Collective bargaining negotiations can be a daunting task. Whether you’re negotiating a first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or a renewal CBA, this section is designed to assist you in preparing for and throughout the bargaining process.

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To begin the process, either party (the union or the employer) may provide notice to bargain to the other party. This can be done prior to the expiry of your current collective agreement (typically up to 90 days prior to expiry) or at any time following certification in the event of a first collective agreement.

What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining is a set of negotiations that take place between the employer and a union, collectively certified to represent a group of your employees. The task is to conclude a mutually acceptable collective agreement.

For non-profit organizations we add that this must be a “sustainable” collective agreement as well.

What is a statutory freeze?

Once notice to bargain has been served (or upon notice of certification for a first collective agreement), a statutory freeze is in place. This means that the employer cannot make changes to the terms and conditions of employment once notice to bargain has been provided (up until the parties are in a legal work stoppage position – a strike or lockout). The employer still has the right to operate its business during this time.

What is a collective agreement?

A signed, written agreement between the employee and the union representing a group of your employees that contains provisions outlining the terms and conditions of employment for employees in the designated bargaining unit.

Obligations during bargaining

Both parties have a duty to Bargain in “Good Faith”. Under Section 17, the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA) imposes a duty on the parties to bargain in good faith which mean that both the union and the employer must make every reasonable effort to enter into a collective agreement.

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Correspondence & Communications

Correspondence and communications that are often required of unionized organizations