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Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017

Archived Backgrounder

Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017

Ministry of Labour

The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017 would require an end to the deadlocked labour disruption affecting college students at Ontario's 24 public colleges. The labour dispute is between the College Employer Council, acting on behalf of the employer, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) college academic unit.

Termination of Strikes and Lock-outs

The Act would require the Council and colleges to terminate any ongoing lock-out arising out of the dispute and OPSEU would be required to terminate any ongoing strike. The colleges would also be required to resume or continue operations.

There would also be a prohibition on any further strike or lock-out with respect to this round of collective bargaining. Any action to call, authorize, threaten, counsel, procure, support or encourage a strike or lock-out would also be prohibited.

Appointment of Mediator-Arbitrator

All outstanding issues in dispute between the Council and OPSEU would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration.

The Council and OPSEU would have five days to agree on the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator and to notify the Minister of Labour of the person appointed. If they are unable to agree, the Minister would appoint a mediator-arbitrator.  


The mediator-arbitrator would have the exclusive power to determine all matters necessary to conclude a new collective agreement, and would have the ability to assist the parties in settling any related matter.

The mediator-arbitrator would be required to begin the proceedings within 30 days of being appointed. The Act would also require the mediator-arbitrator to make an award within 90 days of his or her appointment. The parties and the mediator-arbitrator would have the power to extend these time limits, on agreement, before or after they expire.

In making the award, the mediator-arbitrator would be required to take into consideration a number of criteria, including the employers' ability to pay and the economic situation in Ontario.

The award would be final and binding on the Council, OPSEU and all employees who are in the affected bargaining unit.

Nothing in the proposed Act prohibits the parties from continuing to negotiate, and they would be encouraged to do so. If the parties execute a new collective agreement, they would be required to inform the mediator-arbitrator, and the mediation-arbitration process would terminate.

Until a new collective agreement is in place, the terms and conditions of employment that applied the day before a strike became lawful would continue to apply with respect to the employees represented by OPSEU, unless the Council and OPSEU agree otherwise.


A failure to comply with the provisions of the proposed Act that require the termination of lock-outs and strikes and prohibit them from occurring would constitute an offence punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $1,000 for an individual and up to $25,000 in the case of an employer or trade union. Each day of non-compliance would constitute a separate offence.

A strike or lock-out in contravention of the Act would also be deemed an unlawful strike for the purposes of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008, and the aggrieved party could apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a remedy.

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