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Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference

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.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


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


Panel 1


Economic Truths and Bargaining Consequences: Weathering trade wars and political change

9:10 AM - 10:30 AM

Panelists

David West
Chief Economist
Financial Accountability Office of Ontario
Robert Bass
Employer Counsel
Bass Associates
Angella MacEwen
Senior Economist
CUPE National

Panel Summary

Ontario is coming off an impressive four-year stretch of economic growth and though it will see its economy cool somewhat this year and the next, unemployment, following trends in other developed nations, remains low. However, U.S. tariffs pose a significant risk to the province's economic situation, as Ontario accounts for more than half of Canada's $400 billion dollars in exports to the U.S. The election of the Ford government in Ontario has added another element of uncertainty to the economic forecast for the province and could have particularly dramatic implications in the broader public sector. In this session, economic and collective bargaining experts will take stock of recent economic developments, explain how they will affect bargaining in the broader public sector, and provide guidance on adapting bargaining to meet the challenges that present themselves. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • What do the key economic indicators signal for the short- and long-term economic situation in Ontario and Canada? What factors are driving/slowing economic growth?
  • What are the main risks to continued economic prosperity? How much does Ontario stand to lose if the trade war with the U.S. escalates? What is at stake for the province in NAFTA renegotiation? Have U.S. corporate tax cuts made Ontario less competitive?
  • What is the state of Ontario's public finances? To what extent will the new government be constrained by external factors that affect fiscal capacity, such as general economic conditions, federal government policies, and the U.S. government's tax and trade policies?
  • What is the status of, and outlook for, the labour market in Ontario and in Canada as a whole? Have wages in Ontario and Canada stagnated in the midst of economic prosperity as they have elsewhere in the world? Why? Or why not?
  • How did the increase in the minimum wage affect the labour market in Ontario? How did it affect other aspects of the provincial economy, such as consumer prices and spending?
  • How are current economic and labour market conditions likely to influence bargaining in the broader public sector?
  • What trends can be identified in recent settlements in broader public sector negotiations? How do these trends compare to developments in the private sector?
  • What government/ministry publications provide the most useful information for determining what the new government's priorities will be in upcoming bargaining? For example, how useful are the economic outlook and fiscal review, mandate letters, published ministry plans, estimate briefing books, etc.?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


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


Panel 2


Playing Chicken with the Charter: What role do politics and the Charter play at the bargaining table?

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Panelists

Nini Jones
Union Counsel
Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein
Michael Sherrard
Employer Counsel
Sherrard Kuzz

Panel Summary

Just as employers and unions were adjusting to significant legislative changes made by the Wynne government, Doug Ford and the Tories swept to power. Now union and management negotiators are in the unenviable position of having to keep track of which legislative changes remain relevant and which will be a fleeting memory. Perhaps even more importantly, bargaining teams on both sides of the table have to adjust their strategy to respond to the priorities of the new government and the potential for a different attitude towards government intervention in negotiations. In this session, experts will provide an update on the evolving legislative landscape relevant to negotiators, discuss the new government's approach to collective bargaining, and explore Charter limitations on government intervention in collective bargaining. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • What legislative changes enacted by the Wynne government remain relevant to negotiators? How will changes contemplated by the new government affect bargaining?
  • How has the change in provincial government affected bargaining? Has the new government signaled that it will take a more active role in collective bargaining in the broader public sector?
  • What types of legislative restraints on bargaining or interventions in bargaining will survive Charter scrutiny? Does the Charter constrain the government's ability to enact wage restraint or back-to-work legislation? Can the government impose collective agreements on parties?
  • Might this government be less likely to intervene in bargaining given the outcome of Charter challenges to the previous government's intervention in bargaining in the education sector? Will the government be deterred from intervention by the prospect of having to pay monetary compensation for Charter breaches? Or, can the government take comfort in the courts' reticence to award Charter damages?
  • Will the courts strike down legislation that imposes restrictive criteria on interest arbitrators or that insulates government appointments of arbitrators from review?
  • How should broader public sector employers and unions respond to government "public relations" campaigns aimed at influencing public attitudes towards collective bargaining? Are there any legal or Charter constraints on government communications aimed at influencing specific sets of negotiations?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


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


Panel 3


The Changing Face of the Workforce: Trends in workplace demographics

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

* Panelists to be announced

Panel Summary

The demographic make-up of the workplace can have profound effects on bargaining priorities. In this session, an expert on workforce demographics will provide a look into the future of the broader public sector, laying the groundwork for discussions in subsequent panels. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What does the current broader public sector look like demographically? How is this picture changing?
  • What types of jobs characterize this sector? What skills are required? Are certain jobs becoming obsolete, or are they just changing? What skills are necessary to meet evolving workplace demands?
  • What changes to the labour market can be expected in the next ten to fifteen years? How will these changes affect the broader public sector?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


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


Panel 4


The Future of Work: Bargaining provisions that address precarious jobs, automation, increased stress, and reduced security

1:35 PM - 2:45 PM

* Panelists to be announced

Panel Summary

Demographic shifts, technological innovation, and globalization are driving change in workplaces throughout the world at an unprecedented pace and scale. At the same time, the organization of work has changed. Workers in Canada are now more likely to be in "non-standard" types of employment, which run the gamut from part-time and contract work to "uberized" work-on-demand. Panel experts will provide insight into how the workplace will change in the coming decade and point out practical steps that public sector unions and employers can take to adapt to the labour market. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • How might demographic change alter employer and union priorities at the bargaining table? Do work-life balance provisions take on increased importance given the aging population, the increased participation of women in the workplace, and women's roles as primary caregivers for both children and elders? What types of practices facilitate retention of older workers? Is it discriminatory to limit flexible work arrangements to older workers who may be "easing into retirement," without offering the same opportunities to younger workers?
  • Are the interests of older workers who wish to continue working and those of younger workers entering the workforce increasingly in conflict? If so, how does that conflict play out in bargaining? What are the effects of two-tier agreements, i.e. those that provide for different wages, benefits, or job security provisions for established employees than for new employees? Are they becoming less acceptable? Are there alternatives?
  • How is technological change affecting work in the broader public sector? Are machines replacing people? Are technological advances intensifying work? Enabling work in this sector to be contracted out or "uberized?" Is it possible to negotiate contract language that effectively addresses the type of technological change we are likely to see in the next five to ten years?
  • How is the organization of work changing in the broader public sector? Is "non-standard employment" becoming more common in the public sector? Are practices such as privatization, contracting-out, outsourcing, and "contract-flipping" making employment in the broader public sector more precarious? Are such practices actually cost-efficient? Do they become less economically attractive when turn-over costs and the potential costs of decreased employee morale and productivity are factored in?
  • Can workplace psychological health and safety be adequately addressed without addressing issues of precarity and intensification of work?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


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


Panel 5


Keeping Insured Benefits Within Reach: Negotiating benefits in an era of rising costs

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Panelists

Helen Stevenson
Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer
Reformulary Group
Randy Bauslaugh
Employer Counsel
McCarthy Tétrault
Dan Crow
Senior Research Officer
Canadian Union of Public Employees

Panel Summary

Increased utilization rates, a rising number of claimants, increased drug prices, and the development of new high-cost medications are driving the cost of insured health benefits upwards. In order to contain these rising costs, employers may pursue options such as capping reimbursement levels and cost-sharing agreements that increase out-of-pocket expenses for employees, or they may favour generic substitution policies and more limited formularies that reduce employee access to medication. Is there another option? Can employers and unions work together at the bargaining table to come up with creative new approaches to provide quality drugs, and other insured health benefits, in a cost-effective manner? In this session experts will provide guidance on doing exactly that. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • What information about drug and benefit plan costs do workplace parties need to develop cost-effective insured benefits that meet the needs of employees? What information are unions legally entitled to receive during collective bargaining?
  • In what ways, if any, are insured healthcare benefits affected by the Progressive Conservative electoral victory and the Ford government's changes to OHIP+? Given the change in Ontario's government, is a national single-payer pharmacare program still likely? If so, how would it affect benefit plans?
  • What roles do different interested parties (employers, unions, insurance companies, pharmacies, healthcare providers, etc.) have to play in providing sustainable insured health benefits? What strategies can be adopted to facilitate better communication between employers, unions, and insurance providers regarding employee drug benefit coverage and other insured benefits?
  • How might the changing demographics of the workplace alter the cost of insured benefits? How should the parties calculate utilization rates of benefits, so as not to over or underestimate the cost of providing a benefit to employees?
  • How should unions and employers address the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario's Talos decision, holding that legislative provisions permitting age-based distinctions in benefit and insurance plans for employees aged 65 and over are unconstitutional? What are the cost implications of providing insured benefits to employees over 65?
  • What are the pros and cons of negotiating language regarding generic or therapeutic drug substitution requirements, prior authorization or pre-approval for coverage of certain medications, or formulary limits?
  • What measures are unions and employers negotiating in the interest of improving benefits while reducing costs? Is the recent consolidation of individual school board benefit plans from across the province into five education sector-wide Employee Life and Health Trusts an example to follow?
  • Should benefit plans cover medical marijuana? Does the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal's decision in Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund v. Skinner, which held it was not discriminatory for a benefit plan to exclude medical marijuana from coverage, have implications beyond Nova Scotia? Could medical marijuana replace more expensive drugs and actually reduce healthcare costs? Does legalization of recreational marijuana affect benefit plans and coverage of the medical version of the drug?

CONFERENCE ENDS

4:15 PM

NETWORKING RECEPTION

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Keynote Speakers


Monday, December 3, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Getting the Dollars to Make Sense: Costing collective bargaining proposals

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Robert Hickey
Associate Professor, Employment Relations
Queen's University

Workshop Summary

Accurate costing of bargaining proposals can be a critical tool in collective bargaining, yet it is a skill that is not widely taught. Designed for union and management representatives who are involved in collective bargaining, this session will provide a practical step-by-step guide to calculating compensation costs (including both wages and benefits) and the effect of collective bargaining proposals on those costs. Working through realistic scenarios with the guidance of leading experts on costing, attendees will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to:

  • Identify the role of costing in collective bargaining.
  • Use costing strategically in negotiations.
  • Ascertain what information is needed, where to get it, and how to request it.
  • Comply with legal disclosure obligations.
  • Calculate the costs of wages and benefits, and the "roll-up" or "spill-over" costs, over multiple years.
  • Apply a systematic ten-step approach to costing.
  • Appreciate the role of "ability to pay" and "total compensation" in negotiations.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



Monday, December 3, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Drafting Clear Contract Language: An in-depth skills training session

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Debra Huron
Plain Language Writer, Editor and Trainer

Sylvia Sioufi
President
Canadian Staff Union
Jessica Kearsey
Employer Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright

Workshop Summary

A clearly written collective agreement makes it easier for management, union representatives, and workers to understand their rights and obligations. Poorly written clauses can become the subject of disputes and costly arbitration. This hands-on training session is designed to provide bargaining committee members, labour lawyers, human resources professionals, and other labour relations professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to:

  • Interpret collective agreement language using rules of construction accepted by arbitrators.
  • Recognize ambiguous provisions.
  • Understand the concept of "estoppel".
  • Develop a process for negotiating clear contract language.
  • Make existing contract language clear to managers, supervisors, union stewards, and employees "on the shop floor."
  • Identify common words, phrases, and stylistic problems that make contracts unclear.
  • Modernize the structure and format of contracts.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



Thursday, December 6, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Effective Harassment Investigations: A step-by-step guide to conducting investigations

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Meghan Ferguson
Lawyer and Workplace Investigator

John Donkor
Employer Counsel
Donkor Employment and Labour Law
Robyn White
Union Counsel
Cavalluzzo

Workshop Summary

With recent high profile reports describing botched harassment investigations, ensuring that they are correctly carried out is more important than ever. Even persons who don't conduct investigations themselves need to understand how a fair investigation is conducted, when an outside investigator should be retained, and in which ways to ensure that they are providing adequate disclosure while at the same time safeguarding confidential information as much as possible. In this interactive workshop, an experienced arbitrator and legal counsel will provide a step-by-step guide to effective harassment investigations and lead participants through realistic scenarios, providing them with the knowledge necessary to:

  • Ensure the investigation complies with legal requirements.
  • Select an appropriate investigator.
  • Develop suitable safeguards to maintain confidentiality.
  • Understand the union's role in the investigation.
  • Disclose appropriate information relating to the complaint and the results of the investigation.
  • Establish fair and effective processes for questioning witnesses and the parties involved.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



Thursday, December 6, 2018


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Dealing with Workplace Impairment: Balancing safety, accommodation and employee rights

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Leaders

Diane Brownlee
Arbitrator/Mediator

Chris Donovan
Union Counsel
Dewart Gleason
Steven Maxwell
Drug Recognition Expert
and Chief Consultant

Steven Maxwell Drug
Recognition Expert Consulting

Susan Munn
Employer Counsel
Pooran Law

Workshop Summary

The legalization of recreational cannabis has profound implications for employers and unions seeking to ensure workplace safety while respecting employee privacy. This in-depth training session will teach participants to recognize the signs of impairment and problematic substance use, ensure workplace safety through legally-compliant policies dealing with impairment, and accommodate employees with substance use disorders.

Experts in impairment recognition and addictions will join experienced labour lawyers and arbitrators to teach participants the skills and knowledge necessary to:

  • Adapt workplace policies to address the legalization of recreational cannabis.
  • Spot the signs of impairment.
  • Ensure workplace safety with policies and procedures that prohibit impairment while ensuring employee rights.
  • Identify aspects of "Standardized Field Sobriety Tests" (SFST) and "Drug Recognition Expert" training that may be applicable to the workplace.
  • Recognize the signs that someone in the workplace may have a substance use disorder.
  • Approach employees suspected of having a disorder in a non-threatening way that encourages them to disclose and seek help.
  • Accommodate employees with a substance use disorder while maintaining workplace safety.

VIEW THE WORKSHOP AGENDA



2018 Bora Laskin Award Dinner

December 5, 2018

Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Cocktails – 5:30 p.m.
Award Dinner – 6:30 p.m.

To reserve a ticket for yourself, or a table on behalf of your firm or organization, please call (416) 977-6618 or visit the conference registration page.


For more information about the Bora Laskin Award, please see our Bora Laskin page.


CPD


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Conference Sessions

  • This program has been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 5.3 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

Workshops

  • This program has been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 5.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.