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York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2018

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York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2018

The proposed York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2018 would require an end to the deadlocked labour disruption involving York University and three bargaining units represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 (CUPE 3903).

Termination of Strikes and Lock-Outs

The act would require York University to terminate any ongoing lock-out and CUPE 3903 would be required to terminate any ongoing strike. York University would also be required to resume or continue its normal 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 York University and CUPE 3903 would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration.

York University and CUPE 3903 would have five days to agree on the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator and to notify the Minister of Labour. If they are unable to agree, the Minister or his designate 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 also 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 all factors he or she considers relevant.

The award would be final and binding on York University, CUPE 3903, and all employees who are in the affected bargaining units.

Nothing in the Act prohibits the parties from continuing to negotiate, and they are 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 in the affected bargaining units represented by CUPE 3903, unless York University and CUPE 3903 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 $2,000 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 Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the aggrieved party could apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for a remedy.


  • August 31, 2017: The collective agreements for three CUPE 3903 bargaining units expired.
  • September 2017: York University and CUPE 3903 began negotiations.
  • March 5, 2018: Following 26 negotiation/conciliation meetings, CUPE 3903 began strike action.
  • April 6 & 9:  A "last-offer" vote under section 42 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, took place
    • The vote was conducted by electronic balloting.
    • All three bargaining units rejected their respective offers.
  • April 13, 2018: The Minister of Labour announced the establishment of an Industrial Inquiry Commission (IIC) to inquire into and report to the Minister on the labour dispute 
    • William Kaplan, an experienced mediator-arbitrator, was appointed as the IIC's sole member.
  • May 4, 2018: William Kaplan delivered his report to the Minister of Labour
    • The report noted that the parties have reached an impasse and there is no reason to believe that they will be able to resolve their dispute through free collective bargaining.

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