The Government of Alberta is amending legislation that would bring academic staff under the Labour Relations Code.
If passed, An Act to Enhance Post-Secondary Academic Bargaining would impact faculty associations, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who were not under previous essential services legislation for public sector employees.
“Our government is committed to complying with the Supreme Court of Canada decision that guaranteed Canadian workers the right to strike while maintaining essential public services. This legislation will ensure that labour relations at Alberta’s colleges and universities are consistent with the rest of Alberta’s public sector and with the post-secondary sector across Canada.”
Previous consultation on essential service legislation indicated government needed additional time to engage specifically with post-secondary stakeholders. Consultation took place in the fall of 2016, including an online survey, in-person meetings and a series of roundtables in Edmonton and Calgary.
“Today’s bill would bring about the transition, for post-secondary education, to the free collective bargaining called for by the Supreme Court. I thank the consultation participants for so generously sharing their time and insights. That enabled me to provide the minister with recommendations and a sense of the parties’ differing views on the way forward. The choices the government has made in today’s bill would bring Alberta’s legislation into line with the mainstream of legislation across Canada.”
Bringing academic staff under the Labour Relations Code and the proposed amendments would:
- Extend the right to strike to academic staff associations and graduate student associations.
- Create postdoctoral fellows associations and extend the right to strike to postdoctoral students.
- Extend lockout provisions for post-secondary institutions.
- Require the post-secondary institutions to negotiate essential services agreements.
- Bring to an end compulsory arbitration where contracts and costs are delivered by an arbitrator.
The proposed legislation amends the Post-Secondary Learning Act and the Labour Relations Code.