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Ontario Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act

Here is a brief outline of Ontario labour relations:

The Ministry of Labour

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is the provincial government department responsible for overseeing the:

  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act

1. The Labour Relations Act, 1995 of Ontario

The Labour Relations Act, 1995 regulates the employment relationships within the unionized workplace in the province of Ontario.

The following are some of the major areas regulated by the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995:

  • certification and decertification of trade unions (establishing bargaining rights)
  • arbitration of first collective agreements
  • succession of trade union
  • ensures trade union's duty of fair representation of its members
  • unfair labour practices in unionized workplaces
  • illegal strikes or lockouts
  • termination of collective agreements
  • arbitration of grievances in the construction industry
  • construction industry accreditation

Fundamental Rights under the Labour Relations Act

One of the fundamental rights of the LRA is the right of every employee to be a member of a trade union, and the right of an employer to be a member of an employers' organization.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding labour relations

The Ontario Labour Relations Board

The Ontario Labour Relations Board was created by section 2 of the Labour Relations Act, 1948, and maintained under the Labour Relations Act, 1995, S.O. 1995, c.1, Sched. A

The "Board" is an independent, adjudicative and administrative tribunal responsible for all labour relations issues covered under the LRA pertaining to employers, employees and trade unions in Ontario.

However, the OLRB does not deal with all types of labour problems. It only deals with those issues that fall under the "Board's" jurisdiction. Other issues would be dealt with by other departments of the Ministry of Labour, by tribunals, by private arbitration, or by the civil courts.

Employees Complaints

  • If you work in a unionized workplace and you have complaints dealing with wages and working conditions, you should contact the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
  • If you work in a non-unionized workplace and you have a complaint or grievance regarding working conditions such as; minimum wages, hours of work, overtime, vacation, holiday entitlement, termination or severance pay, or meal breaks you should contact the Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour at 1-800-531-5551.

Labour Relations in the Different Sectors

  • The labour-management relationship in the provincial public service is regulated under The Public Sector Transition Stability Act, 1997, or Bill 136 with its sub-sections: Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997 (PSLRTA), and Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997
  • Labour relations dealing with Crown Employees (i.e. employees working in Ontario's Public Service, the Workers' Compensation Board, and the Liquor Control Board)are regulated by the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993
  • The labour-management relationship in federally regulated industries, are covered under the Canada Labour Act
  • Employers in non-unionized sectors are also subject to certain applicable provisions of the LRA, namely those dealing with protecting the rights of employees (i.e. the rights of employees seeking unionization).

2. Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000

If you work in a non-unionized workplace then the
Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), and the
Ontario Employment Standards Guide covers the laws and regulations dealing with working conditions such as minimum wages, hours of work, overtime, vacation, and meal breaks, etc.

For more information you can contact the Employment Standards Information Centre at 416-326-7160 or 1-800-531-5551 (Toll-free):

Ontario Labour Relations Laws

Here is a list of the major labour relations laws governing employment in the province of Ontario:

  • Canada Labour Code;
  • Ministry of Labour Act;
  • Rights of Labour Act;
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995;
  • Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000;
  • Occupational Health and Safety Law;
  • Ontario Employers and Employees Act;
  • Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Law;
  • The Public Sector Transition Stability Act, 1997, or Bill 136 (2 parts);
    1. Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997 (PSLRTA);
    2. Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997;
  • Ontario's Colleges Collective Bargaining Law;
  • The Ontario Pay Equity Law;
  • Pension Benefits Law of Ontario;
  • Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993;
  • Ontario's Social Contract Act, 1993;
  • Agricultural Employees Protection Law;
  • Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act;
  • Ontario's Public Service Law;
  • Education Act;
  • Ontario's Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, 2001;
  • Police Services Law.


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