Collective Bargaining In Ontario Colleges
Legislation has been passed extending collective bargaining rights to part-time college workers in Ontario for the first time.
The new Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008, modernizes a bargaining process that was last updated in 1975 and brings the bargaining process for college workers in line with that of most other unionized workplaces in Ontario.
In August 2007, the government announced its intent to introduce changes to the existing Colleges Collective Bargaining Act (1975).
Kevin Whitaker, Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, conducted a review of the existing Colleges Collective Bargaining Act during Fall 2007.
A public review process took place and on February 1, 2008, Mr. Whitaker submitted a full report including recommendations to the government for change that would balance the needs of students, colleges and workers.
In addition to extending collective bargaining rights to part-time workers, the legislation modernizes bargaining processes at colleges, making them more consistent with the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Upon Royal Assent, the new changes will:
- Establish two new bargaining units for colleges, one for part-time and sessional academic staff and one for part-time support staff
- Create a certification process governing how the members of the bargaining units choose their bargaining agent
- Establish a new employer bargaining council to bargain on behalf of all college employers. This responsibility is currently held by the College Compensation and Appointments Council, a government-appointed agency
- Allow the Minister of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer or mediator during contract negotiations, as is the practice under the Labour Relations Act
- Change the structure of collective bargaining for the sector, giving the parties more ownership over the process.