5 Credits

Labour Relations Foundations

Laying the groundwork for excellence in union-management relations.
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Upcoming Sessions


Program Overview

Laying the Groundwork for Excellence in Union-Management Relations

Our flagship program for over 80 years, Labour Relations Foundations is widely acknowledged as Canada’s number one learning experience of its kind. There is no better place to develop foundational skills in collective bargaining, grievance mediation, and arbitration in just five days.

Program Details

Make the most of this rare opportunity to see how the other side lives; managers will understand the union perspective while union representatives will view issues through management eyes.

a) Grievance Mediation From the Ground Up

Our leaders take you through the nuts and bolts of the grievance mediation process. You will learn the advantages of this process and the issues most appropriate to resolve via mediation. And you will be taught the key factors that ensure success.

b) Walking the Grievance Arbitration Beat

Follow your leader through the grievance arbitration process and progressive discipline essentials. He or she will review the legal framework and key procedural aspects and principles. What are the perennial problem areas? What are the emerging issues and directions?

Participants break into small workshop groups to discuss and prepare selected cases illustrating the basic principles of the arbitration process. This experiential component of the week features:

  • Case presentations
  • Chairman’s critique and commentary
  • General forum discussion
c) The View Beyond the Barricade: The Union Perspective

This is a program highlight: hear from one of Canada’s leading labour advocates about the most significant trends facing organized labour and the resulting challenges and opportunities for Canadian unions. Prepare to be challenged.

d) Canadian Labour Law at a Crossroads

Change is the rule rather than the exception in the arena of labour law. One of Canada’s preeminent experts in the field discusses important trends such as:

  • The direct and indirect application of the Charter to the workplace
  • The growing influence of human rights requirements
  • The duty to accommodate
  • The crucial role of arbitrators
e) Two Tough D’s: Discipline and Discharge

What are the grounds for discipline? What factors influence disciplinary action? Learn the answers to these vexing questions and how to determine appropriate penalties and the most effective procedures for dealing with innocent absenteeism, insubordination, sexual harassment, and termination.

f) Investigation Techniques

In preparing for an arbitration case, you may have to do some fact-finding on the complainant’s allegations. We give you a step-by-step process for building your plan and winning techniques for interviewing the right people and identifying the key records to be examined. Learn how to interview all parties in an objective manner and assess the investigation results.

g) The Collective Bargaining Process

It is a mystery to some, intimidating to others. You are in good hands as your leader takes you through the negotiation process.

Learn to:

  • Prepare for negotiations
  • Negotiate pre-agreements
  • Negotiate the issues
  • Conclude agreements
h) Collective Bargaining Simulation

Your team will meet in the evening to develop a bargaining strategy, assess priorities and interests and develop an opening statement. Then the team will meet again to negotiate all outstanding issues. Experienced coaches are on the sidelines to observe and offer feedback on the effectiveness of bargaining strategy, skills, and style.

i) LR’s Role: Creating a Higher Performance Culture

Before we send you on your way, we invite you to look at the big picture, and where you fit in that picture. Gain insight into LR’s role in cultural change and learn lessons from past change efforts at CP.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Objectives
  • Respond to the changing face of labour law and legal issues
  • Design effective approaches to conflict resolution
  • Ensure successful grievance mediation
  • Research and prepare for an arbitration hearing
  • Carry out a successful investigation process
  • Prepare for collective bargaining and negotiate an agreement
Organizational Benefits
  • Stronger labour management relations to enhance competitive capabilities
  • Aligned labour relations systems that promote high performance
  • Reduced grievance arbitration costs
  • Better understanding of how labour relations practitioners shape the union-management dynamic
  • Better use of the many dispute resolution processes available


Who Should Attend

Managers and Supervisors

Gain a better understanding of how labour relations practitioners shape the union-management dynamic.

Union Officials

Improve overall employee relations.

LR and HR Professionals

Make better use of the dispute resolution processes available.

Facilitators and Speakers

Takeaway Tools

  • Negotiating Template
  • Interest-based resolution exercises
  • Establishing Credibility Checklist
  • Mini-casebook on grievance arbitration

Thought Leadership

Stay ahead of trends in your career with articles and papers written by industry experts.

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