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Labour Relations

Stable and Fair workplaces

The Ministry’s objective in the area of labour relations is to foster, support and maintain a balanced and stable labour relations environment throughout the Province. Activities in this program involve developing and implementing policies, strategies and services that promote fair, balanced and productive labour relations in Ontario workplaces. The key activity is the effective delivery of neutral dispute resolution and education services to the unionized sectors of the province. Stable labour relations are critical to the economy as well as to the government’s ability to deliver results in its key services of health care, education and other public services. The Premier has specifically expressed that the ministry is to uphold and respect the collective bargaining process with the goal of maintaining a respectful labour relations climate for both employers and unions.

To this end, the Labour Relations Solutions Division (LRSD) is focusing on maintaining stability in the broader public sector. LRSD will closely monitor labour relations in the Education and Energy sectors for the current rounds of bargaining, and assist the education sector in maintaining awareness of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, which provided an alternative and rationalized bargaining model.

The introduction of this new legislation is unique and it is anticipated that considerable demands for LRSD support may be required for multi-level bargaining at central and local tables. The Government will officially sit as a legislated participant at the bargaining table.

LRSD will build on its work to develop a framework for centralized bargaining for the Developmental Services sector, and will continue to engage key partners in Children’s Aid Societies in discussions as part of this process. Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) will begin preliminary work with Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) construction bargaining agents prior to the commencement of the 2016 construction industry bargaining cycle, in addition to providing assistance to bargaining parties of the Energy sectors.

The ministry will continue to be involved in the review of legislation to reflect the changing workplace that would provide a central bargaining process and a possible amendment to the Labour Relations Act.

Dispute Resolution Services (DRS)

DRS provides a number of services to employers and unions including neutral, third party conciliation and mediation services for parties in collective bargaining; appointment of arbitrators in rights and interest arbitrations; provision of up-to-date, accurate and quality collective bargaining information for all industries and sectors to support modernized collective bargaining; and, use of a cost recovery model to provide grievance mediation services, workshops and training to employers and unions in “best practices” for collective bargaining and building effective relationships in the workplace.