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Collective Bargaining Review 2018

  • Issued: June 2019
  • Content last reviewed: June 2019

Annual Collective Bargaining Review 2018

  • Collective bargaining activity for 2018 involved the ratification of 2,376 settlements, covering 388,995 employees. The majority of the settlements ratified were in health and social services, accounting for 925 (38.9%) of all settlements and 180,142 (46.3%) of all employees.
  • Average annual base wage increases for the settlements covering 150 or more employees ratified in 2018 decreased to 1.7% from 1.9% in 2017. Private sector settlements reported an average annual base wage increase of 1.9%, compared to 1.6% in the public sector.
  • The economic environment in 2018 experienced a decrease in the Ontario real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2.2% from 2.8% reported in 2017. Ontario’s labour market also decreased in employment by 1.6% in 2018, compared to 1.8% in 2017, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% in 2018 from 6.0% in 2017[1]. The annual inflation rate, as measured by the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), averaged 2.4%[2].
  • Approximately 99% of all settlements were reached without a work disruption.
  • There were 31 work disruptions involving 11,016 employees under Ontario jurisdiction resulting in 303,230 person-days lost.
  • In 2018, approximately 1.6 million employees were covered by a collective agreement, corresponding to a union coverage rate of 26.3%.

Major Settlements Ratified in 2018


Non-Destructive Testing Companies and NDT Management Association reached a three-year agreement with the Quality Control Council of Canada (United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of The Plumbers and Pipe Fitter Industry of The United States and Canada/International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers), providing approximately 1,500 employees with average annual base wage increases of 2.0% over the term of the collective agreement.


Multiple agreements were reached among Ontario Universities, including York University, Ryerson University, Brock University, Carleton University, Trent University, University of Guelph, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo, and University of Western Ontario, altogether covering more than 14,000 employees.

The Ontario government passed Back to Class Act (York University), 2018 (Bill 2) to end a work disruption by York University and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing graduate teaching/research assistants and contract faculty.


Major settlements included centrally negotiated settlements between the Participating Hospitals and CUPE, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Unifor, and arbitrated settlement for the Participating Hospitals and Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA). The four-year settlement reached with CUPE, SEIU, and Unifor provided wage increases of 1.4% in the first and second years, 1.6% in the third year, and 1.65% in the fourth year. The ONA arbitrated settlement provided wage increases of 1.4% in the first year and 1.75% in the second year.


Bombardier Aerospace and Unifor concluded a three-year agreement, with average annual base wage increase of 1.2% for 1,600 employees. The settlement also included continued cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and adjustments for skilled trades. Another major settlement was reached between Canada Goose Inc. and Workers United Canada Council for a four-year term, covering 685 employees with average annual wage increase of 1.4%.

Municipal Government

The City of Toronto and Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, representing 3,069 employees, reached a five-year agreement. Wage increases in each year range from 1.8% to 2.5%, representing an average annual wage increase of 2.1%. Several other settlements between Ontario Professional Fire Fighters’ Association and various municipalities include the Cities of Hamilton, Brampton, Windsor, Markham, Kitchener, Burlington, Barrie, Vaughan, and Town of Richmond Hill. These settlements covered a total of 2,672 employees and provided average annual wage increases ranging from 1.4% to 2.8%.

Other major settlement in the municipal government was reached between the Regional Municipality of Durham and CUPE, representing 1,700 employees. The three-year agreement includes wage increases of 1.9% in 2018, 1.7% in 2019, and 1.5% in 2020. CUPE also settled agreements for 874 employees of the Regional Municipality of Niagara and 832 employees of City of London for an average annual wage increase of 1.5% and 1.8% respectively over four years.

Provincial Government

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and OPSEU reached a four-year agreement for an average annual wage increase of 1.9%. The agreement, which covered 381 employees, also includes a signing bonus of $200 to all members who are employed at the date of ratification.


Metro Ontario Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) settled a four-year agreement. The agreement provides 7,000 employees with an average annual wage increase of 1.0%.

Transport, Communications, and Utilities

Canadian Media Producers Association and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists negotiated a three-year agreement, covering approximately 11,920 employees. The deal reports average annual wage increase of 3.0%.

Toronto Transit Commission reached a three-year agreement with Amalgamated Transit Union, representing approximately 11,000 employees. The settlement includes annual wage increases of 2.0% over the term of the collective agreement, and adjustments for skilled trades.

Other negotiations in transport, communications and utilities sector include Hydro One Inc. and CUPE, Ontario Power Generation Inc. and the Society of United Professionals, as well as Bell Technical Solutions Inc. and Unifor.

Other Services

Garda Canada Security Corp., Securitas Canada Ltd., and Paladin Security Group Ltd. each negotiated two-year agreements with the United Steelworkers (USW). The agreements covered approximately 13,000 security.

Several agreements were reached for casinos including Windsor Casino Ltd., Casino Rama Services, Great Blue Heron Casino, Elements Casino Brantford, Casino Ajax, and Casino Woodbine, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., and Elements Casino Mohawk, each negotiating three-year or four-year agreements with Unifor.

Collective Bargaining Outlook 2019

  • In 2019, Ontario’s labour market is expected to remain steady with Ontario’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow by 1.4%. The annual CPI in Ontario is also projected to increase to 1.9% in 2019[3].
  • Collective bargaining activity in 2019 will involve 7,257 expiring collective agreements covering approximately 705,969 Ontario-based employees.
  • Collective agreements expiring during 2019 will affect employees primarily in education and related services (300,459 employees), in construction (145,616 employees), and in health and social services (92,025 employees).

[1][3]Chapter 2: Economic Outlook, 2019 Ontario Budget, Ministry of Finance.

[2]Statistics Canada

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ISSN 2562-6183