coordinate workforce adjustment situations by planning major downsizing exercises or complex individual cases and by preparing costing reviews, various downsizing scenarios and consulting legal services for complex cases.
• If the need arises, actively contribute to strike management and reporting to senior management.
• Prepare briefings for executive management on various labour relations issues.
• Develop and maintain an expertise on various working conditions in similar organizations, trends, jurisprudence, etc. by keeping up-to-date on labour relations literature, developing a network and participating in various interdepartmental/agency committees.

HR Policy Development

• Responsible for developing new policies or revising existing policies, including Regional Office manuals, for the full range of human resources areas in the Centre. More specifically:
• Identify requirements for new or revised policies by analyzing the implication of changes to HR legislation in Canada and in the regions, identifying harmonization opportunities with the collective agreement where possible and gaining an understanding of the Centre’s working environment and challenges.
• Carry out research, literature searches, consulting with management, non-represented staff and union representatives to ensure that stakeholder opinions and operational requirements are taken into account.
• Prepare written draft HR policies and revise those written by other HR experts and coordinate consultations with various stakeholders in the organization, including HRD managers and other stakeholders.
• Develop and review Regional Office manuals, ensuring they reflect the Centre’s employment philosophy as well as local legislation.
• Educate managers and HR colleagues (through interpretation bulletins and training) on the application of the collective agreement and various HR policies in order to ensure a consistent application.

Occupational Health and Safety

• Research health and safety issues by reviewing relevant legislation, internal data, external sources and networking with other safety professionals.
• Oversee and make recommendations for corporate health & safety programs, policies and procedures. Review existing health and safety program and procedures and update as necessary.
• Oversee the travel health program by managing the agreement with the service provider, ensuring service delivery meets needs and solving issues.
• Oversee the disability and long-term sick leave program and the workplace accident program and manage complex cases.


• Oversee the planning, managing and reporting on travel health services, the ergonomy program, the wellness program and the EAP program.
• Act as Delegated Manager, Health and Safety to resolve outstanding issues that could occur within the Health and Safety Committees.


Direct Supervision:

• Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
• Students and casual workers

Indirect Supervision:

• Executive Assistant (matrix approach) for the coordination of travel health, ergonomic and wellness activities
• Coordination of work done by consultants for mediation, arbitration services or other related work (occasionally).

Job Scope

The Manager, Employee and Labour Relations is responsible for the development and delivery of expert advice in various HR disciplines, HR strategy, projects, HRM policies, Regional Office manuals and collective agreement development and application.

The incumbent of the position is an active member of the HR Division’s management team.  As part of this function, the incumbent actively participates in the establishment of priorities for the HR Division and in the development and implementation of the strategic direction of the division by playing a key role in medium to long term planning and decision-making. This includes establishing priorities for his/her team and determining the allocation of financial and human resources. In regards to human resources management, the incumbent has full authorities delegated to managers of the Centre as per the Human Resources Authority Matrix, and is responsible for developing job descriptions, selecting suitable candidates, making hiring decisions, confirming completion of probation or making effective recommendations of rejection of an employee during the probationary period. The Manager, Employee and Labour relations sets work objectives and manages employee performance, including issuing verbal and written disciplinary measures.

The Manager is required to manage, carry out and oversee numerous activities and projects simultaneously as well as contributing to the strategic direction, the mission statement and the vision of human resources of the Centre by playing a key role in medium to long term planning and decision-making. The impact of his/her actions are at the corporate level when advising senior managers on strategic labour relations, negotiation and HR Policies issues.

The Manager, Employee and Labour Relations manages complex performance management issues, complaints and grievances and employee terminations, oversees investigations, develops and maintains HR policies and provides sound advice to ensure their consistent application for fairness and equity in the organization and reports on HR performance. He or she provides guidance and expertise to management on difficult, complex or precedent-setting cases.

The incumbent is an active member at the collective bargaining table and plays a critical role in influencing negotiation strategies and providing expert interpretation of the collective agreement.

The Manager, Employee and Labour Relations manages complex and sensitive employee and labour relations issues that may significantly impact on the union/management relationship and on the organizational capacity to maintain a productive workplace environment.

The Manager must use theoretical concepts and practices in HR management, best practices and trends, risk management and organizational change in order to successfully influence negotiation outcomes and the Centre’s employee relations environment. He or she is required to anticipate evolving HR issues and requirements and propose solutions that address the impact of emerging trends. He or she must do so both in the Canadian context and the Regional Offices environment context.