Workplace Bulletin – November 2015

Official title: Workplace Bulletin, Collective bargaining monthly update, November 2015

Key negotiation activities

In November, majorFootnote 1 ongoing negotiations included the following:

  • Government of Quebec and the Common Front:Footnote 2 Contracts covering approximately 400,000 public-sector workers represented by the Common Front unions expired in March 2015. After a series of negotiations and a first wave of rotating strikes in October,Footnote 3 the Government of Quebec made an offer, which was subsequently rejected by the unions. A second wave of rotating strikes occurred in November.Footnote 4 On November 18, the Common Front presented a counter-proposal to the Government of Quebec and, as an act of good faith, agreed to suspend the job actions scheduled for December.Footnote 5
  • Air Transat and the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA): The collective agreement covering 520 pilots expired on April 30, 2015. After months of negotiations, the pilots officially requested in November that Canada’s Minister of Labour intervene by appointing a conciliation officer. According to the ALPA, the current company’s proposal would keep Air Transat’s wages and non-wages benefits for pilots below the industry standard, and the union is seeking parity with their competitors.

An updated monthly list of Key negotiations is available under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Settlements reached

  • In November, three major collective agreements were reached, two in the private sector (covering a total of 12,150 employees) and one in the public sector (covering 1,185 employees).
  • These agreements covered 7,150 Air Canada flight attendants (federal jurisdiction), 5,000 blue-collar employees at Bombardier Aéronautique (Quebec), and 1,185 Simon Fraser University office employees (British Colombia).

The texts of collective agreements can be accessed through the Negotech, while the list of Ratified settlements in 2015 can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Settlement outcomes


  • The three major collective agreements settled in November had an average annual base-rateFootnote 6 wage adjustment (over the duration of the contracts) of 1.7%. In the previous round of negotiations, their average was 2.5%.
  • The average wage increase received by the 12,150 employees under the two private-sector agreements (1.8%) was higher than the average negotiated by the 1,185 employees in the public sector (1.1%).
  • The average annual wage increase was 2.0% for the federal jurisdiction agreement (Air Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees).

More information on Wage settlements can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.


  • The average duration of the three agreements was 87.7 months. This was much longer than the average duration in the previous round of negotiations between the same bargaining parties (57.6 months).
  • The average duration of the two agreements settled in the private sector (90.4 months) was much higher than the one agreement reached in the public sector (60.0 months).
  • The contract between Air Canada and its 7,150 flight attendants had the longest duration (120 months) among the three settled in November.

Major work stoppagesFootnote 7

  • In November, major rotating strikes were held in Quebec by public-sector workers. The striking workers included teachers and other employees represented by the Common Front unions. Detailed information on these strikes was not available at the time of publication. The information will be included in a subsequent issue when it becomes available.

More information on Work stoppages in Canada can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Working Conditions

New working conditions clauses allow employers and unions to innovatively adapt to changing economic, working and social environments. In November, the following clauses were reported:

  • HyLife Foods and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada: The parties agreed on a new “citizenship leave”. Employees who have applied to become Canadian citizens will be granted one paid day of leave to take their oath of citizenship.
  • Vancouver Island University and Canadian Union of Public Employees: A clause to establish a joint early intervention program and joint rehabilitation committee was included in the collective agreement by the parties. Employees will be required to participate in the program when they have been absent from work for five consecutive days, or if there is a pattern of absenteeism. The program will be managed by representatives from the union and the employer.


Literature scan

The following studies relating to industrial relations and the labour market were recently published.

  • In its working paper Eliminating Occupational Cancer in Europe and Globally, the European Trade Union Institute examines how removing exposure to carcinogens at work can effectively end occupational cancer. The ten most frequent occupational carcinogens account for around 85% of all occupational deaths, with exposure to asbestos being the biggest killer. The report summarises the basic principles of effective prevention and calls for systematic action on the part of the various stakeholders. It recommends that the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the European Union work together to create programs and legislation that restrict exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.
  • InWomen, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal, the World Bank Group presents an analysis of legal restrictions on women’s employment and entrepreneurship. Of the 173 economies that the World Bank examined, 155 had at least one law restricting women’s economic opportunities. The study identifies restrictions on having a bank account, property ownership, getting a job, travelling, building credit, and serving as a witness in court. The study identifies Canada as having no legal restrictions.


For more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call 1-877-259-8828. Please use the above link to send us the memorandum of understanding or other documentation if you have a business unit that is either federally registered (with 100 or more employees) or provincially registered (with 500 or more employees) and a collective bargaining agreement is reached.


Note: This bulletin is based on October 2015 data/information, which was collected up to November 16, 2015. Work stoppage data was collected up to November 23, 2015.

Footnote 1

All data reported in this bulletin relates to major collective agreements covering 500 or more employees across Canada.

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Footnote 2

Secrétariat intersyndical des services publics (SISP), la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Quebec’s three main union federations united on March 16, 2014 to create the Common Front.

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Footnote 3

Rotating strikes were held on October 26, 27, 28 and 29.

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Footnote 4

Rotating strikes were held on November 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, and 17

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Footnote 5

Rotating strikes were scheduled for December 1, 2 and 3.

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Footnote 6

The base-rate wage is the lowest paid classification used for qualified employees in the bargaining unit.

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Footnote 7

Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more.

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