Workplace Bulletin -

Official Title: Workplace Bulletin, Collective bargaining monthly update,

Publication date:

Key negotiation activities

In May, some of the majorFootnote1 negotiations occurred between:

  • The City of Ottawa and three unionsFootnote2: Negotiations are ongoing between the City of Ottawa and 12,470 employees after the expiry of several collective agreements in . The City of Ottawa and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) exchanged bargaining positions in . Negotiations between the City and its recreational workers are headed towards interest arbitration while maintenance workers are scheduled for conciliation in June. The City is also in negotiation with its firefighters and paramedics.
  • The Construction Association of Quebec (ACQ) and le syndicat Québécois de la constructionFootnote3: After starting negotiations in , the ACQ and its 76,690 employees reached a bargaining impasse in , resulting in the largest major work stoppage of that year. In , the Government of Quebec passed special legislation to extend the previous agreement between the parties by one year. The parties requested the intervention of a mediator in and the ACQ is expected to make an offer by the end of , which is when the collective agreement is set to expire.
  • The British Columbia Public School Employers' Association and the British Columbia Teachers' Federation (BCTF): 39,000 public-school teachers remain without a contract after the expiration of the collective agreement in . After failing to reach an agreement in , BCTF members gave notice to escalate to a full-scale strike on . The BCTF is now calling on the Government of British Columbia to agree to mediation as the relationship between the parties has been particularly litigious. The BCTF framework for settlement includes a five-year term and an eight (8) percent salary increase with no concessions.
  • The Government of Canada and five public-sector unionsFootnote4: Agreements between the Government of Canada and 132,470 federal employees will expire at the end of June. The federal government has publicly announced its intentions to demand concessions to sick-leave provisions while public-sector unions have categorically rejected changes to the regime. The negotiations of new agreements are expected to be tense.

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

Settlements reached

  • In May, 14 major collective bargaining agreements were ratified, covering a total of 23,000 employees. All these agreements were settled in the public sector.
  • Nine of these agreements were concluded through direct bargaining, two through arbitration, one through conciliation, one through post-conciliation bargaining, and the remaining one through mediation.
  • Two agreements were ratified in the federal jurisdiction (2,050 employees).
  • By jurisdiction, Ontario had the highest concentration (45.7%) of employees who ratified their agreements in May; followed by Quebec (17.3%) and Alberta (17.3%).

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

Settlement outcomes


  • Major collective bargaining settlements in May provided base-rateFootnote5 wage adjustments averaging 1.6% annually, higher than the increase recorded in April (1.5%).
  • In the previous round of negotiations between these same parties, the annual wage adjustment averaged 2.0%.
  • The average increase in wage (1.6%)Footnote6 was lower than the inflation rate (2.3%)Footnote7 that prevailed in May.
  • Two agreements, covering 2,050 employees, were ratified in the federal jurisdiction and recorded an average wage-increase of 1.7%. One agreement between the National Research Council of Canada and its 1,540 employees recorded a wage increase of 1.7% whereas the other one, between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and its 510 employees, recorded a wage increase of 1.8%.
  • By jurisdiction, Nova Scotia recorded the highest wage adjustment (2.5%) in a single agreement between the District Health Authorities and 910 public health workers.
  • By industry, public administration employees received the highest wage increase (2.2%) in three agreements covering 2,960 employees. In contrast, employees in transportation (two agreements, 10,520 employees) recorded the lowest (1.4%).

Show Data Table
Wage adjustments by jurisdiction and rate of inflation,
Wage adjustments (percentage) Rate of inflation
Nova Scotia 2.5
Alberta 1.9
Quebec 1.8
Saskatchewan 1.7
Federal Jurisdiction 1.7
Canada 1.6
Ontario 1.4

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


  • Major negotiations settled in May recorded an average contract duration of 47.5 months. The last time these same parties negotiated, the duration averaged 38.4 months.
  • The agreement with the longest term (96 months) was settled between Quebec City and its 1,400 employees.

Major work stoppages

  • There were two majorFootnote8 work stoppages in May, involving 54,671 employees, which resulted in 45,010 person-days-not-worked (PDNW).
  • The nine (9) major work stoppages recorded so far this year have resulted in 65,900 PDNW. By comparison, eight (8) major work stoppages recorded over the same period in resulted in 90,920 PDNW.

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


Literature Scan

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards published a report, titled Convergence across Provincial Economies in Canada: Trends, Drivers, and Implications. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of income inequality, productivity, the labour market, well-being, and fiscal capacity across provincial economies in Canada.

The Institute for Research on Public Policy released a research report on the Canadian labour market information (LMI) system. The report, titled Wanted: Good Canadian Labour Market Information, discusses the challenges, improvements, and opportunities for the LMI system in Canada.

The Conference Board of Canada issued a discussion paper on the work preferences of younger workers. The paper, titled Workplace Preferences of Millennials and Gen X: Attracting and Retaining the Workforce, provides recommendations for how human resource policies and practices can be shaped to best attract and motivate the workforce in .


For more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call us at 1-877-259-8828.

Note: This bulletin is based on May data/information, which was collected as of .


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

The three unions are the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the Civic Institute of Professional Personnel (CIPP).

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Footnote 3

le syndicat Québécois de la construction represents four unions: Conseil provincial du Québec des métiers de la construction (International), CSD-construction, CSN-construction, and FTQ-construction.

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Footnote 4

The five unions are the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, and the Association of Teachers of the Canadian Military Colleges.

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Footnote 5

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

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Footnote 6

The wage adjustment averages are employee-weighted.

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Footnote 7

Statistics Canada, The Daily.

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Footnote 8

Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more.

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