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December Highlights and Collective Bargaining Review 2016

  • Issued: June 2017
  • Content last reviewed: June 2017

Year-end Collective Bargaining Highlights 2016

  • In December, 18 settlements were ratified covering approximately 23,612 employees;[1]. The average annual base wage increase was 1.3%.
  • In the fourth quarter, the sector with the highest average annual base wage increase was for other services with 1.9%.
Table 1: Average Annual Increase by Industry – December
Industry Settlements Employees Average Annual Increase (%) January – December (%)
Construction nil nil nil 2.0
Education & Related Services 1 2,580 1.8 1.1
Health & Social Services 9 2,465 1.1 1.3
Manufacturing 1 225 3.6 1.4
Other Services 2 328 1.2 1.8
Primary nil nil nil nil
Public Administration 3 1,415 1.5 1.6
Trade and Finance 1 174 0.9 1.4
Transportation, Communications, & Utilities 1 16,425 1.2 1.5
All Settlements 18 23,612 1.3 1.6

Annual Collective Bargaining Review 2016

  • Over 2,433 settlements covering approximately 511,911 employees were reached in 2016. The majority of the settlements ratified were in the health and social services (40.2%), followed by other services (15.9%), and construction (13.9%).
  • Average annual base wage increases for the settlements covering 150 or more employees[1] ratified in 2016 increased to 1.6% from 1.0% in 2015. Private sector settlements reported an average annual base wage increase of 1.9%, compared to 1.4% in the public sector.
  • Collective bargaining in 2016 occurred in an environment of steady economic growth. The annual inflation rate, as measured by the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI)[2], averaged 1.8%.
  • Approximately 99% of all settlements were reached without a work disruption.
  • There were 31 work disruptions involving 12,058 employees under Ontario jurisdiction resulting in 244,800 person-days lost.
  • In 2016, approximately 1.6 million employees were covered by a collective agreement, corresponding to a union coverage rate of 26.7%.

Major Settlements Ratified in 2016 Overview

  • In the Construction industry, there were a large number of major settlements in both the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) and non-ICI sectors. In 2016, a major settlement was reached between the Electrical Trade Bargaining Agency and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and IBEW Construction Council of Ontario, covering 16,800 employees.
  • In the Education sector, under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA), central terms were ratified between the Council of Trustees Association and the Ontario Council of Education Workers covering 7,554 employees. A renewed collective agreement under SBCBA reflected a new framework, which required both a centrally and locally bargained settlement. In addition, a number of universities, including the University of Toronto and McMaster University, negotiated their collective agreements in 2016. Certain amounts or percentages of lump sum payments were typical among the major settlements in the education sector.
  • In the Health sector, a two-year term arbitration award was issued to the Participating Hospitals with the Ontario Nurses’ Association, covering central bargaining terms for 57,628 employees.
  • In Manufacturing, three automakers — General Motors, FCA Canada Inc. and Ford Motor — negotiated four-year settlements with similar terms with Unifor. Similar provisions included a ratification or productivity/quality bonus, additional lump sum payments, improvements to a new-hire program, commitments to introduce a mentorship training program, as well as improvements to health care benefits.
  • The Public Administration sector had major settlements between the City of Toronto and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. A total of four, four-year term settlements were reached which covered inside (11,230 employees), outside (4,237 employees), recreational part-time (8,240 employees) and Unit B part-time (1,300 employees) units. Each settlement provided wage increases of 1.3% in each of the four years, and included a lump sum payment of 0.25% on January 1, 2019.
  • A three-year term arbitration award was issued for the Provincial Government and the Ontario Provincial Police Association, covering 6,000 uniform officers. The Correctional Services bargaining unit of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union reached a settlement with the Provincial Government with a three-year renewal agreement, which covered 5,800 employees. A major factor in these negotiations was granting the Correctional Services the ‘essential services designation’ to future labour disputes to binding interest arbitration. The settlement included a 1.4% lump sum payment on January 1, 2016, and a 1.4% wage increase on January 1, 2017, in addition to a 3.0% special wage adjustment for correctional staff and 2.0% for probation staff. The parties also agreed to a progression-through-the-ranks grid freeze for 2016 and 2017.
  • In Trade, No Frills Franchise Owners and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union renewed a six-year agreement covering 10,000 employees. Wage increases negotiated for full-time employees on the full-time payroll included increases of 0.25 cents per hour applicable to those at or above the end rate, following the date of ratification and again following each anniversary year of the settlement. Brewers Retail Inc. (The Beer Store) and the United Food and Commercial Workers, reached a five-year agreement for 6,000 employees.
  • In Other Services, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters reached a five-year renewal agreement covering 1,400 employees. Wage increases of 2.0% in each year of the agreement as well as improvements to meal, uniform, and safety shoe allowances were negotiated.

Collective Bargaining Outlook 2017

  • In 2017, Ontario’s labour market is expected to improve with Ontario’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow by 2.3%[3]. The annual inflation rate, measured by Ontario’s CPI, is projected to increase to 2.0% in 2017[3].
  • Collective bargaining activity in 2017 will involve 2,111 expiring collective agreements covering approximately 324,046 Ontario-based employees[4].
  • Most activity will be concentrated in March and December, primarily affecting the health and social services sector.

[1] Settlements covering 150 or more employees, excepting school sector, where wage increases include all bargaining units above and below 150 employees.

[2] Statistics Canada

[3] Section B: Details on Ontario’s Finances and Economic Outlook, Chapter VI: Responsible Fiscal Management, Budget 2017, Ontario Ministry of Finance

[4] According to information received and processed by Collective Bargaining Information Services (CBIS).

ISSN 2371-0624