Variable Shift Schedule Arrangements (VSSA)

On this page:

Welcome to the Variable Shift Scheduling Arrangements guide, which provides instructions, guidelines and tools to help CIU Branches negotiate VSSAs for their members. The information presented is intended as a guide, and may change to reflect new developments. Please contact a CIU Labour Relations Officer should you have any questions.

VSSAs in the Collective Agreement

Variable Shift Scheduling Arrangements are covered under Articles 25.24 through 25.27, as well as Appendix B, of the FB Collective Agreement.

How to Establish a VSSA

Instructions for Members

Contact your Branch President if you are thinking of negotiating a VSSA (new or renegotiating existing). Only the Branch President can appoint a VSSA Committee. Please refer to the Process Map below to establish a new VSSA in your workplace.

Instructions for Branch President

  • Refer to the Process Map below and the Collective Agreement (Articles 25.24 through 25.27 and Appendix B).
  • Appoint a VSSA committee. An ideal committee consists of: Someone who is good at building a schedule, someone who is familiar with the clauses to be contained in the VSSA agreement, and someone who will be comfortable negotiating with management. The Branch President is also an ex-officio member of the committee.
  • The VSSA is negotiated between CIU and the employer. The person(s) negotiating the VSSA should be the Branch President or a delegate authorized to speak for the Branch.
  • Poll the membership to determine if they want a VSSA or if they want to change their current VSSA and, if so, what conditions they want included.
  • Educate members regarding the process and potential outcomes.
  • Approach management to see if they are willing to entertain VSSA negotiations.
  • Keep the National VP informed of the process.
  • Send final VSSA proposal to the Labour Relations Officer in the CIU National Office prior to submitting it to management.

Instructions for VSSA Committees

  • Refer to the Process Map below and the Collective Agreement (Articles 25.24 through 25.27 and Appendix B).
  • Ensure that all committee members are aware of their specific roles.
  • Communicate continually with Branch President.
  • Poll the membership to determine if they want a VSSA or if they want to change their current VSSA and, if so, what conditions they want included.
  • Educate members regarding the process and potential outcomes.
  • Approach management to see if they are willing to entertain VSSA negotiations.
  • Use other working schedules & written agreements as resource tools to create the schedule(s) that reflect(s) the wants/needs of the members. Be inclusive.
  • Ensure that votes at every stage are conducted properly and documented.

Example of Questionnaire to Poll the Membership

  • Preamble: Answers to this questionnaire will provide guidance for the initial stages of deciding on VSSA suitability. Please note that there are VSSA parameters to respect, such as 300 hrs/8 weeks, and that no VSSA is going to meet everyone’s preferences.
  • 1- Would you prefer to work a VSSA over a standard shift schedule?
  • 2- How important is your schedule in relation to your work/life balance: 1 (very) to 10 (not at all)?
  • 3- Rate the following shifts in order of preference; 1 being most preferred.
  • ***Include a list of shifts as part of your questionnaire!***
  • 4- How important are getting Saturdays & Sundays off together?
  • 5- Would you prefer rotating shifts or static shifts?

Process Map

Please refer to the following Process Map (which provides information on both the informal process and the informal process) to negotiate a VSSA.

VSSA Examples

The following examples are provided to illustrate what a final VSSA schedule can look like. Note that the table below is not exhaustive, and some arrangements may no longer be in effect. This table is solely intended for our members to have a sampling of different Variable Shift Schedule Arrangements signed across the country. Some VSSA documents provided below are currently only available in their original official language.

Note: Use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the table.

Port NameMaster Shift ScheduleType of OperationHours of OperationNumber of BSOsDays ON/OFFBalance PeriodDays ON/ 56 daysShift LengthMeal Period LengthTotal Shift LengthWeekends Off (Full)
Andover, NBAndover, NB.pdfLand24105/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days3290.59.52
Carievale, SKCarievale, SK.pdfLand – Traffic1363/3//2/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2412.50.5134
Coulter, MBCoulter, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1353/2//2/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2412.50.5135
Fort Erie, ONPeace Bridge Traffic Operations – Immigration.pdfLand – Traffic / Immigration2485/3600 hrs / 112 days358.50.592
Fort Erie, ONPeace Bridge Traffic Operations – Immigration.pdfLand – Traffic / Immigration24243/3//2/4600 hrs / 112 days2311.50.5123
Goodlands, MBGoodlands, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1352/3//2/2//3/4 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2412.50.5135
Gretna, MBGretna, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1473/4 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2413.50.5144
Hamilton, ONHamilton Air.pdfAir24165/3300 hrs / 56 days35   2
Hamilton, ONHamilton Air.pdfAir24122/2//3/2300 hrs / 56 days27   4
Hamilton, ONHamilton Air-Marine.pdfAir / Marine – Traffic / Commercial24322/2/3//2/3/256 days2611.5 hours (22 shifts) + 11.75 hours (4 shifts)0.512 hours (22 shifts) + 12.15 hours (4 shifts)4
Lena, MBLena, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1363/4 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2412.50.5134
Lyleton, MBLyleton, MB.pdfLand – Traffic / Commercial135varied 2512.50.5135
Northgate, SKNorthgate, SK.pdfLand – Traffic1363/4//2/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2412.50.5134
Patterson, BCPatterson, MB.pdfLand – Traffic24124/4 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2711.120.88123
Piney, MBPiney, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1363/4300 hrs / 56 days248.50.594
Queenston Bridge , ONQueenston Bridge, ON.pdfLand – Commercial24165/3 Mod1500 hrs /280 days 8.50.59 
Queenston Bridge , ONQueenston Bridge, ON.pdfLand – Commercial24643/4 Mod1500 hrs /280 days 11.50.512 
Rainbow Bridge, ONRainbow Bridge, ON.pdfLand – Traffic24405/3 Mod900 hrs /168 days 8.50.59 
Rainbow Bridge, ONRainbow Bridge, ON.pdfLand – Traffic24523/4 Mod900 hrs /168 days 11.50.512 
Regway, SKRegway, SK.pdfLand – Traffic24125/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days358.50.59 
Sarnia, ONSarnia – Travellers Operations.pdfLand – Traffic24503/2//2/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2611.50.5124
Sarnia, ONSarnia – Commercial Examination Team.pdfLand – Commercial24223/2//2/3 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2611.50.5124
South Junction, MBSouth Junction, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1685/3300 hrs / 56 days358.50.592
Tolstoi, MBTolstoi, MB.pdfLand – Traffic1473/3//3/4//3/6 Mod300 hrs / 56 days2813.50.5144
Windsor Bridge, ONWindsor Bridge, ON.pdfLand – Traffic2470varied300 hrs / 56 days 11.50.512 
Windsor Bridge, ON (offsite)Windsor Bridge, ON – offsite.pdf 2439varied300 hrs / 56 days 11.50.512 
Windsor Bridge, ON (onsite)Windsor Bridge, ON – onsite.pdf 2493varied300 hrs / 56 days 11.50.512 
Windsor Tunnel, ONWindsor – Tunnel Traffic.pdfLand  - Traffic2480varied300 hrs / 56 days 11.5