Education Newsletter of October, 2013 we outlined the key
features of Bill 122, which provides a framework for a two-tiered
bargaining system. On April 7, 2014, Bill 122 passed third
reading at the legislature, establishing the School Boards
Collective Bargaining Act, and the Act has now
received Royal Assent.
The most significant feature of the new Act is the
formal division of local and central bargaining, each of which is
The Act provides for the mandatory establishment of central
tables for teachers' bargaining units, and in specified
circumstances, requires the Minister to establish a central
table for other bargaining units. The Crown must participate
in each central bargaining table.
The scope of what will constitute centrally bargained terms is
to be determined by the parties at the table and by the Crown, with
a right to apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board in the event
of a dispute.
Central terms will be negotiated by employees' bargaining
agencies on behalf of teachers and other employee groups, and by
Associations on behalf of school boards. Trustees'
Associations or Councils of Trustees Associations will be required
to establish policies and procedures. If in the
Minister's opinion a Trustee Association is unable or unwilling
to act as the school boards' bargaining agent, the Lieutenant
Governor in Council may establish a committee to take their
If a vote by a Trustee Association is required, for example to
ratify a negotiated agreement, the outcome must be approved by a
majority of the school boards represented, using a method of voting
which is weighted to reflect the size of the bargaining units
within each school board.
School Boards may be required by regulation to pay fees to
Trustee Associations for activities carried on under the
Act. The regulation may also define how the amount
of such fees is to be determined, and the consequences of failing
to pay, which could include the forfeiture of the right to
participate in a vote.
Any matters not within the scope of central bargaining at a
central table will be bargained locally between individual school
boards and each local employees bargaining agent. The Crown
will not be entitled to participate in local bargaining.
If both central and local bargaining occur, the terms of a
collective agreement must be ratified by the parties at the central
table, and agreed to by the Crown. A memorandum of settlement
which is reached through local bargaining need only be ratified by
the local parties.
Where a dispute arising from any term of a collective agreement
containing a centrally negotiated term is referred to arbitration,
the Crown is entitled to intervene. Any resolution of such a
dispute which results in a settlement agreement must be approved by
Collective agreements reached between a school board and a
bargaining agent will come into force on September 1 of the year in
which the previous agreement expired, and shall have a
three-year term of operation, unless by regulation the Minister
specifies a term of either two or four years.
Collective Agreements in the education sector are due to expire
on August 31, 2014. The passage of the School Boards Collective
Bargaining Act therefore comes in time to provide some much
needed certainty to a process which in recent years has frequently
A more detailed analysis of the implications of the new system
will be discussed at our upcoming Morning
Recess webinar on April 17 at 10:00.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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