Labour Relations Foundations | Queen's University IRC

Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

Labour Relations Foundations

LR 200
5 Credits

Laying the Groundwork for Excellence in Union-Management Relations

To be added to the waitlist for the March 22-26, 2021, session of this course, please send an email to

Our flagship program for 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. 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.

Tour of the Program

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 the 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 Ds: 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

By the end of the week, you will be better positioned to:

  • 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

Takeaway Tools

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

Who Should Attend

Managers, supervisors, union officials, and Labour Relations and Human Resources professionals responsible for employee relations.  

Facilitators and Speakers

Lead Facilitator(s)

Anne Grant

Anne Grant has practised as a full time mediator and conflict resolution professional since 1994.  Anne’s dispute resolution practice includes extensive mediation of labour and civil disputes. She specializes in the assessment and restoration of poisoned work environments as well as conducting a range of workplace investigations. Currently she is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Labour Relations Foundations, Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation, and Workplace Restoration programs, and Past President of the ADR Institute of Ontario.

In the area of labour relations, Anne has facilitated the development of collective bargaining mandates, assisted workplace parties to implement...

Read the full bio for Anne Grant

Guest Speaker(s)

Al Orth

Al Orth is an accomplished human resources professional with an extensive background managing in complex union and non-union environments, within both private and public sectors. During his senior HR management career, Al has held executive responsibility for the strategic and operational direction of all human resource and labour relations functions. As a seasoned negotiator who has conducted over 100 contract negotiations involving over 2 dozen different unions in 6 provinces, he has established a reputation as a skilled and innovative interest based problem-solver, who develops and builds relationships along with creative solutions.

Prior to joining Queen’s University in February of 2011 as Associate Vice-...

Read the full bio for Al Orth

Carol De Rosie

Carol De Rosie is a Registered Nurse who spent most of her adult life in Toronto working at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where she worked in Oncology. As an active staff member, Carol sat on numerous hospital committees through the years including the Diversity, Ethics, Fiscal Advisory, and Nursing Advisory.

Carol held positions with the Ontario Nurses Association, Local 80 as: Grievance Officer, First Vice President, and for 10 years, full time President. During those years she led complicated negotiations during hospital restructuring, and managed grievances, arbitrations, mediation, professional practice, contract negotiations, return to work, and accommodation issues for her members.

In 2003,...

Read the full bio for Carol De Rosie

Derik McArthur

Derik McArthur began his career with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) after graduation from Confederation College with dual diplomas in Human Resources and Human Resources Management. Prior to attending college, he was an active member of the Army Reserve.

His professional career began as an organizer with the union that included work throughout Canada and the United States. He progressed through the organization and was reassigned to member service where his responsibilities focused on grievance settlements and collective bargaining. In 2005, he was elected as president, RWDSU Canada, and as RWDSU International Vice-President/Canadian director. The following year, he was elected to...

Read the full bio for Derik McArthur

Henry Dinsdale

Henry Dinsdale is a senior partner at Hicks Morley’s Toronto office. He has been advising and representing employers for over 25 years.  Henry works in both the federal and provincial sectors and has appeared on behalf of employers in proceedings in every province in the country. His practice ranges from providing sophisticated strategic advice, to collective bargaining and labour and employment law advocacy.

Henry is a graduate of Queen’s Law School and has since earned both Masters and PhD degrees in law from Stanford University Law School.  He has taught labour law at the University of Toronto and Queen’s University law schools, at Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre, and in Osgoode Hall Law...

Read the full bio for Henry Dinsdale

Jennifer Webster

Jennifer Webster has her own practice as a mediator, arbitrator and facilitator, and is a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario. She is a part-time member at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and on the Federal Minister of Labour’s roster of arbitrators under Part I and adjudicators under Part III of the Canada Labour Code. She is also a Member of the Transportation Appeal Tribunal and a Mediator/Arbitrator for the Sport Dispute Resolution Council of Canada.  She supports an approach to conflict resolution that builds relationships and enhances creative problem-solving.

Since September 2015, she has been certified in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitation approaches and has used LEGO®...

Read the full bio for Jennifer Webster

Megan Telford

Megan Telford is the Vice President, Global Head of Employee Relations for the Toronto-Dominion Bank Group. Megan joined TD in 2007 as the Bank’s employment law counsel and then went on to work on the mergers and acquisitions team before joining employee relations.

Previously, Megan was a lawyer in the labour and employment law group at the law firm of Heenan Blaikie in Toronto and was a sessional instructor in the Queen’s University Faculty of Law. In addition, Megan worked for the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

She has published articles on a wide range of labour, employment, administrative law, and human resources issues. Megan obtained both her Masters of Industrial...

Read the full bio for Megan Telford

Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards is the founder and CEO of a privately held polymathic group. Prior to leaving CP to form this endeavour, he was Vice-President Human Resources and Labour Relations at Canadian Pacific from 2010 to 2017 and was responsible for the integrated function across North America. During this tenure, CP performed “the greatest turnaround in corporate history,” according to CNBC.

Prior to joining Canadian Pacific, Peter held senior positions at Labatt Breweries / Interbrew, and Canadian National Railway. During this time, culture change and the high performance organization were part of Peter’s mandate. From working on critically praised books on managing a changing railway (How We Work and Why, and...

Read the full bio for Peter Edwards

*The roster of speakers is subject to change.

Venues and Accommodations

Jun 14-18, 2021 (10am-5pm ET): Virtual Seat

Queen’s IRC will deliver this program virtually, via Zoom, and all participants will attend the program live as it happens. Plan to use video, as appropriate, and have a dedicated working space to participate and engage with the class.

Sep 20-24, 2021 (10am-5pm ET): Virtual Seat

Queen’s IRC will deliver this program virtually, via Zoom, and all participants will attend the program live as it happens. Plan to use video, as appropriate, and have a dedicated working space to participate and engage with the class.

November 29-December 3, 2021: Kingston

The program venue has not been finalized. Queen's IRC programs are usually held at a hotel. Please check back at a later date or contact Queen's IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a program?

You can register online, call us toll-free at 1-888-858-7838, or email us at Once you register, we will send you a confirmation by email. Information about the program location, check-in time, and the agenda will follow.

How do I pay for the program?

If you are registering online, you may pay by Visa or MasterCard.  You may also choose to be invoiced first, and pay by cheque (payable to Queen's University) or credit card. You may also wish to call us with your credit card number to make the payment.

If your organization is tax exempt, we will require a copy of your tax exemption certificate.

Do you offer discounts?

We offer an Early-Bird discount for in-person programs. If you register 60 days before the start of a program, you will save $300 on the tuition of four- and five-day programs, and $150 on two- and three-day programs. Virtual programs are offered at approximately 15% less than our in-person rates and are not eligible for an Early-Bird rate.

If you register three people from the same organization in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 10% discount on program fees. If you register five or more people in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 20% discount. These discounts apply to both in-person and virtual training.

If you know you will be pursuing a Queen's Certificate and would like to remit tuition in one payment before your first program, we offer a 10% discount on program fees. Contact us at for more information.

Please note that only one discount may be applied.

What is included in the registration fee?

Program fees include tuition, workbook materials, lunches, and some dinners. You are responsible for transportation, accommodation, and some meals.

Once I enroll in a program, may I cancel without penalty?

Substitutions are permitted with no penalty 8 days or more from the program start date.
Substitutions 7 days or less before the program start date will be subject to a $500 charge.
Transfers and cancellations are permitted with no penalty up to 15 days prior to the program start date.
Transfers and cancellations 14 days or less from the program start date will be subject to a 100% charge of the program fee.

Where does the program take place?

Our programs typically take place at a hotel. This information can be found in the tab above, called Venue and Accommodations.

I would like to make my travel plans. What are the start and end times for the program?

Programs in Kingston - Registration and reception begins at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The in-class program starts 5:00 p.m. The program finishes at noon on Friday.

Programs outside Kingston - Registration for these programs runs from 8:00 AM - 8:30 a.m. on the first day. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. and finishes at noon on the last day.

If I am working towards a Queen's IRC Certificate, which course should I take first?

You may take the programs in any order that reflects your learning needs at the time. Our certificates feature a core program or programs that introduce you to what we consider the core competencies of the field. The remaining programs offer a deeper exploration of each area. For this reason, we find that participants in the certificate stream benefit most by taking the foundational program first.

My level of expertise is above the foundational program for the certificate I am working on. Do I still need to take that program to earn a certificate?

Queen's IRC offers participants maximum flexibility to customize their individual training needs. Upon request, participants with advanced expertise may skip the foundational program, and choose another program from our entire program lineup, for credit towards a certificate. Participants must earn 12 credits to earn a certificate.

How long do I have to complete a certificate?

We attach no timeline for achieving your certificate. Once you have earned a credit, you have earned the credit. We do recommend, however, that participants complete their certificate within one to six years. Most people earn their certificates within three years.

What if I want to take one of your programs but do not want to pursue a certificate?

That's fine. All of our programs may be taken individually, and you can mix and match the courses in labour relations, human resources and organization development, depending on your learning needs. At the conclusion of each program, you are given a certificate of completion.

I have taken a custom program with the IRC.  Will this count towards a certificate?

Yes. Participants who take an IRC custom program may also use their training days as credits towards a certificate.

If I have other questions, who may I speak with personally?

For a program registration query, please feel free to call us at 1-888-858-7838 or 613-533-6628. To reach the Director and staff members, consult our online directory. To reach one of our facilitators, please contact Stephanie Noel at 613-533-6000 ext. 77088 or