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December Highlights and Collective Bargaining Review 2017

  • Issued: July 2018
  • Content last reviewed: July 2018

Year-end Collective Bargaining Highlights 2017

In December, 23 settlements were ratified covering 29,382 employees[1]. The average annual base wage increase was 1.9%.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the highest average annual base wage increases (2.2%) reported was for education and related services, which had the largest concentration of employees (22,366 employees).

Table 1: Average Annual Increased by Industry - December
Industry Settlements Employees Average Annual Increase
January - December
Construction nil nil nil 1.6
Education & Related Services 5 15,360 1.9 2.0
Health & Social Services 7 2,439 1.5 1.5
Manufacturing 1 185 2.0 1.9
Other Services 2 398 1.8 2.1
Primary nil nil nil 1.5
Public Administration 7 10,837 2.1 1.7
Trade & Finance 1 163 1.5 2.3
Transportation, Communications, & Utilities nil nil nil 1.9
All Settlements 23 29,382 1.9 1.9

Annual Collective Bargaining Review 2017

Collective bargaining activity for 2017 involved the ratification of 2,198 settlements, covering 654,906 employees. The majority of the settlements ratified were in health and social services (30.1%). In terms of the employee coverage, bargaining was concentrated in education and related services and covered 50.3% of all employees.

Average annual base wage increases for the settlements covering 150 or more employees ratified in 2017 increased to 1.9% from 1.6% in 2016. Private sector settlements reported an average annual base wage increase of 2.1%, compared to 1.9% in the public sector.

Collective bargaining in 2017 occurred in an environment of steady economic growth[2]. The annual inflation rate, as measured by the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), averaged 1.7%.

Approximately 98% of all settlements were reached without a work disruption.

There were 43 work disruptions involving 20,055 employees under Ontario jurisdiction resulting in 417,870 person-days lost.

In 2017, approximately 1.6 million employees were covered by a collective agreement, corresponding to a union coverage rate of 26.8%.

Major Settlements Ratified in 2017


Hydro One Inc. and the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW) reached a five-year agreement providing approximately 700 employees with wage increases of 1.5% in years one to three and 2% in the final two years.


Important developments in the Education sector included renewal/extension of the 2014-2017 agreements under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014. The nine central parties ratified two-year contracts, covering more than 274,000 teacher and support staff for the term September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2019.

An arbitration award was issued for the College Employer Council and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), following back-to-work legislation (The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, (Bill 178)) to end the five-week strike at 24 community colleges. The award provided approximately 12,225 academic staff with an average annual base wage increase of 1.9% over four years in addition to a lump sum payment of $900 for full-time staff and $450 for partial-load. In addition, the College Employer Council and OPSEU reached a four-year settlement covering 9,787 support staff. The settlement provides 1.7% average annual base wage increase.

New agreements were also settled for various universities throughout 2017, including Universities of Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph, Queen’s, and Brock.


The Participating Hospitals and OPSEU reached a three-year agreement covering approximately 7,939 employees. The agreement includes a 1.75% wage increase across the board in each year.

OPSEU also negotiated three-year agreements with both Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Ottawa Hospital, covering 1,775 and 1,900 employees respectively. Both agreements provide wage increases of 1.4% in each year.

The Council of Academic Hospital of Ontario (CAHO) and the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO), representing 5,000 residents, reached a four-year agreement providing wage increases of 1.4% in each year and special adjustments ranging from 0.15% to 0.5% for selected employees. The agreement also includes a wage and call stipend reopener in 2018 and 2019.


Two large corporations, General Motors and Bombardier Transportation, negotiated settlements with Unifor, each providing 1.6% average annual wage increase. The settlement also included cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and additional lump sum payments. Another major settlement was reached between Maple Leaf Consumer Foods Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, Local 175. This four-year renewal agreement covers 1,000 employees, and provides a wage increase of 3.2%.

Public Administration

One of the largest settlements in the Public Administration sector was in the Provincial Government, where the Government of Ontario and members of OPSEU in the unified bargaining unit and the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) ratified four-year agreements. Each of the OPSEU (28,000 employees) and AMAPCEO agreements (12,300 employees) provides 1.7% average annual base wage increase over four years including a 1.5% wage increase in 2017.

In the Municipal Government, a number of arbitration awards were issued for various local Professional Fire Fighters’ Associations and various municipalities including the Cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton, Mississauga, and Hamilton. The arbitrated settlements for these five cities, which ranged from 12-month to 60-month duration, covered a total of 5,822 employees, provided average annual wage increases ranging from 1.8% to 2.8%.

The City of Ottawa reached two four-year agreements with Canadian Union Public Employees (CUPE), representing a total of 4,400 employees and a three-year agreement with Civic Institute of Professional Personnel (CIPP). The CUPE agreements provide wage increases of 1.92% in 2016 and 2017, 1.95% in 2018, and 2.0% in 2019, while the CIPP three-year agreement provides 1,954 employees with wage increases of 1.95% in 2017 and 2018 and 2.0% in 2019.

Other major settlements in the municipal government included two four-year agreements between the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Ottawa Police Association. The agreements provide 1,344 uniformed and 589 civilian officers with wage increases of 2.05% in 2016, 1.9% in 2017, 1% on January 1, 2018, 0.79% on July 1, 2018 and 1% on January 1, 2019, and 0.99% on July 1, 2019.


The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and OPSEU settled a four-year agreement for 8,100 employees. The agreement includes 1.9% average annual base wage increase, with split increases on April 1 and October 1 of each year.

National Grocers Co Ltd. (Maple Grove Distribution Centre) and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada reached a seven-year agreement for 862 employees. The agreement provides an average annual wage increase of 2.2% in addition to a lump sum payment in 2019 for eligible employees.

Transport, Communications, and Utilities

Purolator Courier Ltd. and Canada Council of Teamsters, negotiated a five-year renewal agreement, covering approximately 4,500 Ontario-based employees. The deal provides a signing bonus of $400 for selected employees and an average annual wage increase of 1.6%.

Canada Post Corporation reached a three-year agreement with the Association of Postal Officials of Canada, representing approximately 1,484 Ontario-based supervisors and support staff. The agreement includes wage increases of 1.8% in the first and second year and 1.9% in the last year.

Other Services

The Association of Canadian Advertisers and the Institute of Communications Agencies reached a three-year renewal agreement with Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, covering approximately 11,270 employees. The agreement provides general wage increases of 2.0% in each year.

Collective Bargaining Outlook 2018

In 2018, Ontario’s labour market is expected to remain steady with Ontario’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow by 2.2%. The annual CPI in Ontario is also projected to increase to 2.2% in 2018[3].

Collective bargaining activity in 2018 will involve 2,051 expiring collective agreements covering approximately 392,320 Ontario-based employees[4].

Most activity will be concentrated in March and December, primarily affecting health and social services and public administration.

[1]Settlements covering 150 or more employees, with exception to the education school board sector, where wage increases include all bargaining units above and below 150 employees.

[2][3]Section B: Economic Outlook, Chapter III: Ontario’s Economic and Fiscal Strength, Budget 2018, Ontario Ministry of Finance.

[4]The information is derived from the database of Collective Bargaining Information Services (CBIS) as at January 29, 2018.

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ISSN 2371-073X