Canada: Ontario Government Asks Unions To Extend Education Contracts

The Ontario Government has offered contract extensions to most of the key education unions, in order to achieve labour peace during the next election.1

Extensions would likely mean providing additional wage increases and altering terms to ensure most public, Catholic and French elementary and secondary teachers and education workers do not strike before a vote expected in June 2018.2 The government may have to amend the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (the "Act") to extend the term of the contracts.

All collective agreements with teachers and other education workers in the province will expire on August 31, 2017.

An internal memorandum which was sent to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation ("OSSTF") on September 30, 2016 indicated that the union had received the request and was considering it.3 Local representatives of OSSTF approved a resolution to commence internal discussions on extending the current collective agreement.

It is not clear what the length of the extension would be. A one-year extension would give the Liberal Government labour peace during an election, which is expected to be held in the spring of 2018.4

During the last week of September 2016, Premier Kathleen Wynne said that the Government was prepared to loosen provincial purse strings for the next round of negotiations with public-sector unions.

The Premier confirmed that the Government will provide more funds in an attempt to reach settlements in the next round of bargaining by lifting the requirement that new deals be net zero.5

The Premier stated, "That was in a period of time and we have been through that period. It's been a challenging time in those conversations with public-sector employees." The Premier added, "We have to work with our (union) partners so that they can be supported in the work that they do."6

Treasury Board President Liz Sandals, who will oversee labour negotiations across the public sector, recently said that as the province's economy improves, she will be reviewing how much money is available for labour agreements. In 2017, the Government expects to table a balanced provincial budget.

The first round of bargaining under the Act resulted in nine central agreements. Although 456 local agreements have been negotiated with the union locals and school boards across the province, as of September 28, 2016, 14 local agreements were still outstanding.7 The Act formally introduced a two-tier system of bargaining in education, with financial matters, such as salary, maternity leave and sick leave, to be addressed at the provincial tables, leaving individual boards to reach separate agreements on local issues.

The Ministry of Education committed to reviewing the legislation after the first round of central collective bargaining. In this regard, the Ministry conducted an internal review on the status of the new bargaining process.8 The education sector is waiting to see if the Government is going to make any revisions to the legislation. We understand that the review of the legislation has gone to the Minister.

During the review process, the Government heard different suggestions on how to improve the legislation, but there was no consensus on how to amend the Act.9

In light of the time line for bargaining, if the Ministry decides to make changes to the Act, it is expected they will move quickly to make the amendments.

Under the current provisions of the Act, notice to bargain centrally is notice to bargain locally. This notice can be served in June 2017. The Minister has authority to extend the period by regulation, allowing notice to bargain to be served earlier. The legislation does not set out rules on the timing of central and local bargaining. In the first round of bargaining, the different associations chose different options. For example, in the last round of bargaining, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association ("OECTA") and the Ontario Catholic Schools Trustees' Association ("OCSTA") sequenced local bargaining by agreement, after the central terms were agreed to.

Under the provisions of the Act, the central parties and the Crown must meet within 15 days of notice to commence central bargaining on the issue of the scope. Disputes over scope may be referred to the Ontario Labour Relations Board after 45 days from the notice to bargain. The Act does not permit strikes or lockouts on the issue of scope.

Parties to central bargaining are the "employee bargaining agency" (i.e. the existing teachers' union) and the "employer bargaining agency" (i.e. the existing trustees' association).

An employer bargaining agency has exclusive authority for certain bargaining activities, including representing school boards at the central table, exercising rights and privileges of boards under the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and binding boards to the central terms of their collective agreements.

Crown consent is required before an employer bargaining agency can agree to refer matters to arbitration, authorize lock outs, alter the rates of wages or agree to any other term that is a central term related to central bargaining.

Central deals were reached in August 2015 with OSSTF and OECTA. In September 2015, the French teachers' unions reached a central agreement. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario reached a central deal in November 2015.

It remains to be seen what amendments to the Act will be made by the Government as a result of its internal review. In light of the fact that 14 local education agreements remain outstanding, it appears that some education workers in the province are close to a perpetual state of bargaining.10 This has resulted in a significant increase in negotiation costs. It is in the interest of all parties to find ways to speed up the bargaining process.

It will be interesting to see if the teachers, education workers and the Government can agree on terms to extend their current collective agreements. This will be a complex process that will require input and ratification from employee and employer bargaining agencies in the public, Catholic and French school board sectors. The current provisions of the Act do not permit contracts to be extended. In this regard, the Government may have to amend the Act to provide for such extensions.


1 Adrian Morrow and Caroline Alphonso, "Ontario Liberals offer contract extensions to teachers' unions", The Globe and Mail (October 3, 2016) at:

2 Ibid.

3 Caroline Alphonso and Adrian Morrow, "Ontario quietly asks public high-school teacher's union to extend contract", The Globe and Mail (September 30, 2016) at:

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Kristin Rushowy, "456 education contracts down – but still 14 to go", The Toronto Star (September 28, 2016) at:

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Allison Jones, "Teachers' near — 'perpetual state of bargaining' costing Ontario millions", The Toronto Star (September 4, 2016) at:

About BLG

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions