Treasury Board to Communicate with Employees Regarding Marriage Leave and Same Sex Couples

June 11, 2003

On May 26, 2003, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal heard the complaints of three federal government employees alleging that the denial of marriage leave under their respective collective agreements discriminated against them on the basis of sexual orientation. All three complainants had sought marriage leave for the purpose of participating in a public ceremony expressing their commitment to a same-sex partner in a form of union.

Tribunal Order:

The Tribunal Order directs the Employer to credit the employees for the annual leave they were obliged to take as a result of the denial of marriage leave.

It also allows some time for Treasury Board to review and take the necessary steps to eliminate the discriminatory practice in the application of all the collective agreements to which it is party. The Treasury Board Secretariat is proposing to discuss with the bargaining agents the issue of how to implement the Tribunal Order

New Leave Provision:

In light of this Tribunal Order and in the interim, Treasury Board will be instructing organizations listed in the Public Service Staff Relations Act, Schedule I, Part I, effective from May 26, 2003, to grant up to five (5) days leave to employees in a same-sex relationship who apply for leave in recognition of their same-sex public commitment ceremony. This provision will also apply to excluded and unrepresented employees, including executives. The effect of this new provision is for the future only.

This leave will be approved in accordance with the Leave with Pay for Other Reasons Article of the relevant collective agreement, until such time as the Treasury Board Secretariat directs otherwise.

The employee will provide either a marriage certificate or a sworn affidavit certifying to the spousal union for the purpose of granting the employee with the five days leave with pay.

This publication will be available shortly via the Treasury Board Secretariat Web Site on GENet.