The Judicial Council consists of a chairperson and 18 other members, who are all elected by the BCTF Representative Assembly.
The Judicial Council is charged with implementing the Code of Ethics and establishing procedures which are consistent with the principles of due process and natural justice.
It considers and deals with complaints of alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics, or conduct harmful or prejudicial to the interests of the Federation.
Complaints of a possible breach of the Code of Ethics by a member, or of conduct harmful or prejudicial to the interests of the Federation, may be submitted by any person having a legitimate interest in the complaint and not having available a more appropriate recourse.
The focus of the council is also to educate members regarding the Code of Ethics. The first emphasis is at all times to explore means of assisting, educating, and maintaining professional relationships.
Individual members can file complaints directly to the BCTF in most cases. However, the procedures for dealing with allegations of violations of a BCTF Collective Strategies or Strikes/Lockouts are slightly different. In those cases, individual members must direct their complaint to the local executive committee who will then decide how to proceed with the complaint.
Summary of the Code of Ethics complaint procedures
A. Member to member complaints.
- Formal written complaint form arrives at the BCTF
There is a six-month deadline for filing a complaint of an alleged breach of the Code of Ethics. The deadline is from the time at which the member knew of, or could reasonably have become aware of, events upon which the complaint is based.
- Voluntary resolution is offered
Whenever a complaint of an alleged breach of Clause 5 of the Code of Ethics is filed, both parties are encouraged to explore the issues with the assistance of the BCTF Internal Mediation Service.
If they agree to mediation, and if the mediation is successful, the complainant can formally withdraw their complaint. If one/both members decline the offer of mediation, or if the issues are not resolved during a mediation, the complaint will be forwarded to a Judicial Council Screening Panel.
Other voluntary forms of resolution may be explored.
- Screening Panel/report
A Screening Panel is convened to consider the complaint. The Screening Panel may dismiss the complaint, order a report from a Fact-Finder Team and/or an Ethics Advisory Team, or order a Hearing Panel.
- Fact Finder and Ethics Advisory Teams
If an FF and/or EAT team is ordered, they convene and report back to the Screening Panel. The Screening Panel then writes a final report and either dismisses the case, or orders a formal hearing.
- Hearing Panel/report
A Hearing Panel reviews all evidence and renders a verdict. The two parties to the case and witnesses as applicable may attend the oral hearing. The Hearing Panel will find that a breach of the Code of Ethics has either occurred or not. The Panel can impose a variety of penalties.
—see Members’ Guide to the BCTF, 31.D.02.(6).
- Appeal Panel/report
Members have the right to appeal when there is a finding that the Code of Ethics was breached—see the BCTF Members’ Guide, 31.D.02.(7) for criteria for appeal. The decision of an Appeal Panel is final and cannot be appealed.
—For a complete description of the Administration of the Code of Ethics, see the Members’ Guide to the BCTF, sections 31.D.02, 44.16, and 44.20
B. Complaints related to Strikes/Lockouts or Collective Strategies
- A member with information with respect to alleged violations of 44.02 (BCTF Strikes/Lockouts) or 44.20 (BCTF Collective Strategies) should report it to the local president designate.
- The local executive contacts BCTF Field Service staff and/or the Ethics Co-ordinator for advice on how to proceed.
- Complaints with respect to alleged violations of 44.02 (BCTF Strikes/Lockouts):
If the local decides to proceed with the complaint, it is submitted directly to the staff assigned to the Judicial Council. Options for voluntary resolution may be discussed. If there is no voluntary resolution the case then follows the steps as outlined above.
- Complaints with respect to alleged violations of 44.20 (Collective Strategies): If the local decides to proceed with the complaint, it is submitted to the BCTF Executive Committee for consideration. If the BCTF Executive Committee deems the circumstances are appropriate and it is not contrary to the best interests of the Federation, the local will be advised that it may submit a complaint to the BCTF Judicial Council. The case then follows the steps as outlined above.