Industrial Relations Current Affairs

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Industrial Relations Current Affairs

Unionization and Employee Relations Programs in Canada


Since 1930, the Canadian industrial relations systems have transformed. But, is the current Canadian industrial relations system aligned with the current business environment requirements? Research by (Terry, 2013) reveals that the Canadian industrial relations are sound, but still require prime amendments and improvements. With intensified globalization, Canadian labor relations needs to not only focus on the Canadian labor climate, but also to focus on adapting their services to fit global influences and trends. Excellent industrial relations are continent on the quality of workforce involved, and Canada needs to establish proper ways of making the system more effective, efficient, and balanced (Terry, 2013). This report discusses the effects of unionization and employment relations programs in Canada.


Why Labor Unions

Canadian labor unions create a difference both in the quality of workers lives and work, this difference is known as a union advantage. Canadian workers are bind together by the Canadian Labor Congress, established by people fighting for safe work conditions, fair wages, and decent work hours (Tucker & Turner, 2013). Most standards and benefits realized after the formation of this labor movement are today enjoyed by all Canadian workers, such as health and safety regulations, minimum wage rate, and overtime compensation. Labor unions make the job environment safer and fairer for all employees. Workers receive better pay and greatly benefit a health work-home life balance. The Canadian Labor Congress releases research each year during the Labor Day to show the economic benefits to government realized of having unions at work. Union advantage has boosted Canada’s economic growth. Currently, unionized Canadian workers earn $5.28/hour more than the non-unionized employees. Workers below 25 years earn an extra 27 percent in their jobs as dictated in the collective agreement. Workers registered in a labor union benefit from workplace advocacy and assurance of job security and protection. Industrial Relations Current Affairs

Employment and Employee Benefits in Canada

Canadian labor unions have helped in establishing excellent employee relations as well as resolving worker disputes and grievances in the workplace. Canada’s federal government exercises full jurisdiction over workers engaged in interprovincial nature of activities as dictated in the Canadian Constitution (Brian, John, Christopher, & Fasken, 2016). Federal standards and laws regulate labor relations to safeguard all Canadian workers, including foreign nationals. Labor unions ensure that employers hire qualified and skilled personnel who can uphold quality and integrity within the workplace. The employment status in Canada has also advanced with both workers and employers enjoying equal rights. The establishment of employment laws by Canadian Federal government has helped establish excellent labor relations, boost workforce management, enhance behavior of workers in the workplace, and advance labor policies and markets that govern Canadian workplace relations (Brian, John, Christopher, & Fasken, 2016). When all these parties are satisfied, businesses improve productivity and the quality of product and services, thus benefiting the community at large.


Union Strikes and Lockouts

Union strikes refer to the withholding of labor by workers to acquire better working conditions and wages.  Contrastingly, lockouts entail the temporary business shutdown by employers to compel workers to accept certain work conditions. In Canada, both union strikes and lockouts have been vital in creating excellent working climate for Canadians. In the federally-regulated Canada workplaces, employers’ relationships with workers unions are guided by the Canadian Labor Code (Gerald, 2015). When labor strikes occur in Canada, union representatives and the employer engage in the review of collective bargaining agreement set to govern their working terms and conditions. When the employer is found to have breached the terms and conditions stated in the collective bargaining agreement, then the union strike are legal and vice versa (Gerald, 2015). In other times, Canadian employers compel workers to operate in respect to set conditions, failure to which leads to temporal shutdown of the business. When labor strikes and lockouts arise, both the government suffers in forms of reduced economic growth and insufficient supply of required products and services. Industrial Relations Current Affairs

Cons of Canadian Labor Unions

When labor strikes occur in Canada, employers and worker representatives engage in Union negotiations (Janet, 2012). Some Union negotiations result to salaries and other related costs being increased to unreasonably high rates. If the employer is unable to meet the high wages for union workers, the company may collapse. Alternatively, employers increase products and services price or outsources its labor, this is not friendly to both the market and the employees. Also, union protection of workers makes it hard for employers to terminate, discipline, and promote personnel. Further, a necessary tension created between workers and employers as a result of Canadian labor unions is counterproductive (Janet, 2012). This relationship promotes workplace enmity and not collaboration. Additionally, unlike non-unionized employee, union worker are confined to strictly follow union strike rules and thus loss of income to them and the company. The end result is poor economic growth in Canada and dissatisfied community about existence of labor unions in the country.

Effects of Industrial Labor Relations in Canada

Canada is a mixed economy, and has a robust public sector supporting a market economy and offering basic services. In Canada, only personnel considered to be “employees’ get employment law protection (Mark, 2013). Industrial labor laws are initiated in order to establish excellent labor relations between companies, the government, and employees; and whose impact is felt by the general public whose actions drive business success and economic growth. Over the past two decades, Canadian workplaces have enjoyed a wide variety of transformations. Today, the work environment is secure and employees enjoy many benefits from the employer. Workers have partnered across the country and thus making it easy to raise voice grievances against the employer and government together. Industrial voluntarism has also taken shape in Canada, with union-managed relations taking course across the country (Mark, 2013). Excellent industrial labor relations have led to union recognition, fairness agreement frameworks, and excellent industrial relations between all interested parties. As a result, the general public enjoys sufficient provision of high quality products and services from business thus boosting economic growth.



In summary, Canadian labor unions and employee relations have brought brilliance in balancing power between workers and employers. Unionized employee are enjoying undeniable benefits more than non-union workers; ranging from comfortable working conditions, better pay, and better work-life balance. Labor unions command the jurisdiction to negotiate for higher salaries and proper working conditions on behalf of the members. Additionally, unionized workers are guaranteed on union advocacy in their places of work, hence increased job security and protection. Further, labor unions give employee power via collective voice. However, these labor union benefits come at a cost to workers, employer, government, and public at large. Therefore, labor unions should operate in a manner that benefits all interested parties and ensure that all union activities are legal as outlined in the Canadian Constitution. Industrial Relations Current Affairs


Brian, B. W., John, C. D., Christopher, P. D., & Fasken, D. L. (2016). Employment and employee benefits in Canada: overview. Practical Law, 1-6.

Gerald, H. (2015). Strikes and Lockouts. The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1-31.

Janet, M. (2012). The weakening state of Canadian labour unions. Labor, 1-9.

Mark, T. (2013). Public Sector Industrial Relations in Canada: Does It Threaten or Sustain Democracy? Osgoode Digital Commons, 1-22.

Terry, W. H. (2013). Labour-Management Relations in Canada: A Survey of Union Officials. IRC Press.

Tucker, S., & Turner, N. (2013). Waiting for safety: Responses by young Canadian workers to unsafe work. Journal of Safety Research, 103-110.


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