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Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference

Edmonton • October 22, 2019
The Westin Edmonton


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CPHR Alberta Continuing Professional Development

CPHR Alberta Continuing Professional Development

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.



 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 1


Peering Past the Pipelines: Alberta's economic forecast for 2020

9:10 AM - 10:30 AM

Neil Hepburn
Economist, Teacher Welfare
Alberta Teachers' Association
Trevor Tombe
Associate Professor, Department of Economics
University of Calgary

Panel Summary

Hampered by trade wars, high levels of personal debt, slack in the labour market, and wild fluctuations in the price of oil (particularly Western Canadian Select), Alberta's economy got off to a rough start in 2019. In this midst of this economic turbulence — and hot off the election trail — the new provincial government appointed a Blue Ribbon Panel to examine Alberta's finances and make recommendations to balance the budget by 2022–2023. In this session, leading economists will discuss the final recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel, assessing whether the assumptions underlying those recommendations are valid and explaining how the government's response to the Panel's report is likely to affect the broader public sector as well as the provincial economy as a whole. Specific issues to be addressed include the following:

  • What recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Panel's final report are likely to have the most significant impact on bargaining and employment in the broader public sector?
  • What key assumptions underlie the Panel's recommendations? For example, did the Panel assume that recent fluctuations in the provincial economy are part of a boom-bust cycle like those Alberta has experienced before, or did the Panel express a belief that the provincial economy is undergoing a more profound change?
  • Did the Panel make the appropriate assumptions? If not, what are the potential consequences for the broader public sector and the province as a whole?
  • Taking into account key economic indicators, the Panel's recommendations, and the government's response to those recommendations, how is Alberta's economy likely to develop in 2020? What are likely to be the key trends in the labour market? Will wage growth continue to be outpaced by inflation?
  • How are international and national developments — particularly the results of the federal election — likely to affect bargaining in Alberta's economy and bargaining in the province in 2020?
  • What should broader public sector employers and unions do in order to respond to the economic situation as it unfolds?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 2.1


The Role of Government in Bargaining: Thinking through policy and legal issues — Part 1

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Kevin Davediuk
Chief Advisor on Negotiations, Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office
Government of Alberta
Chantel Kassongo
Employer Counsel
Neuman Thompson
Kristan McLeod
Union Counsel
Chivers Carpenter
TBA
Union Speaker TBA


Panel Summary

Following his United Conservative Party's majority victory in April 2019, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promised a "summer of repeal" and began the process of reversing legislative amendments introduced by the outgoing NDP government. Negotiators must prepare for the new government's priorities and initiatives as well as the possibility of a drastically different role for government at the bargaining table. In this session, experts will provide an overview of the role of government in bargaining in a rapidly changing legal and political landscape.

  • How will changes already enacted or contemplated by the new government affect bargaining? What legislative amendments previously enacted by the NDP government remain relevant to negotiators?
  • How has the change in provincial government affected the bargaining climate? Has the new government signalled that it will take a more active role in collective bargaining in the broader public sector?
  • What role should the government play in bargaining? Should the law change to recognize the government's role as a party in negotiations?
  • Does the Charter constrain the government's ability to enact wage restraint or back-to-work legislation? What types of legislative restraints on bargaining or interventions in bargaining will survive Charter scrutiny?
  • What is the status of ongoing Charter challenges to legislation affecting bargaining?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 2.2


The Role of Government in Bargaining: Thinking through policy and legal issues — Part 2

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Kevin Davediuk
Chief Advisor on Negotiations, Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office
Government of Alberta
Chantel Kassongo
Employer Counsel
Neuman Thompson
Kristan McLeod
Union Counsel
Chivers Carpenter
TBA
Union Speaker TBA


Panel Summary

Following his United Conservative Party's majority victory in April 2019, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promised a "summer of repeal" and began the process of reversing legislative amendments introduced by the outgoing NDP government. Negotiators must prepare for the new government's priorities and initiatives as well as the possibility of a drastically different role for government at the bargaining table. In this session, experts will provide an overview of the role of government in bargaining in a rapidly changing legal and political landscape.

  • How will changes already enacted or contemplated by the new government affect bargaining? What legislative amendments previously enacted by the NDP government remain relevant to negotiators?
  • How has the change in provincial government affected the bargaining climate? Has the new government signalled that it will take a more active role in collective bargaining in the broader public sector?
  • What role should the government play in bargaining? Should the law change to recognize the government's role as a party in negotiations?
  • Does the Charter constrain the government's ability to enact wage restraint or back-to-work legislation? What types of legislative restraints on bargaining or interventions in bargaining will survive Charter scrutiny?
  • What is the status of ongoing Charter challenges to legislation affecting bargaining?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Registration and Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 9:00 AM - 9:10 AM  


Panel 3


Bargaining Under a New Mandate: Setting goals, devising strategies, and looking at recent settlements

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Joe Childs
Director of Labour Relations
Civic Service Union 52
Sandra Johnston
Coordinator, Teacher Welfare
Alberta Teachers' Association
Steve Stringfellow
Strategic Negotiations Lead, Provincial Bargaining Coordination Office
Treasury Board and Finance
TBA
Employer Speaker TBA


Panel Summary

The United Conservative Party has wasted no time in implementing its campaign promises since sweeping to victory in the April election. The appointment of a Blue Ribbon Panel to review the province's finances and the passage of Bill 9, The Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act, have signalled a shift in the provincial government's positions in public sector bargaining. In this session, seasoned negotiators will review the practical impact of these changes on the broader public sector, including municipalities, and explain how they have altered their goals and bargaining strategies.

CONFERENCE ENDS

3:45 PM

NETWORKING RECEPTION

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Keynote Speakers


Wednesday, October 23, 2019


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Contract Language in a Changing Landscape: Rethinking your collective agreement in light of new legislative, political, and workforce realities

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Klaus Opatril
Mediator

Teresa Haykowsky
Employer Counsel
McLennan Ross
Gordon Nekolaichuk
Union Counsel
Chivers Carpenter

Workshop Summary

The labour relations landscape in Alberta is undergoing significant change. Statutes modified by the Notley government — such as the Labour Relations Code, the Employment Standards Code, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act — are being further altered by the new government. The composition of the workforce is changing, becoming more diverse. The consequences of workplace stress are becoming more apparent. Workplace violence and harassment have come to the fore. How should employers and unions respond to these changes when they sit down at the bargaining table?

In this interactive workshop, experienced labour lawyers and labour relations experts will provide guidance on negotiating mutually beneficial contract provisions, policies, and procedures to:

  • respond to recent legislative changes;
  • establish clear, stable terms and conditions of employment;
  • prevent workplace violence and harassment;
  • investigate and resolve allegations of workplace violence or harassment;
  • restore workplaces affected by violence and/or harassment;
  • reduce the harmful effects of workplace stress;
  • promote employee psychological well-being;
  • reflect the diversity of the workforce; and
  • create a safe, healthy, and productive workforce.

This session will focus on ways in which unions and employers can collaborate to respond to the changing labour relations landscape in a way that respects and promotes the interests of both parties. Participants are encouraged to bring their own examples to this workshop.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



CPD


Click here to find out more information regarding CPD and the hour requirements in your province.

Conference Sessions

  • For Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.
  • For Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Northwest Territories lawyers, consider counting substantive hours spent in this course towards the CPD requirements of your respective law societies.
  • This program has been approved by CPHR Alberta for 5.25 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

Workshops

  • For Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.
  • For Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Northwest Territories lawyers, consider counting substantive hours spent in this course towards the CPD requirements of your respective law societies.
  • This program has been approved by CPHR Alberta for 5.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.