Ontario acts to save academic year

    Legislation requires York University to resume operations

    TORONTO, Jan. 25 /CNW/ -


    The Ontario government has introduced legislation that would require an
end to the deadlocked labour dispute and require York University to resume its
normal operations. The proposed legislation governs labour disputes between
York University and three bargaining units from the Canadian Union of Public
Employees Local 3903 (CUPE 3903).
    The legislation, if passed, would require any strike or lock-out at York
University to be terminated. Striking York University workers would be
required to return to their jobs.
    All outstanding issues would be referred to binding arbitration. York
University and CUPE 3903 would have five days to agree on an arbitrator, or
one would be appointed by the Minister of Labour.


    "Our government respects and believes in the collective bargaining
process," said Labour Minister Peter Fonseca. "Unfortunately, in this case,
the parties became deadlocked after a 12-week strike. We must act now to get
45,000 students back in class."


    -  Collective agreements between York University and CUPE 3903 union
       expired on August 31, 2008
    -  The strike by approximately 3,400 workers began on November 6, 2008
    -  More than 45,000 students have been unable to attend classes for 80
       days at Canada's third largest university.

                                                      Disponible en français


    The York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2009 would require an
end to the deadlocked labour disruption involving York University and three
bargaining units from the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 (CUPE

    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 Arbitrator

    All outstanding issues in dispute between York University and CUPE 3903
would be referred to binding arbitration.
    York University and CUPE 3903 would have five days to agree on the
appointment of an arbitrator and to notify the Minister of Labour. If they are
unable to agree, the Minister would appoint an arbitrator.


    The 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 arbitrator would be required to begin the proceedings within 30 days
of being appointed. The Act would also require the arbitrator to make an award
within 90 days of his or her appointment. The parties and the arbitrator would
have the power to extend these time limits, on agreement, before or after they
    In making the award, the arbitrator would be required to take into
consideration a number of criteria, including the employer's ability to pay
and the economic situation in Ontario.
    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 arbitrator, and the
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 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
such as monetary damages.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Susan McConnell, Minister's Office, (416)
326-7710; Tom Zach, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7404

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Ontario Ministry of Labour

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