Director’s Message – January 2023

As Queen’s IRC’s Director of Professional Programs, I am very pleased to share that a new year brings exciting new things for us!

We are delighted to once again be traveling from coast to coast with our professional development programs. It has been wonderful to meet our clients in their home cities, as well as to experience these wonderful locations with participants from across the country. We are also happy to share that, based on our client input, our virtual training is here to stay for those that prefer this format.

Last fall, we launched our digital program badges and certificates, issuing almost 500 digital credentials in the program season! These digital badges enable our participants to share their achievements with their networks online and provide verification of achievement to current and future employers. We look forward to continuing to celebrate your dedication to your professional development.

This spring welcomes the launch of a new program, Leading Human Resources, which will replace our Advanced HR program. The program will launch on May 2-4, 2023, in Toronto, with an introductory savings of $500. This program has been developed to explore the many changes and transformations in human resources, as we move from human “resources” to a focus on “people and culture”.  It will support HR leaders at all levels to develop a strategic and impactful human resource practice.

As we all know, the world of work has changed monumentally over the past three years and many organizations are now just beginning to experience their new normal. This makes 2023 a great year for organizations to set new goals and realign team dynamics. Our custom programs give you space and time to explore specific opportunities and challenges with your teams, with simulation-based learning and tools to test models and ideas in a collaborative environment.  Choose remote facilitation or take advantage of on-site learning to bring multiple teams together.

As we continue to celebrate 85 years of lifelong learning, we’re immensely proud of our history as a pioneer in premium professional development programs that impart the skills needed in a rapidly-changing world. This would not be possible without the input and support of our clients, and I thank you for your continued trust in us and our programs.

We look forward to working with you to make 2023 a year of discovering and development, and cannot wait to see what this year has to offer.

85 Years of Lifelong Learning

Queen’s IRC celebrated our 85th anniversary on October 12, 2022, with an afternoon open house. Guests from the University and local community, as well as IRC participants, speakers, and staff celebrated at the Queen’s IRC office in Kingston.

Speeches from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, Dr. Barbara Crow, and Queen’s IRC Director of Professional Programs, Alison Darling, highlighted new programs and projects on the horizon for the Centre, and showcased our achievements.

The event also provided the opportunity to reflect on our history and review some of the documents from our past. In many ways, we see how far our training – and the world in general – has come since 1937. We started in a time when industrial relations conferences and training was for “business men”, with men leading the training as well. In 2022, we find that at least half, and often more, of our participants (and facilitators) are women.

Topics at the “Conference on Industrial Relations” on Sept 14-17, 1938, included subjects such as: “trends in employer-employee relations”, “a business man looks at industrial relations” and “work-sharing during a depression”. Collective bargaining was also a topic at this conference, and is still a big part of our Labour Relations Foundations program today.

In 1940, our industrial relations training evolved to cover topics of importance like “employee welfare in war time”, “training personnel for industrial occupations” and “labour supply in relation to the war-time needs of industry”.

While the specific needs of those working in labour relations and human resources has changed over the past 85 years, there are many themes that stay the same, such as “problems in group relations” (a topic from a 1940 course). We are still talking about relationships in many of our courses, like Managing Unionized Environments, Building Trust Using Emotional Intelligence, and Strategies for Workplace Conflicts.

In the programme for our short course in Industrial Relations, held on June 10-15, 1940, we can see similarities to our current Labour Relations Foundations program – a full week course, topics presented by a variety of industry experts, readings and small group discussions on each subject (which are then discussed with the full group), and opportunities to network with other professionals facing similar challenges.

From our roots of running annual industrial relations conferences and publishing printed research on industrial relations, to today, running dozens of training programs each year and publishing practitioner-focused articles online, we have been meeting the needs of working professionals for 85 years.

We look forward to continuing with this important work for the next 85 years!

Download our 1938 & 1940 Industrial Relations Programmes to see more!

Director’s Note – February 2022

Welcome to a new year of learning! As Queen’s IRC’s new Director of Professional Programs, I’m delighted to introduce our 2022 Program Planner. It’s a privilege to join this team, and I look forward to getting to know you, our participants and sponsor organizations, throughout 2022.

While we had hoped to resume in-person training here in Kingston and across Canada this winter, the ongoing pandemic means we’ll have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, “Studio IRC” brings you virtually into our technology-enhanced classrooms, with amazing tools that our program team and expert facilitators are using to deliver immersive and interactive programs.

New year, new workplace

The pandemic has altered our work habits and work environments in a way we could have never imagined. Organizational Transformation, one of our newest programs, provides you with foundational knowledge and practical skills to guide transformation and design through pandemic and post-pandemic realities. At a time when many people are re-evaluating their careers or are feeling disconnected from their colleagues, our highly interactive Strategies for Workplace Conflicts program teaches managers and
leaders practical and essential skills for approaching everyday workplace disputes in a constructive and effective way.

Share your achievements with digital badges and certificates

This year, we’ll begin awarding digital credentialing for our programs and certificates – a way for you to share your achievements online. These can be proudly displayed on your social networks and/or as part of your email signature and will also be verifiable by current or potential employers.

Need a custom program?

This is a great year for organizations to build team skills and set new goals. Our custom programs give you space and time to explore specific opportunities and challenges with your teams, with simulation-based learning and tools to test models and ideas in a collaborative environment. Choose remote facilitation, or take advantage of on-site learning to bring multiple teams together.

It’s our 85th anniversary in October!

We’re immensely proud of our history as a pioneer in premium professional development programs. Over the years, the IRC has continually worked to transform the latest research in labour relations, human resources and organizational development into evidence-based practical programs for today’s workplace. We’re currently planning ways to celebrate this significant milestone throughout the year – stay tuned for details!
Let’s take on the new year with a refreshed optimism. We look forward to working with you to make 2022 a year of learning and growing.

Alison Darling
Director, Professional Programs
Queen’s University IRC

Queen’s IRC Welcomes a New Director

Alison Darling

We are pleased to announce that Alison Darling has been appointed the Director of Professional Programs of Queen’s IRC, effective October 18th, 2021.

Alison is a long-time Queen’s University employee and joins us from the Smith School of Business. She brings to the IRC a demonstrated history of successfully leading teams within the higher education sector. She is skilled in leadership, maximizing operational effectiveness, training delivery, management of multi-national teams, coaching, and teaching. She is also a strong business development professional who holds an Executive MBA from Queen’s.

Alison will take the lead on setting the strategic direction for Queen’s IRC, as well as overseeing business operations, and the financial management of the Centre. Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Alison.

Jump into 2021 with a Program from Queen’s IRC

Jump into 2021 with a program from Queen's IRC

Start 2021 off right with a virtual program from Queen’s IRC!

At Queen’s IRC, our professional development programs are led by industry leaders with real-world expertise, and based on over 80 years of experience and best practices that bring results. Virtual programs are delivered live, via Zoom, so everyone can learn and participate together.


Save $300 on 4-5 credit programs and $150 on 2-3 credit programs when you register on or before January 29, 2021. This limited time offer only applies to 2021 programs.

Building Trust in the Workplace (2 Credits)  
March 29-April 1, 2021 (1pm-4:30pm ET)

Change Management (3 Credits)
March 9-12, 2021 (12pm-4pm ET)

Coaching Skills (2 Credits)
May 17-20, 2021 (11am-4pm ET)

HR Metrics and Analytics (3 Credits)
May 3-6, 2021 (10am-3pm ET)

Linking HR Strategy to Business Strategy (3 Credits)
March 8-11, 2021 (10am-3pm ET)

Labour Arbitration Skills (4 Credits)
May 31-June 3, 2021 (10am-5pm ET)

Labour Relations Foundations (5 Credits)
March 22-26, 2021 (10am-5pm ET)
June 14-18, 2021 (10am-5pm ET)

Managing Unionized Environments (3 Credits)
February 23-26, 2021 (11:30am-5pm ET)

Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation (4 Credits)
April 19-23, 2021 (10am-4:30pm ET)

Negotiation Skills (5 Credits)
April 26-30, 2021 (10am-5pm ET)
July 19-23, 2021 (10am-5pm ET)

Organizational Design (3 Credits)
June 7-11, 2021(11am-3:30pm ET)

Performance Management (2 Credits)
May 10-13, 2021 (1pm-4pm ET)

Strategies for Workplace Conflicts (3 Credits)
March 1-5, 2021 (11am-3pm ET)

Strategic Workforce Planning (2 Credits)
April 7-9, 2021 (1pm-4:30pm ET)

Have questions? Contact one of our program advisors:
Call toll free: 1-888-858-7838

Queen’s IRC Program Prospectus

Queen's IRC Program ProspectusOur Program Prospectus is now available!

Please download the enhanced digital version to learn more about our virtual training options in 2021!

What’s Inside:

  • A digital guide to assist in your professional development planning
  • Program details for our updated OD Foundations course
  • Information on our risk-free registration promise
  • A Certificate explanation section that will greatly aid in learning how to earn one of our prestigious Human Resources, Organizational Development or Labour Relations certificates

Download the Program Prospectus now!

An Inquiry into the State of Labour Relations in Canada in 2020

An Inquiry into the State of Labour Relations in Canada in 2020We invite everyone who works in a labour relations role (both union and management) to participate in our survey on the State of Labour Relations in Canada. THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED.

The survey follows research of the same nature that we conducted in 2011 under the leadership of Queen’s IRC Director, Paul Juniper. We estimate it will take about 20-25 minutes of your time.

The survey has two parts. The first section asks demographic questions aimed to better understand the varied roles and responsibilities of Canada’s labour relations practitioners. The second section seeks perspectives on the labour relations profession, and asks about the challenges that you are facing in labour relations in 2020.

For your participation, you’ll have a chance to win a $50 coffee card (ie: Tim Hortons or Starbucks). There will be an opportunity to enter the draw at the end of the survey, and there will be one $50 gift card for every 100 respondents.

We invite you to share your insights on labour relations in Canada before the survey closes on October 15, 2020. Please pass this invitation along to any of your labour relations colleagues in the field who could also share their insights.

Should you have any questions regarding Queen’s IRC’s practitioner-focused research, please contact our research team at

Introduction of Virtual Seats

Introducing Online SeatsThe current COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted our ability to offer training the way we normally do, with participants travelling from across the country to meet face-to-face and work together to build new skills. We know that you still have training needs, and we have been working hard to find ways to meet these needs in a way that keeps everyone safe, continues to deliver the premium training you expect from Queen’s IRC, and has options that work with provincial and organizational restrictions.

We are creating virtual seats for many of our programs. When considering how to incorporate remote learners into our programs, we have remained committed to preserving the integrity of Queen’s IRC programs, most notably, programs led by leading practitioners in the field and the opportunity to network and interact with fellow participants. This is why we have chosen to offer synchronous delivery at this time. We strongly believe in the value of learning and practicing new skills with peers and the ability to have immediate feedback from facilitators and coaches. There is additional information on our website about attending remotely.

We have reviewed our program lineup and identified some that we feel can be delivered successfully with participants attending live online from their own location.

Most notably, our flagship program, Labour Relations Foundations, is one of the first programs where we will expand our delivery model to include remote learners in September. This will give us the potential to reach more participants across the country where travel, cost and accessibility may be a hindrance. Labour Relations Foundations is one of the best programs to introduce new participants to who we are, what we do so well, and provide foundational skills in collective bargaining, grievance mediation, fact-finding, arbitration (and more) in just five days.

Our newly expanded Building Trust in the Workplace program will be delivered completely online in September as well. Instead of a two-day program in-person, it will be delivered over four days in three-hour sessions.

We look forward to welcoming you to Queen’s IRC this fall. In the meantime, please join us for our free Community of Practice Webinars to connect with our facilitators and your peers on hot topics in labour relations, human resources and organizational development.

Stephanie NoelSincerely,

Stephanie Noel, MBA
Queen’s IRC


P.S. If you have a group of people who need training, and travel isn’t an option, we have custom training solutions – both in person and online. Contact us at: for more info.

Expectations for Virtual Learning with Queen’s IRC

Expectations for Online Learning with Queen’s IRC Queen’s IRC is delivering synchronous virtual learning, where all participants attend the program live as it happens. In addition to the live sessions, there may be some “homework” or offline work to complete before the next session.

For many virtual programs, we will deliver the training in half or partial days. (ie: A two-day program could be delivered in four half-day blocks.) Some longer programs will stay as full day training due to schedule constraints.

What does a Queen’s IRC virtual seat look like?

Our virtual training will include:

  • Programs delivered over Zoom so everyone can participate in live programs.
  • Presentations from facilitators, coaches and guest speakers.
  • All participants joining the conversation via video and chats.
  • Participation in group activities via the Zoom Room (or similar online platform).
  • A Queen’s IRC program coordinator online during the program to answer logistical questions and help with any issues that may arise.
  • Participation in networking events where applicable.

What do we expect from remote learners?

As a remote learner, we expect you to:

  • Use video, as appropriate, while attending the program and participate actively (ie: join on time, ask questions, complete groupwork, and interact with your fellow participants).
  • Plan ahead. Whenever possible, please have a dedicated working space to participate and engage with the class. We recommend that if you normally use a shared or open workspace, that you make arrangements to use a meeting room, work from home, or other option to give you quiet space for the duration of the course.

We are here for you

In addition to our world-class facilitators and coaches, Queen’s IRC provides a program coordinator onsite for support before, during and after all our in-person programs. This high level of customer service will continue with remote learning. A program coordinator will be online during the program to monitor chats, answer logistical questions, move people into and out of virtual breakout rooms, provide materials/files, and deal with any other issues that may arise.

We are committed to making sure that you can get the most out of the training when participating remotely, and we will do our best to provide the support you. If you encounter an issue, we will:

  • Work diligently to resolve your issue where possible, or find a way to make sure you are still able to capture the learning (ie: provide a recording of the speaker or set up a one-on-one call with the facilitator to help you catch up.)
  • Give you the ability to sign into the next online program delivery free of charge to learn anything you may have missed. (Depending on the program, this will likely be a few months down the road.) You may also choose to attend the next program in-person at a greatly reduced fee.


Participants must attend the entire program in order to receive the program certificate of completion and any credits towards a Queen’s IRC Certificate. There will be no partial credits granted for any program that is not fully completed. If you are unable to complete the program remotely due to illness or networking difficulties, you are able to reattend in the future (in person or remotely) to complete the program and earn full credits. Additional fees may apply.

Register Risk-Free

Planning for the future has never been more challenging than it is today. If you register for an in-person program that is not able to run in-person, we will convert you to a virtual seat, give you the option to defer your enrolment to a time in which we are able to offer the course in-person, transfer your enrolment to another course offered by the IRC, or you can choose to retain a credit on file or receive a refund, if applicable. Rest assured, if you are sick or have another issue that prevents you from attending one of our programs (in person or online), we will work with you to ensure you are able to complete the training at a later time, receive a credit or refund, or substitute a colleague into your seat.

We are fully committed to delivering the exceptional quality of training that you have come to expect from the IRC, regardless of the method in which the course is ultimately delivered.

Community of Practice Webinars and Community Meetings

Community of PracticeQueen’s IRC is pleased to bring you a series of free Community of Practice (COP) webinars and online meetings, to allow the IRC community to connect with our facilitators and discuss burning issues in labour relations, human resources and organizational development.

This is a great opportunity to connect with peers, get advice from our facilitators and learn how to approach today’s new way of working. There will be weekly opportunities to join a session via Zoom. The upcoming sessions are noted below – we expect them to run about 45 minutes each.

The format of each session will vary, and registration will be limited for some sessions. We have a waiting list in place and will schedule additional sessions (on the same topics) based on demand.

There are currently no COP webinars scheduled.


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