PSAC Advanced Course Descriptions

Here is a list of advanced courses offered by the PSAC. They are usually held ‘in residence’ and last 3-4 days.

PSAC Advanced/Region-wide Course Descriptions

Here is a list of the advanced and region-wide offered in the PSAC BC Region. They are usually held ‘in-residence’ and last 2, 3 or 4 days. Most of these courses have pre-requisites. They are open to any PSAC member in good standing in BC who meets the pre-requisites.

Selection Process: Usually, participant selections for advanced and region-wide courses will be made with a view to having equitable representation from components, directly chartered locals, geographic areas, young workers and the five equity seeking groups (women, 2SLGBTQIA+ members, racially visible members, Indigenous members, and members with disabilities). Consideration will also be given to past and present union, community and social justice activism. This process is subject to applicants meeting the pre-requisites.

Advanced – BC Region

Advanced Duty to Accommodate: Accommodating Members with Disabilities (ADTA) (2 Days)

The goal of the Advanced Duty to Accommodate course is to develop our union’s ability to provide effective representation on the duty to accommodate members with disabilities, at the Local level. This course is for PSAC union representatives (stewards, local officers, etc.) who have either:

  • training on and experience with representing members with disabilities and/or with the duty to accommodate; and/or
  • some union training (or equivalent experience) directly related to representing members in the workplace.

By the end of the course, participants will

Know when the duty to accommodate becomes applicable; the different processes involving workplace accommodation for members with disabilities i.e. Disability benefits, return to work (RTW), Workers’ Compensation and injury on duty (IOD), health and safety provisions, and medical assessment;

Feel more confident when dealing with some of the challenges and key issues related to duty to accommodate members with disabilities (i.e.; mental health disabilities, multiple disabilities and other oppressions and harassment); they have the tools and information needed to effectively represent members requiring accommodation in the workplace;

Be Able To apply the legal definition of discrimination and accommodation in the workplace; identify proactive accommodation measures for the workplace; name various recourse mechanisms for members requiring accommodation.


  • PSAC members in good standing who have completed a Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent.
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have also completed a Grievance Handling (GH) course and/or a Duty to Accommodate (DTA) course or their equivalents and who have experience representing members in the workplace.

Advanced Local Officers Training (ALOT) (4 days)

Please note: The ALOT is open to Stewards and Local Officers.

Are you a Local Officer and/or Steward? Are you interested in finding new ways to make your local executive function more efficiently? Do you want to gain tools and knowledge that will help you develop leadership, problem-solving and mobilization skills? Do you want to meet and network with other members from across the region and share skills and experiences? Then the Advanced Local Officers Training (ALOT) is the course for you!

“Strong and effective Locals are the building blocks of our Union. They are essential to having a mobilized membership. Education is critical to the development of strong and effective Locals.” National Board of Directors (NBoD)

The ALOT is an advanced, in-residence course that is geared specifically towards Local Officers and Stewards. The ALOT will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the tools necessary to run effective locals and provide you with the skills needed to be a successful union activist.

Course content includes the role of the local executive, strategic planning, local activities, local committees and terms of reference, communicating and recruiting, building an inclusive union, representation issues, local meetings, improving the rights and protections of union representatives and many other topics. Participants will also learn about social activism and how to involve members in the broader labour movement!


  • Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent,
  • Local Officer Training (introductory course), or
  • equivalent experience

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

If you are a PSAC Steward with some experience representing members with management and you want to improve and practice your representational skills, then this course is for you.

The PSAC Advanced Representation Training for Stewards is a four-day, advanced course, with a focus on representation. You will look at various routes for engaging members in helping them to resolve workplace issues. You will deepen your knowledge of the processes and legal framework of grievance handling and what is needed from you to support the PSAC’s representation of members at all levels of the grievance process, up to arbitration/adjudication. Using case studies based on grievances that have been to arbitration, you will practice steps in the grievance process including; interviewing a member, fact-finding, meeting with management for initial problem-solving, drafting a grievance, preparing for a grievance hearing and representing a member at a grievance hearing.


  • Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent,
  • the PSAC Grievance Handling (GH) course, and
  • experience representing members with management.

Alliance Facilitator Training (AFT) (4 Days)

Are you an educator at heart? Have you always wanted to facilitate workshops or lunch-and-learns for your local? Or maybe you’d like to gain the skills to host a discussion after your Annual General Meeting (AGM)? Do you think education is key to getting members involved in our union?

The BC Region is seeking to create a network of Alliance Facilitators committed to building union engagement through member-to-member education. This course will train members in the principles and practices of varying methods of union education and facilitation. Participants will learn how to deliver short (3 hours or less) workshops that deal with issues of key importance to our members.

Please note! Taking this course involves a long-term commitment. You should only apply if you are willing to take the plunge. After this training, you will undertake a certification process where you will practice your facilitation skills with the support of the PSAC’s Regional Education Officer and Regional Representatives. Once you are certified, you will develop an annual work plan to put your skills into practice.


  • Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent,
  • have equivalent union or community experience

Domestic Violence at Work: PSAC Training for Representatives (DVW) (2 days)

In December 2014, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) released the results of a survey that was developed in collaboration with the Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children, of Western University in Ontario (CREVAWC), on the impact of domestic violence on the lives of workers. The results show that more than 1/3 of workers experience (or have experienced) domestic violence and for over half of those, domestic violence follows them to work.  More than 80% of those experiencing domestic violence said that it impacts their work performance and/or ability to get to work.

Eliminating and advocating to end violence against women has been a longstanding priority for PSAC members. Several resolutions on this issue have been adopted throughout the years. At the 2015 PSAC National Triennial Convention, members adopted a resolution to develop a domestic violence education training program. This course is a result of the action of members to bring this issue forward as a workplace and union issue.

If you are willing to take on advocacy and referral for members in the workplace who are experiencing domestic violence, we invite you to apply for this course. Participants will receive information and training on how to deliver short awareness presentations to other members on the topic of domestic violence in the workplace. There will be support worker(s) available throughout the course.

By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  1. explain why domestic violence is a workplace issue and what the union can do to support members who experience domestic violence
  2. identify the role and responsibilities of the parties with regards to supporting someone in the workplace who experiences domestic violence
  3. recognize the signs, in the workplace, that someone might be experiencing domestic violence
  4. support and refer members who experience domestic violence
  5. deliver a short awareness presentation to members, on domestic violence in the workplace


  • Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent.

Unionism on Turtle Island (5 days)

Are you wanting to build meaningful, long-term relationships with and among Indigenous Peoples’ inside and outside of our workplaces, with the aim of supporting decolonization of Indigenous Peoples’ and increasing Indigenous Peoples’ representation at work and in the union? Then we invite you to apply for the Unionism on Turtle Island 5-day course.  This course is open to all PSAC members but is designed for non-Indigenous members who want to learn more about Indigenous issues and who want to work in solidarity with their Indigenous Peoples’ in their locals, workplaces, and communities. This course begins the process of providing a basic awareness of Indigenous Peoples’ history and culture as well as contemporary issues.


  • Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent.

 Unions Work for Women (UWW) (4 Days)

60% of PSAC members are women and the numbers of women in leadership positions are increasing every year. This course will help participants continue the momentum of building real equality in our Union and in our communities. Participants will explore our herstory and understand the importance of a feminist analysis in ensuring our collective agreements, our union structures and our communities reflect our principles and our goals. We will also develop strategies to advance women’s issues, both locally and globally.

This course is open to PSAC members who self-identify as a woman.


  • the Talking Union Basics (TUB) or Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course or equivalent, or
  • proven activism within the women’s community

 Region-wide – BC:

Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) (2 days)

Are you a First Nations, Inuit or Métis PSAC member who would like to learn more about your union? If yes, we invite you to apply for the PSAC BC Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights: An Introduction to the PSAC for Indigenous Members (OCOUOR) course. (Note: participants must self-identify as an Indigenous person)

The OCOUOR course is for Indigenous PSAC members who have had little or no exposure to their union and would like to learn more about it.  This two-day training will provide members with a way of empowering themselves to effect change in their workplaces, communities and union.

Young, Organizing, Unionizing and Resisting! (Y.O.U.R.) (2 days)

Y.O.U.R. course is a participatory, action-oriented course for PSAC members 35 years of age and under. Participants will meet other young workers to share experiences, discuss and analyze the issues they face at work, in the union, and in society.

Participants will talk about their rights as workers, find out what it means to be in a unionized work environment, and a member of a union like the PSAC. They will also share and learn about global issues and the role of young workers in the dynamic movement for social justice.

Advanced – National:

Union Leadership Development Program (ULDP) (Currently under national review)

The ULDP is an intensive national education program designed to develop the leadership skills of emerging PSAC activists.