Labour Arbitration and Conflict Resolution: Back to Our Roots

The 2010 Don Wood Lecture was delivered by The Honourable Warren K. Winkler, Chief Justice of Ontario. The Chief Justice’s lecture presented a synopsis of changes in the labour relations field. The Chief Justice spoke about the “Golden Era” of labour arbitration (1944-1967), and drawing on his experiences and observations, commented on changes in the field today. These changes include a shift in the culture of labour arbitrations, from one of camaraderie amongst colleagues, to a litigation-based process. He concluded his talk with a call to action for labour arbitrators to rid the “dysfunctional arbitration culture” by raising awareness of proportionality (the amount of time spent on a case has to reflect the importance of the case) and protecting the integrity of labour arbitration by ensuring a fair process, with affordable cost, and appropriate timelines.

The Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations was established by friends of W. Donald Wood to honour his outstanding contribution to Canadian industrial relations. Dr Wood was Director of the Industrial Relations Centre from 1960 to 1985, and the first Director of the School of Industrial Relations, established in 1983. The lecture brings to Queen’s University distinguished individuals who have made an important contribution to industrial relations in Canada or other countries.

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