Workplace Bulletin – January 2015
Key negotiation activities
Amongst the majorFootnote 1 negotiations that were underway in January, the most notable ones occurred between:
- University of Toronto and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE): The members of Local 3902 (Unit 3) of CUPE voted in favour of a strike should no agreement be reached with the university by February 26. Unit 3, which represents sessional lecturers, writing instructors, music professionals, and sessional instructional assistants, has been in negotiations with the employer since October 31, 2014, after the collective agreement expired on August 31, 2014. The Teaching Assistants (Unit 1) also voted in favour of a strike in November 2014. Both Units 1 and 3, covering approximately 5,000 employees, are primarily concerned with wages and job security. Scheduled talks with the assistance of a conciliation officer continued throughout February.
- Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE): On January 19, mediation between the parties was discontinued when AHS notified AUPE that the one per-cent wage increase previously proposed would be reversed to a wage freeze. At the end of January, AUPE applied for interest arbitration as negotiations were at an impasse. The previous collective agreement expired on March 31, 2014 and covers 22,000 general support employees working in health services.
- In January, nine major collective bargaining negotiations were settled for a total of 16,860 employees. Five agreements were settled through direct bargaining, two through mediation, one through conciliation, and one through bargaining after a work stoppage.
- Seven agreements, covering 12,960 employees, were settled in the public sector, and two agreements, covering 3,900 employees, were in the private sector [Chart 1, (a)].
- One agreement, covering 3,000 employees, was reached in the federal jurisdiction.
- In the provincial jurisdictions, four settlements were reached in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan, and one each in Quebec and in Ontario.
- The public administration industry represented the largest proportion of employees (38%) covered by agreements reached in January, followed closely by the transportation industry (31%) [Chart 1, (b)].
Text description of Chart 1: Collective bargaining settlements by jurisdiction, January 2015.
|Jurisdiction||Number of Agreements|
|Public Sector||Private Sector|
Text description of Chart 1: Collective bargaining settlements, January 2015
|Industry||Number of Agreements|
|Public Sector||Private Sector|
|Information & culture||1||0|
|Education, health, & social services||3||0|
- The average annual base-rateFootnote 2 wage adjustment (over the duration of the contracts) among major collective bargaining settlements in January was 2.4% [Chart 2, (a)].
- This adjustment (2.4%) was lower than the one (2.9%) recorded in the previous round of negotiations between the same parties.
- Because of lower oil prices, the Bank of Canada forecast that the inflation rate in 2015 will range from 0.3% to 1.2%.Footnote 3. The rate could remain low even beyond 2015. As long as it stays below or around the Bank of Canada’s 2% target, employees covered by the settlements in January would find their real wage growing over the duration of their contracts.
- The highest average wage increase (3.0%) was received by the 3,000 employees of the Canadian National Railway Co., who were covered by the only settlement reached in the federal jurisdiction in January.
- Agreements in the public sector recorded an average wage increase of 2.4%, very similar to the average in the private sector (2.3%).
- Amongst the provincial jurisdictions, Alberta had the highest average wage adjustment (2.6%).
- Amongst all industries, transportation had the highest average adjustment (2.8%) whereas manufacturing had the lowest (0.0%), coming from the one settlement reached in this industry with a wage freeze [Chart 2, (b)].
Text description of Chart 2: Wage adjustments by jurisdiction, January 2015
Text description of Chart 2: Wage adjustments by industry, January 2015
|Information & culture||2.6%|
|Education, health, & social services||2.0%|
- The overall average duration of agreements reached in January was 54.2 months [Chart 3, (a)]. The average duration was longer in the public sector (57.8 months) than in the private sector (42.5 months).
- The previous round of negotiations between these same bargaining parties resulted in a contract duration of 38.4 months on average.
- The agreement with the shortest duration (24 months) was negotiated between Evras Inc. and 900 of its employees in Saskatchewan.
- The longest duration (60 months) was negotiated between five different parties. One of these agreements was reached in Quebec, covering 2,000 employees in the education, health, and social services industry. The remaining four agreements were in Alberta, covering a total of 9,270 employees.
Text description of Chart 3: Duration of agreements by jurisdiction, January 2015
|Jurisdiction||Duration (in months)|
Text description of Chart 3: Duration of agreements by industry, January 2015
|Industry||Duration (in months)|
|Education, health, & social services||52.1|
|Information & culture||60.0|
Major work stoppages
- One majorFootnote 4 work stoppage in January occurred in the public sector in Ontario, between the Central Community Care Access Centre and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA)Footnote 5. It involved 608 employees and resulted in 610 person days-not-worked (PDNW). In December, three work stoppages involved 11,440 employees, and recorded 18,280 PDNW.
- The Canadian Labour Congress and the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (Western University) recently released preliminary findings of their survey on domestic violence in the workplace in their report Can Work Be Safe When Home Isn’t? One third of the survey respondents reported that they have experienced or are currently experiencing domestic violence. Of those individuals who reported a domestic violence experience, over half (54%) reported that the violence continued at work. Eighty two per cent reported that the domestic violence negatively affected their work performance. The report concludes by noting that improving the response to domestic violence in the workplace (for both victims and perpetrators) will require combined efforts from legislators, employers, unions, and advocates.
- The Bank of Canada in its Monetary Policy Report predicts that the recent drop in crude oil prices will have a negative impact on Canadian economic growth and underlying inflation. However, in the U.S. and globally, lower oil prices are expected to boost economic growth. The Canadian unemployment rate is expected to rise as oil-related industries reduce their workforces and economic activity slows in oil-producing regions. However, the effect of lower oil prices varies largely by region and industry, with manufacturing standing to gain through lower shipping costs. The Appendix of this report also provides readers with a summary of how lower oil prices impact the Canadian economy.
- In its review of the Investment Plan proposed by the European Commission, The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports in An Employment-Oriented Investment Strategy for Europe that the plan has the potential to create over 2.1 million net new jobs by mid 2018. This report begins by discussing how the economic recovery in Europe is slowing and employment numbers are failing to return to their pre-recession levels. The report argues that increased investment will help boost employment. To achieve increased employment levels, three criteria should be met: investment must be directed to countries and sectors that are most in need of job creation; the private sector must also invest; and complementary investment must be made in skills development.
For more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call us at 1-877-259-8828. If you have a business unit either federally registered (with 100 or more employees) or provincially registered (with 500 or more employees), using the above link please send us the memorandum of understanding or other documentation if a collective bargaining agreement is reached.
Note: This bulletin is based on January 2015 data/information, which was collected on February 16, 2015. Work stoppage data was collected on February 24, 2015.
- Footnote 1
All data reported in this bulletin relates to major collective agreements covering 500 or more employees across Canada.
- Footnote 2
The base wage rate is the lowest paid classification used for qualified employees in the bargaining unit.
- Footnote 3
Monetary Policy Report Summary, Bank of Canada, January 2015.
- Footnote 4
Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more. Work stoppage data for January includes preliminary data only from the province of Ontario.
- Footnote 5
The work stoppage between the Central Community Care Access Centre and ONA is part of a larger job action. On January 30, 2,760 employees represented by ONA—working in nine Community Care Access Centres (CCACs)—went on strike after talks broke down during the month. Only the individual agreement between Central CCAC and ONA covers more than 500 employees, and hence is reported as a “major work stoppage.”
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