The unionization rate in Ontario is approximately 28% and for Canada it is 31%. (Source: HRSDC calculations based on Statistics Canada, Labour Force Historical Review 2009)
A collective agreement is a written contract of employment covering a group of employees who are represented by a trade union. This agreement contains provisions governing the terms and conditions of employment. It also contains the rights, privileges and duties of the employer, the trade union and the employees.
Collective bargaining is a process in which a trade union and an employer negotiate a first collective agreement or the renewal of a previous collective agreement. The parties usually focus on such issues as wages, working conditions, grievance procedures and fringe benefits.
If a trade union has just been certified, it will then give the employer written notice of its desire to bargain. If the employer and the union are already bound by a collective agreement, then either party may give notice to bargain:
In either case, the union and the employer must meet within 15 days from the giving of notice, unless they agree to some other time period. (See Sections 16, 17 and 59 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995).
Either the employer or the union may ask the Ontario Minister of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will then try to help them reach an agreement (See Section 18 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995).