Bill 178

Bill 178, Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017

Flynn, Hon Kevin Daniel Minister of Labour

Current Status: Royal Assent received Chapter Number: S.O. 2017 C.21

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 178 and does not form part of the law.
Bill 178 has been enacted as Chapter 21 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2017.
The Bill addresses the labour dispute between the College Employer Council and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.  It requires the termination of any strike or lock-out and provides a mechanism for achieving a new collective agreement.

An Act to resolve the labour dispute between the College Employer Council and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union
The statutory objects of Ontario’s colleges of applied arts and technology are to offer a comprehensive program of career-oriented, post-secondary education and training to assist individuals in finding and keeping employment, to meet the needs of employers and the changing work environment and to support the economic and social development of their local and diverse communities.

The College Employer Council, which represents Ontario’s colleges for bargaining purposes, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union were parties to a collective agreement for full-time academic staff that expired on September 30, 2017.  The approximately 12,225 faculty (composed of teachers, counsellors and librarians) belonging to the bargaining unit covered by that collective agreement work at 24 colleges across the province.

The parties have engaged in collective bargaining for a new collective agreement for almost 5 months, including mediation with the assistance of the Ministry of Labour, but have failed to resolve the issues in dispute. A strike commenced on October 16, 2017, and classes have been cancelled for approximately five weeks.  Continuing efforts of the Ministry of Labour to assist the parties in resolving their differences through mediation have proved unsuccessful.

A vote of the members of the bargaining unit in respect of the Council’s last offer was conducted by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. That offer was rejected by the members of the bargaining unit. Negotiations have reached an impasse and the parties are deadlocked.

As a result, the education and preparation for employment of over 220,000 full-time students has been disrupted. College students are a diverse group, including recent secondary school graduates and adults strengthening their work skills or seeking retraining, who come from diverse demographic backgrounds.  For a significant number of students, the completion of their academic studies and the successful achievement of the program learning outcomes required for job readiness may be at serious risk.

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