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Course Descriptions

(Note: Only courses listed on education program schedules are available) 




Introduces members to the PSAC and prepares them for more advanced union education. It provides an historical and structural overview of the union, introduces participants to the collective agreement and gives them a chance for hands-on practice in problem-solving.


Gives new shop stewards essential knowledge for handling Level I Grievances. Participants gain a better understanding of how to work with members at the initial stages of the grievance procedure and how to mobilize members around workplace problems.

Open to: All members, and new Local Stewards are encouraged to apply.
Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent.

Learning Objectives for Basic Duty to Accommodate Course (1 Day):

By the end of the session, participants will:

  • Examine the basic principles of the Duty to Accommodate
  • Understand the legislation and jurisprudence that created the current context for our work on the Duty to Accommodate
  • Explore the employer’s obligations, the union’s role and the rights and responsibilities of workers



By the end of this activity, participants will develop an understanding of the importance of lobbying as a means of influencing the political system.



Learn and practice the skills necessary to meet with elected officials and deliver your message to them.  Face to face meetings with MPs, MPPs, and city counsellors are the most effective way of creating change.

By the end of this one-day course, participants will:

  • Develop an understanding of the importance of lobbying as a means of influencing the political system;
  • Practice lobbying skills through group roleplay.

Open to: All members


Introduction to Employment Equity (2 days)  

By the end of the course participants will:

better understand the principles behind employment equity

understand how employment equity works

be able to defend employment equity and address commonly held myths about employment equity

understand the union’s role in employment equity

be able to take action to support employment equity



Gives Local Officers essential knowledge for upholding their Local responsibilities and building a strong union. Participants learn:

  • how an effective Local functions;
  • roles and responsibilities of the Local Executive;
  • how Executives can work well as a team, engage members, and
  • deal effectively with management.

This basic course is a prerequisite for the Advanced Local Officers Training.


The basic Introduction for Local Officers course is a prerequisite for the Advanced Local Officers Training.

By the end of this course Participants will be able to:

  • Identify important Local issues/responsibilities that require funding
  • Analyze existing Local budgets and financial statements to determine if priority issues have appropriate funding
  • Explain the purpose of Local by-laws and analyze existing by-laws to determine if they are satisfactory and develop a plan to create/amend/update their Local by-laws
  • Define the Duty of Fair Representation and be familiar with case law and the legislation and describe the major actions Locals need to take in discharging this duty
  • Explain what the law says about rights and protections for members and their union representatives with respect to union activity and identify workplace strategies for preserving and enhancing our union rights
  • Name and apply the key features of the Union’s Policy on Harassment as it relates to representation and identify the Local’s structure and processes to deal with harassment complaints
  • Identify the reasons for conducting membership meetings and analyze what attracts members to meetings and encourage membership interest and participation and look at alternatives
  • Identify the administrative tasks and procedures involved in running a local and prioritize and decide who is responsible
  • Identify the importance of maintaining a membership list and implement a process
  • Identify the steps in planning a budget and the main items in a budget
  • Identify the essential elements of effective minutes and reports and write clear and concise minutes and reports
  • Plan a workplace action that increases Local membership participation
  • Describe how our union organizes internally to bargain collectively and describe a barrier-free bargaining process and identify a list of activities Locals can organize to support the bargaining team and to improve the collective agreement


Representing and Advocating Against Workplace Racism (2 Days)

Course Objectives:

At the end of this course, members will:


More about racism and racial discrimination

What to anticipate in racial discrimination situations

Options for addressing racial discrimination


Prepared to intervene effectively in racial discrimination cases

Able to advocate and represent on race discrimination grievances

Be able to:

Support racialized members who are victims of racism

Carry out their responsibilities in ensuring our members’ workplaces are free of racism

Identify appropriate means of resolving workplace racial discrimination situations


OPEN TO: Stewards, Local Officers, Anti-Racism Advocates and Human Rights Activists. Graduates of the Advanced Representation Training for Stewards course (ARTS) and the Advanced Human Rights Activism (AHRA) course are encouraged to apply.

Prerequisite: Participants must take the two day Core Grievance Handling course OR have equivalent grievance handling experience OR have had experience in anti-racism advocacy (workplace or community).

This course assumes that participants know basic concepts around human rights and grievance handling. Participants who have grievance handling experience but limited human rights experience should take the PSAC on-line course “Human Rights are Workers’ Rights”. Participants with human rights experiences and limited grievance handling experiences should take the PSAC on-line course “Grievances and Representation Primer”.





Level 1 provides front-line advocacy skills to union members. Participants will receive an insight into the operations of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, as well as an understanding of the rights and obligations of injured workers. At the end of the training, participants will be able to assist injured workers in the steps of filing claims, completing forms, receiving benefits and service entitlements, and accident prevention protocols.

Open to: All members. Of particular interest to Shop Stewards, Local Executive Members, Health and Safety Committee Members and Injured Workers.


The purpose of this two day course is to provide information and enforcement tools to PSAC Local executives, Health and Safety Committees and Local Stewards on the Canada Labour Code Part II requirements as it relates to violence prevention as well as its applicable regulations.

This one day course will provide stewards with information and tools to effectively represent members with mental illness.

Course Objectives: 
- Introduction to mental health in the workplace

- Improve our language and open our minds to the evolving respectful language

- Understand your role and responsibilities in representing members with mental health issue

- Understand the employer’s responsibilities related to mental health accommodation in the workplace

- Build on resource file of websites, employee assistance programs and community support to educate ourselves and assist our members



On day one, participants will; look at power relationships and how they affect the workplace, identify ways of effectively working across diversity, identify elements that make up a respectful workplace, discuss what is needed in order to establish and maintain a more respectful workplace, and identify and practice skills and methods for dealing effectively with workplace conflict.

On day two, participants will; define harassment and bullying and the impact they have at work, look at policies, processes and the legal framework that governs harassment in the workplace, identify measures for preventing workplace harassment as well as formal and informal recourse routes, outline the roles and responsibilities of the parties in dealing with workplace harassment, be able to identify when harassment occurs and work through some effective strategies for dealing with workplace harassment when it occurs.



The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent is a prerequisite for all Advanced programs. (Some courses offered regularly in context of the Ontario School)



The goals of the course are to promote the Alliance Facilitators' Network and strengthen PSAC locals through workplace and local-based union education. The AFTP develops members' skills and self-confidence to undertake union education activities within their locals, their Components, and their regions. Participants explore how to identify learning needs, set learning objectives, facilitate discussions and develop workshops and seminars. Through practical exercises, participants learn how to choose and use various techniques and aids and how to foster positive group dynamics. They also learn the principles of popular and adult education and the elements of an effective learning experience.


Prerequisite: The TALKING UNION BASICS (TUB) course or equivalent. 



Advanced Representation Training for Stewards (ARTS) (4 Days)

 By the end of this course you will:

  • Clearly outline the role and responsibilities of Stewards in the union and the workplace and feel confident in fulfilling those duties
  • Develop Stewards as problem solvers, organizers and effective communicators
  • Review the legal context in which stewards operate
  • Identify resources that Stewards can avail themselves of
  • Explore trends and emerging issues that Stewards will likely be exposed to
  • Further develop representation skills including; interviewing, note-taking, file-keeping, fact-finding, problem-solving and case analysis, and grievance representation
  • Be able to manage member expectations regarding the grievance process
  • Fully outline and put into practice, the steps and processes involved in filing a grievance and taking it to its final conclusion

You are encouraged to request Leave with Pay from your Employer. This course includes skills development in leadership and problem-solving.

Open to: Experienced and New Local Stewards. Directly Chartered Local Stewards are encouraged to apply.
Pre-requisites include: Talking Union Basics, Grievance Handling (recommended 36 to 6 months prior to the course), *Tier 1 Steward Series, and some experience representing members with management


*Tier 1 Steward Series online modules are found here: http://psacunion.ca/stewards-series-training


Each online course takes 45-60 minutes to complete. (The classroom equivalents are 1.5-3 hours in length.)

  •   Why Unions?
  •   Role of Stewards
  •   Building our Union
  •   Steward as Problem-solvers
  •   Grievances: An Overview
  •   Human Rights in the Workplace




The course is designed for union members interested in developing their skills, knowledge and attitudes to become human rights activists in their union, workplace and community. Participants will be able to develop basic strategies and identify appropriate union and community resources to respond to discrimination, harassment and inequities in the workplace and in the union; develop a plan to apply the learning from the course to their work setting, union and community; network and work collaboratively with other human rights activists in the union/community and to share information and resources in your union and in your region. You will participate in specific modules on Racism, Aboriginal Awareness, Pride, and Disability Awareness. You will explore the meaning of power as it relates to issues of human rights. You will develop a model of activism for human rights work and struggles. Members who apply for this course must be supportive of PSAC Policy Statements on human rights issues including employment equity, sexual orientation, anti-racism, Aboriginal Workers, disability issues, and PSAC Anti-Harassment Policies.

Open to: Local Executive Officers, Stewards, Human Rights Activists including Community Activists, Local/Regional Human Rights/Equity Committee Members including members of Joint Equity/Human Rights Committees, Component Officers

Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent.



We are affected by decisions of many levels of government as workers, voters and consumers. Political and Social Action provides an opportunity for you to think seriously about the kind of government we want and the kind of society we want to build together. If you are interested in political action - working with others in the workplace or community, between elections or during election campaigns - this may be the course for you. Topics include direct action, working with the media, coalition building, the political system, defending public services, creating membership awareness, lobbying elected representatives, use of the Internet in relation to social and political action, mobilization techniques, globalization and trade.

Prerequisite: The TALKING UNION BASICS (TUB) course or equivalent.

By the end of this course participants will be able to:
• identify discrimination in workplace culture, practices, policies and procedures;
• define the current meaning and context of workplace accommodation;
• act on their legal accommodation rights;
• explain the effect of accessing legal routes on workplace accommodation;
• identify the elements of a good workplace accommodation policy;
• identify workplace barriers to the full participation of persons from equality seeking groups;
• identify measures that promote the full participation of equality seeking groups in the workplace
• identify essential elements of return to work programs;
• understand the links between return to work programs and the duty to accommodate;
• begin the process of developing pro-active strategies to support inclusive workplaces for the “returning worker”.

Open to: Human Rights Activists, Members of Equity Committees, Health and Safety Activists, WSIB Advocates, Members of Return to Work Committees.
You must request Leave With Pay from your Employer as Duty to Accommodate is an Employer Responsibility.

Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent.

This intensive 4 day course clarifies what is harassment and examines roles and responsibilities under union and employer policies. You will learn how to implement and apply PSAC Anti-Harassment Policy 23A: The Workplace.  You will review alternate processes to resolve complaints, what to expect from an employer investigation, and the Duty of Fair Representation. You will learn how to conduct a local investigation. By the end of the course, participants should have a good working knowledge of PSAC anti-harassment policies and be able to help create harassment-free workplaces.

Open to: All Members including Local Stewards responsible for handling harassment complaints, Harassment Complaint Coordinators, Component and Alliance Officers.

Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent.

Level I: Occupational Health and Safety Training
This course will provide participants with a basic level of occupational health and safety awareness including hazard recognition and the legal rights and responsibilities of all workplace parties. It’s also designed to build participant confidence and encourage active involvement in workplace health and safety initiatives. The Level I program consists of seven (7) core modules

  1. Body in the Workplace
  2. Workplace Toxins
  3. Principles Of Control
  4. Behavior Based Safety
  5. OHS Training Level 1
  6. We Are One Voice
  7. When The Body Hurts
  8. Workplace Violence and Harassment or Stress in the Workplace
  9. Indoor Air
  10. Critical Incident and Post Traumatic Stress

Open to: PSAC members who are either members of the Joint Health & Safety Committees or are workplace Health & Safety Representatives. The course is open to members from both the provincial and the federal labour jurisdiction.
Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) course is strongly recommended.
Loss Of Salary: Applicants must request Salary Replacement by your Employer as H&S is an Employer obligation.



The goal of the course is to build a better union, better workplaces and a better society by encouraging and supporting active PSAC women in their struggle for fairness, equality and social justice. By the end of the course participants will:

· Know about the herstory and current work of the labour and social justice movements;

· Know about the fragility of the movements’ gains, especially in the current economic and political context;

· Feel part of a movement for change, for equality and for social justice;

· Feel increased confidence in their skills and knowledge;

· be able to work strategically with other activists;

· be able to take on a leadership role in the PSAC, in their workplaces and in their communities.

 Prerequisite: The Talking Union Basics (TUB) or its equivalent.


This course is for PSAC members who:

  • are ready to work as an Ally in solidarity with Aboriginal Peoples in their union, workplace and community;
  • have completed the TUB (Talking Union Basics) course or the NAPC (National Aboriginal Peoples’ Circle) course
  • would like to learn more about the issues facing Aboriginal workers;
  • want to challenge barriers to diversity within the union and workplace.

Course Overview:

The Unionism on Turtle Island course will bring together up to 20 PSAC members from across the Ontario Region for an intense five days of talking, learning, laughing, questioning and supporting each other. Participants will explore the history of oppression and resistance, Aboriginal issues at the bargaining table, creating a representative workforce, and opening the union to Aboriginal activists.  This course will provide a comfortable and supportive environment in which participants can explore their attitudes, ideas and questions.  Participants will develop strategies to encourage solidarity and build the union.





Newly Elected Council Members will:

  • Know how to work together as a Council, cross committees and within committees by describing an art of hosting work model
  • Identify roles of RO Staff and Council Members
  • Describe decision-making models for working in Council, in Committees, and with RO Staff
  • Identify good meeting practices
  • Be able to use a reporting form for Committees and Council Members and a proposal form
  • Know the finances of Ontario Regional Council including expenses and budgets 
  • Deepen our anti-oppression perspective on human rights
  • Explore roles and responsibilities and mandates of Regional Council Members and Regional Committees
  • Be able to talk to the media

Open to: All Council Members of the newly elected Ontario Regional Council (every three years after the Ontario Convention)



Union Development Program (UDP) is an in-residence course that prepares union activists to assume leadership roles in the union

and the broader labour and social justice movements. It covers union leadership at the workplace, labour’s role in society, and leadership in
action.  This course is 6 levels for a period of up to 10 months

Leadership Program (3 Days) is offered once every three years and is open to elected Component National Officers, Regional Council members,
National Aboriginal People’s Circle and National Human Rights Committee members. It provides a forum where union leaders can gather and hone their knowledge and skills in service of the union.