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Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference



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HRPA Continuing Professional Development

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has approved Lancaster House as a Continuing Professional Development Partner, guaranteeing that participation in our conferences, workshops and audio conferences will be accepted by the HRPA for CPD credit.

Register today to earn your CPD credits with Lancaster!

In association with: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/cirhr/

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 1

Revving the Engine: Is the Ontario economy back on track?

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Philip Cross
Munk Senior Fellow
Macdonald-Laurier Institute
Brian Lewis
Chief Economist and
Assistant Deputy Minister
Office of Economic Policy

Ontario Ministry of Finance
Angella MacEwen
Senior Economist
Canadian Labour Congress
Reg Pearson
Associate Deputy Minister,
Centre for Public Sector Labour Relations and Compensation

Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat
Kaylie Tiessen
Economist and National Research Representative

Panel Summary

Ontario has traditionally been regarded as the "economic engine" of Canada, but for many years the Ontario economy has seemed rather lacklustre in comparison to the economies of oil-producing provinces. However, the engine seems to be rumbling to life once more in 2017 as forecasts predict that Ontario will lead the country in economic growth. Does this signal an end to "belt-tightening" mandated in recent rounds of bargaining? In this panel, leading economists will discuss the economic forecast for the province, explain how economic conditions are likely to affect future bargaining and employment trends in the broader public sector, and identify key economic indicators to watch as you develop priorities for future rounds of bargaining.

  • What do the key economic indicators signal for the short- and long-term economic situation in Ontario and in Canada generally? How do the following affect the economic outlook: the exchange rate for the Canadian dollar, changes in interest rates, the rate of inflation? What factors are driving/slowing economic growth?
  • Will increasing the minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018 and to $15 an hour a year later benefit workers and contribute to economic growth or will it result in job loss and economic hardship? How is the increase in the minimum wage likely to affect bargaining in the broader public sector, especially bargaining involving lower-wage workers? Will there be significant pressure to negotiate wages in excess of $15 an hour for unionized employees who are currently paid less than $15 an hour? How much upward pressure will be placed on the wages of workers who currently earn only slightly more than $15 an hour?
  • What is the status of the labour market in Ontario and how does it compare with the labour market in Canada as a whole? Were more jobs gained or lost in 2017? What is the nature and quality of these jobs? Have recent wage adjustments kept pace with rising costs of living? What pattern-setting settlements and awards have been reached in the public sector? How do recent public sector settlements compare to recent settlements in the private sector? What is the outlook for employment in 2018? What do these general trends in employment mean for employment in the broader public sector?
  • What role does the government's fiscal capacity – its ability to generate revenue – play in broader public sector negotiations? What factors – for example, general economic conditions, credit ratings, federal government policies, policies of the U.S. government – have the most influence on the government of Ontario’s current fiscal capacity? How are the fiscal policy and capacity of Canadian governments affected by the uncertainty regarding U.S. trade and tax policy created by the Trump administration?
  • Given the 2017 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review (also called the "Fall Economic Statement"), what is the government likely to prioritize in the next budget and how will this affect bargaining? What government/ministry publications provide the most useful information for determining government priorities in upcoming bargaining? For example, how useful are mandate letters, published ministry plans, estimate briefing books, etc.?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 2

Where Do We Go From Here? Experts assess the implications of Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Daphne Taras
University of Saskatchewan
Elizabeth Keenan
Employer Counsel
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark
Thevaki Thevaratnam
Director of Research and Education
Ontario Federation of Labour

Panel Summary

Building upon the commitments made by the Liberal government in the 2014 Throne Speech, the Ontario Minister of Labour initiated the Changing Workplaces Review ("CWR") in February 2015. Prepared by two government-appointed experts, Michael Mitchell and John Murray, the CWR final report contains 173 recommendations aimed at creating better working conditions, protecting workers, and supporting businesses in the modern economy. Following the release of the CWR final report, the Ontario government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. If passed, this legislation will introduce a number of significant changes to Ontario's Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. In this session, a panel of experts will consider the implications of the CWR report and Bill 148 for public sector bargaining, including:

  • Access to collective bargaining: How does Bill 148 propose to modify first contract arbitration, remedial certification, voting procedures, and the disclosure of employee information in Ontario? What alternative certification process does Bill 148 set out for home care and community services, temporary help agencies, and building services? Are these reform measures consistent with the recommendations made in the CWR report?
  • Powers of the Ontario Labour Relations Board: Why did the CWR report recommend enhancing the powers of the Ontario Labour Relations Board? What reform measures did the report suggest? Acting upon these recommendations, how does Bill 148 propose to expand the Board's powers with respect to interim orders and the modification of bargaining units?
  • Bargaining process: Following certification, how does Bill 148 propose to protect bargaining unit employees from being discharged without just cause? How does this differ from the recommendations made in the CWR report? What suggestions does the CWR report advance with respect to "broader-based bargaining" and bargaining within the franchise industry? How has the government responded to these proposals?
  • Employment standards: What changes did the CWR report put forth for updating Ontario's Employment Standards Act? What amendments did the CWR recommend with respect to the treatment of dependent contractors under the Act? Have these recommendations been adopted by Bill 148? How are conflicts resolved in cases where Bill 148 amendments conflict with provisions of a collective agreement? If passed, how will the Bill 148 amendments to Ontario's employment standards legislation affect public sector bargaining?


12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 3

Bargaining Work/Life Issues: Accommodation, privacy, flexwork

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM

Ward Jones
Labour and Employment Law Consultant
Ward Jones Consulting
Jodi Martin
Union Counsel
Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein

Panel Summary

This past year both the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board held that a union's status as exclusive bargaining agent does not automatically entitle it to participate in the accommodation process. This development, along with provisions in Ontario's Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 prohibiting employers from requiring doctors' notes for personal emergency leave days, may necessitate a review of collective agreement provisions dealing with medial information. Unions and employers should also turn their minds to drafting contract language that responds to the new employee right to request changes to their work schedules and locations proposed in Ontario's Bill 148, and a similar right proposed in the federal budget. In this session experts will provide tips on reviewing contract language in light of these developments and provide examples of provisions parties have negotiated to deal with these issues.

Accommodation processes:

  • Do joint accommodation committees expose unions to greater liability for discrimination or violating the duty of fair representation? Do clauses that provide the employee with a right to request union representation adequately protect the union's interest in being fully informed of all requests for accommodation?
  • From both union and management perspectives what are the most important elements of contract provisions dealing with accommodation?
  • What is the current status of the law in Ontario regarding a union's right to participate in the accommodation process in the absence of collective agreement language expressly addressing the issue?


  • How will Bill 148 amendments to the Employment Standards Act prohibiting employers from requiring medical notes for personal emergency leave days affect collective agreement provisions establishing requirements for medical information for sick days? How will the amendments affect attendance management programs?
  • What contract language should parties negotiate regarding medical information required in the accommodation process and the sharing of medical information, and the wording of mandatory consent to disclosure of files? Should parties negotiate language that requires information from specialists? How should the costs of obtaining the medical information be addressed?
  • Should parties agree to language establishing an independent medical examination process? If so, should they stipulate that the independent medical examiner's opinion is to be final and binding on the parties? What types of provisions should be negotiated regarding the information to be provided to the independent medical examiner or regarding the information an employer is entitled to receive from the independent medical examiner?
  • Would language that gives the union the right to be involved in all steps of every accommodation request made by a bargaining unit member violate employee privacy rights?
  • What other privacy-related clauses should parties consider including in a collective agreement? A clause expressing a general right to privacy? Clauses regarding surveillance or use of technology?

Flexwork and telework:

  • How should parties address new employee rights to request flexible working conditions and changes in work locations? What role should the union have in regard to requests for flexible work arrangements?
  • What types of flexible working conditions are commonly negotiated in collective agreements? What contract language has been negotiated to allow for individual employees to vary their schedules, compress work weeks, or bank overtime that can be used to take time off?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of negotiating a telework arrangement? What issues need to be addressed in contract provisions dealing with telework?
  • Should a request for telework or flexwork as an accommodation for a disability be dealt with under a negotiated accommodation process or should it be covered by provisions dealing with an employee's right to request flexible working conditions?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  

Panel 4

Major Caselaw Update: Focus on good faith bargaining, disclosure, political speech, whistleblowing

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Kate Hughes
Union Counsel
Cavalluzzo Shilton McIntyre Cornish
Michael Kennedy
Employer Counsel
Hicks Morley

Panel Summary

In this session, skilled counsel will review the year's most important caselaw developments for bargaining in the broader public sector, including disclosure obligations at the bargaining table, the line between "hard bargaining" and bargaining in bad faith, political speech and freedom of expression issues, and whistleblowing in the workplace. Additional topics may be added in the weeks leading up to the conference to ensure coverage of the latest and most important developments.


4:15 PM


4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Keynote Speakers

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Navigating Interest Arbitration: Working with the mediator, drafting the brief, presenting the case

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Morton Mitchnick

Harold Ball
Employer Nominee

Menno Vorster
Union Nominee

Workshop Summary

Many workers employed in essential public services are required to resolve their collective agreement through interest arbitration. Interest arbitration may also result from an application for first contract arbitration or a voluntary agreement to interest arbitration to resolve collective bargaining disputes. As a result, many employer and union representatives will require the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective advocates in interest arbitration and will benefit from this session.

Attendees will leave this interactive workshop knowing how to:

  • Comply with legal obligations that arise in negotiation, mediation and arbitration
  • Structure negotiations and the mediation process to minimize the issues in dispute
  • Choose an appropriate arbitrator and nominees
  • Gather all necessary information and present it in a compelling brief
  • Present a persuasive case at the hearing
  • Analyze an award to determine whether an application for judicial review is likely to succeed


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Smart Bargaining: Optimizing outcomes through advanced research methods

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Andrew Ward
Research Representative
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Ryan Wood
Negotiator and Economist
Bass Associates

Workshop Summary

Good negotiators come to the table aware of all the data and arguments that support their demands as well as the data and arguments that may be used to resist their demands. Given the broad range of potential subjects of bargaining as well as the importance of external factors, such as generally prevailing economic and/or political conditions, negotiating teams may feel such comprehensive preparation is unmanageable and jump into negotiations without adequate awareness of various factors affecting bargaining. In this session, Lancaster's experts will identify key external challenges to bargaining that are often overlooked and introduce participants to sources of information and research methods that will allow them to fully prepare for bargaining.

Participants will learn to:

  • Assemble and analyze data regarding internal and external factors that influence bargaining
  • Determine the true priorities of bargaining unit members/employees and how both unions and employers can leverage their knowledge of these priorities
  • Anticipate and prepare responses to the other side's demands
  • Obtain information necessary for costing proposals
  • Find relevant and reliable information on general economic conditions and factor this information into their bargaining strategy
  • Identify external political or social factors that should be taken into account
  • Locate collective agreement language, settlement agreements and awards that will bolster their own demands (including identifying appropriate comparator organizations or enterprises)

Workshop attendees will receive free trial access to Lancaster House's Contract Clauses Online, Canada's leading text on collective agreement language, with authoritative commentary and actual contract clauses from current collective agreements negotiated across Canada.


Friday, December 8, 2017

From Conflict to Calm: Dealing with high-conflict behaviour in the workplace

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Bill Eddy
High Conflict Institute
Veronica Kenny
Labour and Employment
Legal Manager

UPS Canada
Joanne McMahon
Union Counsel
McMahon Morrison Watts

Workshop Summary

High-conflict behaviour is characterized by unmanaged emotions, extreme reactions, preoccupation with blaming others, and prolonged, unresolved conflict. Such behaviour not only seriously damages relationships in the workplace but also frequently results in complaints of bullying and harassment, grievances and other legal headaches for both employers and unions.

By working through realistic scenarios with the guidance of experienced lawyers and internationally-recognized dispute resolution expert Bill Eddy, attendees will leave equipped to prevent high-conflict behaviour in the workplace from developing into serious workplace problems that disturb co-workers, disrupt operations, and give rise to litigation.

Participants will learn:

  • Brain science behind high-conflict behaviour, including current knowledge about High-Conflict Personalities (HCPs)
  • Principles of progressive discipline and accommodation that apply to dealing with high-conflict behaviour
  • Strategies for managing your own anxiety when dealing with HCPs
  • Approaches to coaching HCPs to take responsibility for resolving their own conflicts in the workplace

Participants will also learn how to use the following skills in their workplaces:

  • Connecting skills – using empathy, attention and respect (EAR) to communicate and build effective working relationships with HCPs
  • Assertion skills – using brief, informative, friendly, but firm (BIFF) responses to counter misinformation or hostility


Friday, December 8, 2017

Conducting Fair and Effective Disciplinary Investigations: A hands-on workshop

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Judith Allen
Investigator, Arbitrator, Mediator

Jennifer Micallef
Union Counsel
Ryder Wright Blair & Holmes
Employer Speaker TBA

Workshop Summary

Allegations or incidents of misconduct can have a serious impact on workplace culture and morale. In such instances, it is essential that an objective, balanced, and thorough disciplinary investigation is conducted. Employers, employees, and unions all have an important role in the investigative process to ensure that it is impartial and effective. In this workshop, experienced investigators and legal counsel will review tips and strategies for conducting fair and comprehensive disciplinary investigations. Working through interactive exercises and realistic scenarios, workshop participants will gain the skills and knowledge to:

  • Understand when the duty to investigate is triggered
  • Develop a fair and effective process for investigating allegations or incidents of misconduct
  • Gather reliable evidence and witness statements
  • Appreciate the role of the union and employees within a disciplinary investigation
  • Draft and respond appropriately to workplace investigation reports



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