Course Catalogue

The PSAC is proud to offer its members a union education program that ranks among the best and most comprehensive within the Canadian labour movement. Our various courses provide members with learning opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and personal confidence. Union education encourages participation and promotes mutual respect and understanding between members and the union leadership. A trained membership is an active membership and active members build a strong union.  

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

You can view our Advanced Courses here and our PSAC Steward Series here.


Racism and Our Labour Movement (2 days)

Understanding Historical Legacies and Addressing Current Challenges

In this two-day pilot course, members will review key moments and often forgotten histories of racial exclusion in Canada’s labour movement. Members will explore contemporary manifestations of anti-Black racism and racism in the labour market and our labour movement. We will reflect on how the persistence of such racism impacts racialized workers and their communities and also undermines our collective capacity to advance social democracy, social justice and economic liberation of the working class. To win for workers we must build solidarity through racial justice. Participants will discuss how racialized trade unionists can organize and mobilize to advance racial justice and how white/non-racialized trade unionists can support, be allies and collaborators in efforts for racial justice. Participants will be connected to important groups and initiatives advancing racial justice at various levels and make an action plan for themselves on advancing the work of racial justice in their own life, in their union, and in society at large.

Racism and Our Labour Movement is an Introductory (Basic) course with no pre-requisite.

Trans Rights & Inclusion at a Critical Moment (1 day)

Deepening our Understanding of Gender and Sexuality and Combatting the Rise of Organized Transphobia

This one-day pilot course aims to help members understand the rise of organized transphobia, which has grown rapidly in recent years spurred on by the emboldening of the far right and as part of a larger “Conservative Countermovement” against social progress. The course will provide an introductory understanding around sexual and gender diversity, gender identities, gender expression and sexuality. Through looking at media representation, histories of colonization and a recognition of the diverse experiences of queerness, this course will provide practical strategies on how members can advance Trans and 2SGLBTQIA+ inclusion in our workplaces, unions and communities​. Lastly, this course will help members understand how combatting 2SGLBTQIA+ hate is essential to building a progressive workers’ movement that can win liberation for all.

Trans Rights & Inclusion at a Critical Moment is an Introductory (Basic) course with no pre-requisite.

Politics For Everyone (2 days)

Did you ever wonder why Unions are involved in politics? Did you ever hear people say that you should be involved in politics? Did you ever wonder if politics is really as important as many people says it is?

Politics for Everyone is a great course for you!

We are affected by decisions of many levels of government as workers, voters and consumers. Politics for Everyone provides an opportunity to think about all those issues and for you to think seriously about the kind of government we want and the kind of society we want to build together.

Politics for Everyone is an Introductory (Basic) course with no pre-requisite.

Talking Union Basics (TUB – 2 Days)

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.  

Our Communities, Our Union, Our Rights”: An Introduction to PSAC for Indigenous Members (NIPC- Talking Union Basics)

The NIPC course is for members who have had little or no exposure to their union and would like to learn more about it.

During the course participants will learn:

• the role of the union in advancing Indigenous rights in the workplace, the union, and our communities;

• resources and decision-making in the PSAC;

• how to become more active in the PSAC through local, regional and national structures.

Grievance Handling (GH – 2 Days)

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.

Duty to Accommodate (1 Day)

This training is a must for Local Officers and other workplace representatives. You will learn what the law says about the Duty to Accommodate and how this law is applied in the workplace. These rights and our ability to enforce these rights have serious ramifications for the Members, the Union, and the Employer.Learning Objectives: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

Lobbying Workshop (3 Hours)

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

Lobbying Training (1 Day)

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

Lobbying Training (2 Days)

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.  We will also discuss speaking to the media and effective letter-writing campaigns.  We will focus on protecting pensions and the Phoenix debacle.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
Prerequisite:  N/A
By the end of the course participants will:

Introduction to Employment Equity (2 Days)  

  • 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

Introduction for Local Officers Training (LOT) (2 Days)

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. 

Local Officers Advanced Training (2 Days)

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 know:

  • 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”.  

Occupational Disability Response Team (ODRT) Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) LEVEL 1 – Rights & Obligations (2 Days)

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.

Violence Prevention Course (2 Days)

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.

Representing Members with Mental Health Disabilities (1 Day)

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

PSAC Respectful Workplace – Anti-Harassment Course (2 Days)

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.  

You can view our Advanced Courses here and our PSAC Steward Series here.