Workplace Bulletin - October 2014

Official Title: Workplace Bulletin, Collective bargaining monthly update, October 2014

Publication date: December 17, 2014

Key negotiation activities

In October, aside from the majorFootnote 1 negotiations that reached settlement, several others were still underway. The most prominent ones were between:

  • Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada: Bargaining between Maple Leaf Foods Inc. and its 2,200 employees started in May 2014. Key issues in negotiations included new job postings and overtime guidelines. The parties have so far settled all non-monetary clauses of the new contract, but wage settlement remains outstanding at the bargaining table. Both parties attempt to arrive at a settlement prior to the agreement’s expiry in December 2014.
  • City of Edmonton and two unions [Civil Service Union (CSU) and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)]: Bargaining continued between the City and the CSU and CUPE who respectively represent 3,880 and 2,560 employees. Both agreements expired in December 2013. Wage adjustments are still outstanding, although progress has been made in settling non-wage issues. Mediation between the City and CUPE had been scheduled for the end of November. The CSU had planned an advisory meeting with its membership near the end of November to discuss developments.

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

Settlements reached

  • In October, there were 15 major collective bargaining settlements, covering a total of 25,420 employees. Eleven of these agreements were reached through direct bargaining, three through mediation and the remaining one through bargaining after a work stoppage.
  • Eight agreements were reached in the public sector, and the remaining seven were in the private sector. Although the public and private sectors had almost equal shares of agreements that were settled in October, the vast majority of covered employees were in the public sector (69.4%).
The data table for this graph is located below
Show Data Table
Collective bargaining settlements by industry, October 2014
Industry Number of settlements
Education, health, and social services 6
Utilities 2
Entertainment and hospitality 2
Primary industries 1
Wholesale and retail trade 1
Information and culture 1
Manufacturing 1
Public Administration 1
  • In the federal jurisdiction, two agreements, covering 3,630 employees, were concluded. Major settlements in other jurisdictions included five agreements in Ontario, three in British Columbia, two in Alberta and one each in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
  • Almost two-thirds of employees (63.8%) ratifying settlements in October were in the education, health and social services industry.

The texts of collective agreements can be accessed through the Negotech while the list of Ratified settlements in 2014 can be accessed under the Resources tab on the Labour Program website.

Settlement outcomes


  • Major collective bargaining settlements in October recorded base-rateFootnote 2 wage adjustments averaging 1.7%Footnote 3 annually over the lifetime of the contracts, an increase from 1.4% in September.
  • In the previous round of negotiations between the same parties, the annual wage adjustments averaged 1.8%.
  • The annualized rate of inflation that prevailed in October (2.4%)Footnote 4 exceeded the average increase in wages (1.7%). Employees who ratified their agreements in October would find their real wage declining over the length of their contracts should inflation continue to remain around the Bank of Canada target (2.0%).
The data table for this graph is located below
Show Data Table
Wage adjustments by jurisdiction and rate of inflation, October 2014
Jurisdiction Wage adjustments (percentage)
Alberta 3.6
Nova Scotia 2.8
Quebec 2.5
Saskatchewan 2.4
Federal Jurisdiction 2.2
Canada 1.7
British Columbia 1.2
Ontario 1.0
  • The average wage adjustment in the public sector (1.3%) was half of that in the private sector (2.6%).
  • Alberta had the highest wage gain (3.6%) through two contracts, whereas Ontario had the lowest (1.0%) through five agreements.
  • There was considerable variation in wage adjustments across industries. Employees working in the utilities industry received the highest average adjustment (3.6%), while those in the manufacturing received the lowest (1.0%).

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


  • Major agreements reached in October had an average duration of 43.8 months, which is about seven months longer than the average recorded during the last round of negotiations between the same parties (36.8 months).
  • On average, public-sector settlements (45.4 months) were five months longer than those in the private sector (40.2 months).
  • The agreement with the longest term (72 months) was settled between the Association patronale des concessionnaires d’automobiles inc. and its 850 trade employees. In contrast, the agreement between the Capital District Health Authority (NS) and its 2,550 nurses had the shortest duration (24 months).
The data table for this graph is located below
Show Data Table
Agreement durations by industry, October 2014
Jurisdiction Agreements duration (in months)
Wholesale and retail trade 72.0
Public administration 60.0
Primary industries 47.0
Education, health, & social services 45.3
All industries 43.8
Utilities 36.0
Information and culture 36.0
Entertainment & hospitality 36.0
Manufacturing 29.6

Working conditions

  • St. James-Assiniboia School Division and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society: A new clause prohibits the employer from using data obtained from Global Positioning Systems to discipline employees.
  • JBS Lakeside Canada Inc. and the United Food and Commercial Workers:
    • The employer agreed to make $15,000 available to employees in the initial year of their contracts, and smaller amounts in subsequent years, for the development of a multiculturalism fund.
    • The parties agreed to establish a new labour-management committee to discuss the company’s use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Major work stoppages

  • Only one majorFootnote 5 work stoppage was reported in October. Five-hundred-and-eighty-three (583) social service employees of Woodgreen Community Services went on a strike that resulted in 7,580 person-days-not-worked (PDNW).
  • To date this year, 10 major work stoppages, seven in the public and three in the private sector, resulted in 1,228,120 PDNW. Over the same period last year, there were more work stoppages (14) but they resulted in fewer PDNW (883,830). One major work stoppage, involving 42,450 teachers in British Columbia, lasted for 27 working days and contributed significantly to the higher PDNW total for this year.

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


Literature Scan

  • The Conference Board of Canada recently released its Compensation Planning Outlook 2015. The report offers wage projections for both unionized and non-unionized employees. It also suggests that Saskatchewan will be the most favourable labour market for employees in 2015. The findings are based on the responses of 382 organizations.
  • TD Economics has developed a Canadian Labour Market Indicator (LMI) that is scaled to be comparable with the unemployment rate. The TD LMI indicates that the Canadian labour market is currently experiencing more weakness than is implied by the unemployment rate alone.
  • In a new report, titled Policies, Laws, and Regulations: Governing Post-Secondary Education and Skills in Canada, researchers from the Conference Board of Canada describe the institutional framework of higher education. The authors suggest improvements for an ideal policy, legal and regulatory environment for post-secondary education and identify areas of action to address current and emerging labour market challenges.


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


This bulletin is based on October 2014 data/information, which was collected as of November 14, 2014.

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

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Footnote 3

The wage adjustment averages are employee-weighted.

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Footnote 4

Statistics Canada, The Daily.

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Footnote 5

Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more.

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