What Is the Staff Relations Service?Top of page

The Staff Relations Service (SRS) is a facilitation service that provides active members of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) with a non-legal mechanism for resolving problems in staff relations. Operated under an agreement between the ATA and the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS), the SRS functions independently of either organization. The ATA supervises and pays the cost of operating the SRS and appoints the director (currently Val Riewe). The services of the SRS are available at no cost to active members of the ATA and CASS.

How Does the SRS Work?Top of page

  • An active member of the ATA or CASS alerts the ATA about a problem in staff relations that is impeding a cohesive working environment in a school. In some cases, ATA staff may identify situations that have the potential to be resolved through facilitation.
  • The ATA's Coordinator of Member Services reviews the case to determine whether it meets the following criteria:
    • The members have made reasonable efforts to resolve the concern internally and on an informal basis.
    • The members reasonably believe that the concern can be rectified through facilitation rather than through formal discipline or grievance procedures.
    • The members are willing to have their identities revealed.
    • The members agree to sign a legal undertaking not to use knowledge gained during the facilitation process or the results of an SRS investigation in any subsequent proceedings that they might undertake.
  • If the case meets the criteria, the Coordinator of Member Services may refer it to the director of the SRS.
  • MS coordinator assigns an MSSO to meet with the school ATA members.
  • MSSO contacts the school principal to arrange a meeting date.
  • MSSO meets with the school ATA members. The MSSO explains the SRS process. The school ATA members are informed that beyond the MSSO's determination of the merits of a SRS, no further involvement of the Association occurs, i.e. that the SRS is an independent body intent on facilitating a process of resolution. At the conclusion of the presentation the MSSO asks the teaching staff to identify whether they will be parties to the process through a confidential vote.
  • Staff present at the meeting are provided a copy of the consent/intake form. No intake forms will be collected at this meeting as the MSSO is not part of the process. MSSO will confirm that there is/is not a willingness to proceed with the SRS.
  • The MSSO reports back to the coordinator if there is or is not a willingness to proceed
  • A letter is sent to the SRS director and superintendent of schools by the MS coordinator to confirm the SRS request.The director of the SRS appoints a team of at least two individuals (one CASS appointee and one ATA appointee) to work with the school staff. These appointees are drawn from a panel of 15 retired teachers and administrators (10 appointed by the ATA and five appointed by CASS) who have been specifically trained for this purpose. If the number of staff involved or the nature of the matter requires additional team members, the director may add more ATA appointees to the facilitation team.
  • The director of the SRS makes the necessary arrangements with the district and school administration.
  • Facilitators will ascertain if the ATA staff members requesting assistance are supportive of the process and willing and able to participate; if there are other staff members that would be appropriate to be involved in the process.
    • Signed intake forms are collected.
    • The process begins with those present that are prepared to proceed.
    • Additional meetings are set as needed.The process may carry-over into the following school year.

      The SRS panel can arrange a follow-up meeting with the staff to gauge progress; this is negotiated with the staff.
  • SRS facilitators advise SRS director that the process has been concluded. SRS director informs the MS coordinator and superintendent of schools by letter that the process has been concluded.
  • Records of the meetings are collected by the lead facilitator and are properly destroyed and a records management destruction certificate is completed. The MS coordinator receives the signed intake/consent forms and the destruction certificate.
  • No written documentation is retained other than the written request, intake forms, destruction certificate, letter from MS coordinator to SRS director and letters from SRS director to MS coordinator and superintendent of schools.

What If the SRS Does Not Resolve the Issue?Top of page

In the event that the SRS process does not resolve the dispute successfully, the individuals involved continue to have all the same options open to them as before the process began. The only caveat—and an extremely important one—is that they must agree to keep the proceedings confidential and to refrain from using any knowledge gained during the process in any subsequent proceedings.