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Conciliation: FAQ

  • Content last reviewed: November 2011

What is conciliation?

Conciliation is a process by which a trade union or an employer can ask the Ontario Ministry of Labour for help in resolving their differences so that they can reach a collective agreement. Either party may apply to the ministry. If parties are in negotiations, they must use, the government's conciliation services before they can get into a position to engage in a strike or lock-out.

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How do you request the appointment of a conciliation officer?

The applicant must complete the Request for Appointment of Conciliation Officer form and forward it to:

Dispute Resolution Services
400 University Avenue, 8th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1T7
Attention: Intake Officer

Application forms are available upon request. Please call (416) 326-7358.

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What if the employer and the union cannot reach agreement in conciliation?

The conciliation officer informs the Ontario Minister of Labour that a collective agreement was unable to be effected. The minister would then generally issue a notice informing the union and the employer that he or she "does not consider it advisable to appoint a conciliation board" (section 21(b) of the act). This notice is known colloquially as the "no board". [Conciliation boards are exceedingly rare. They have not been appointed in recent years.]

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What further assistance is available to the bargaining parties after a "no board" gets issued?

If the parties have not reached a settlement in the conciliation stage, the ministry continues to offer the services of a mediator who will confer with the parties and endeavour to effect a collective agreement. This is referred to as the mediation stage, a process by which a third party attempts to help a trade union and an employer in reaching a collective agreement. Since mediation is discretionary, the service is only used if both parties agree to it.

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