Advanced Education, Skills and Labour


Conciliation services are provided to employers and unions in an attempt to assist the parties to reach a collective agreement and avoid a work stoppage; either party may request mediation assistance in a colllective bargaining dispute. The department monitors the labour relations situation at worksites where collective agreements are due to expire.

Conciliation services provide competent, well-trained Industrial Relations Officers to assist organized labour and management in collective bargaining, and to resolve impasse situations thereby minimizing work stoppages. Our Officers promote objectivity and compromise, and act as a catalyst to help the parties move away from their polarized positions. By meeting with the parties, either jointly and/or seperately, the Officer helps the parties understand each other's interests and find ways of resolving their differences. This intervention has a high success rate and is a significant factor in enabling parties to avoid a strike or lockout in the Province.

Questions and Answers:

1. When can I apply for conciliation?

As per Section 98 of the Labour Relations Act, either party can apply once notice to begin collective bargaining has been given and either collective bargaining has not begun within the timeframes of the Act or collective bargaining has begun.

2. How do I apply for conciliation?

Either party may apply seperately or jointly to the Minister responsible for Advanced Education, Skills and Labour. This request should include a copy of the current collective agreement, a copy of the notice to negotiate as well as a list of the outstanding issues.

3. Why conciliation?

If the parties are unable to successfully conclude a collective agreement, they may require the assistance of a conciliator to reach a settlement.

4. Is there a cost?

There is no charge for conciliation services.

5. What happens if the parties are unable to conclude a collective agreement in conciliation?

In the event that the parties are unsuccessful in conciliation, and the officer has determined that the parties are at a stalement, the officer, at his or her discretion, will write a report to the Minister. This report triggers a 15 day count down for the parties to be in position to take a strike vote or initiate a lock-out.

6. Does the Officer have the ability to impose a settlement?

No. Conciliation officers have no power to impose a settlement, but have considerable skill and experience in negotiation and labour relations. Often the officer can suggest to the parties different approaches or a compromise that is acceptable to both.

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