Collective Bargaining & Interest Arbitration

We assist employers throughout all stages of the collective bargaining process: from providing representation at the collective bargaining table, to providing ongoing advice with respect to development of contract language or bargaining strategies.

Emond Harnden has a proven track record of navigating clients through difficult rounds of bargaining without work stoppages.


Our lawyers have experience:

  • Assisting employers in determining their bargaining goals, strategies and mandates
  • Working collaboratively with employers in the drafting of proposals and positions
  • Providing in-depth research services to assist with collective bargaining, such as collective agreement audits, sector-based wage and benefits surveys, and research on specific terms and conditions of employment
  • Acting as chief spokesperson in collective bargaining
  • Acting as a backroom advisor providing strategic legal advice and support for employers who prefer to lead the bargaining
  • Providing legal assistance to employers in managing the ratification and agreement implementation process


Contingency planning

Our lawyers are also experienced in assisting our clients with preparing for possible strike management, as well as preparing a strike protocol when impasse is reached at the bargaining table and strike/lockout occurs. This includes:

  • Navigating the limited restrictions on the use of replacement workers
  • Managing effective stakeholder communications (including the delicate matter of communications with striking employees)
  • Help with managing picket line activities
  • Obtaining injunctive relief (often on very tight timelines)

When the collective bargaining process does not result in an agreement between the parties, we also have the knowledge, expertise and resources to effectively represent management throughout the interest arbitration process. Members of our firm are experienced in providing expert representation to management in presenting written and oral submissions and legal arguments on all outstanding issues between the parties before the relevant Boards or Tribunals if a conciliation, mediation or interest arbitration is required.

In addition, the Firm’s lawyers regularly represent clients governed by compulsory interest arbitration provisions or essential service legislation at interest arbitration proceedings, including under Ontario’s Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, the Police Services Act and the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act.

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