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Education aid for visible minorities staff not discriminatory, board rules.

Ottawa -- Karen Myers, a correctional officer in Kingston, ON, argued unsuccessfully that a Correctional Services of Canada policy designed to boost the education of visible minorities was a violation of the collective agreement. The rejection was made at the Public Service Relations Board rejected Myers argument that the CSC actions were neither arbitrary nor discriminatory.

Myers, who had begun part-time study for a degree in criminology, applied for financial support when she learned in 2002 that visible minority employees could receive 100% support in lieu of salary for educational upgrading. She was turned down because she is a visible minority member.

The CSC used its discretion to offer her 50% support while she completed the last five credits for her degree on a full-time basis. She turned the offer down and completed her degree part-time.

The employee has been with Correctional Services of Canada since 1995. On Aug. 6, 2002, she filed a grievance after being told she was not eligible to receive 100 per cent of her salary while on leave studying but the CSC would give her a discretional allowance of 50%. Meyer turned this down and continued working on her degree part-time. She and the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers launched an appeal to the Public Service Relations Board.

The Board ruled that the CSC discretion on educational allowances is not limited under the collective bargaining agreement; that favouring visible minorities was not discriminatory Under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

* Clause 32.02: At the employer's discretion, an employee on education leave without pay may receive an allowance in lieu of salary of up to 100 per cent. The decision to grant such an allowance is made by the employer, depending on the degree to which the education is deemed to be relevant to organizational requirements.
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Title Annotation:GENERAL
Publication:Community Action
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 23, 2005
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