OPS Unified Arbitration Award: Frequently Asked Questions


Thank you to the thousands of members who joined our Townhall last month to review the contents of the Bill 124 wage re-opener Award issued by Arbitrator Gerry Lee.


The Ford government’s Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, was found to be void and of no effect in November of 2022. The Union and the Employer agreed to language to meet and negotiate a remedy with the assistance of mediator Gerry Lee. The parties met on January 20 and 21, 2024 and Arbitrator Gerry Lee issued the award.
We have compiled the below frequently asked questions and answers directly from many of you who reached out both during and after the meeting.

Your incredible support and solidarity led us to this win and we will be in touch in the coming weeks and months as we continue to ramp up for bargaining in 2024!

Overview of Wage increases:

Inclusive of the 1% already agreed upon in the signed 2022 Collective Agreement, there were Across the Board increases of:

  • Year 1 – 2022: 3%
  • Year 2 – 2023: 3.5%
  • Year 3 – 2024: 3%

Update on Special Cases:

The arbitrator also identified several job classes with significant hiring and retention issues related to wage disparity and awarded immediate Special Wage Adjustments to those classes as listed in Appendix A of the Award.
In addition to the Award, the agreement includes a new dispute resolution process to address the outstanding special cases that had been submitted to the original Bargaining Team that did not receive Special Wage Adjustments as part of the Award.

Formalizing this new framework to process these special cases is a massive win as it creates a new mechanism for us to fight for the gains that OPS Unified members in many job classes have been fighting for.

Phase 1 of this process involves the Union selecting members to sit on the joint committee. The OPSEU/SEFPO committee members have been identified and were chosen from the last bargaining team membership.

They are as follows:

  • Chris Eckert – OCWA + CERC member
  • Kevin Sprague – MNRF\
  • Grace Grieve – MOH
  • Shawn Burr – MECP

The Special Case Committee met for the first time on April 22, 2024, for a short meeting to discuss Terms of Reference and process. The parties will next meet on May 10th to discuss next steps. Committee members will be doing research on each case and will be contacting the submitting bodies for updated materials and information.

1. When can we expect our retroactive payments as well as our current salary adjustments?

The employer has recently provided the following targeted schedule for implementation:

  • OPS Unified: Updates to new 2024 rate of pay are to begin early to mid-Summer 2024.
  • Retroactive payments to occur throughout Fall 2024.

2. Will retro payments be allocated separately? My concern stems around how the taxation be
worked out?

We have requested to have the retroactive payments on a separate pay. However the employer has final say over how the money is paid out and historically retroactive payments have has not been allocated on a separate payroll.

3. What does the wage increase mean for those in acting manager roles who were given initially a percentage over their OPSEU/SEFPO rate?

You will receive retro payment for the duration that you were an OPSEU/SEFPO member. Upon your return to the bargaining unit, you will receive compensation at the new grid level. Unfortunately, OPSEU does not have info on management wage grids so it would be advised that you follow up with your manager.

4. What is the total value of retroactive payment expected for the years referenced by the Award and when and how will that be forthcoming?

That is a difficult question to answer as everybody has different circumstances based on their years of service. The estimate of the payment hinges on many factors such as potential leaves of absences, temporary assignments within and outside of the bargaining unit, etc. The employer will provide you with a breakdown of monies paid out on your pay stub and we encourage you to review accordingly based on your personal records.

5. How does the wage increase impact employees who accepted a position in a higher classification in the same year. Is this a calculation that will done by the employer based on both wages?

For example, how would the 2% be determined on the following periods:

  • Jan 1 2022 – OAD09
    Sept 23 2022 – OAD10

You will receive an increase for each position – when you started from Jan to Sept 2022 and then again when you started the new position from September 2022 onwards.

6. I became an OPSEU/SEFPO member on February 28, 2022. The presenter indicated that the retroactive payments would be paid out for individuals employed on January 1, 2022. Does this mean that I would be excluded from the increases?

You would be included in the increases. However, your increases will start on Feb 28, 2022, instead of the Jan 1st date.

7. Will this wage increase be retroactive for workers on LTIP at the time and as well as workers who have since retired?


8. Why didn’t OPSEU/SEFPO go to arbitration on the wage re-opener issue in the same way that we go to arbitration during a regular round of bargaining?

We met with the employer on two previous occasions but were either offered nothing at all, or wage increases that did not meet the needs of workers.

When we were unsuccessful and unable to reach an agreement, the parties agreed to an arbitrated process. The OPS Unified Bargaining Unit does not have the legislated right to arbitration under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act (CECBA). Therefore, the team had to bargain an agreement with the employer to allow arbitration. These negotiated increases are awarded to remedy the impacts of Bill 124.

9. For those of us who are on LTIP – who will be making those payments and how do we get our increases applied to our current LTIP payments?

The employer will notify the insurance carrier and the carrier will execute the payment on their end.

10. I retired on January 1, 2023 – will I receive a payment for the extra 2 percent increase for the years that I worked and is this increase credited to pension calculations?

You will receive your increases directly from your employer and the pension portion will be determined by OP Trust as well. Please ensure that your manager has your most recent personal contact and direct deposit information.

11. Do you have to be employed on the date that the retroactive pay is being paid out to be entitled to receive any monies?

No, you are entitled to retro payments for any hours paid up to the date that you left your position. Please ensure that your former manager has your current banking and personal contact info.

12. With respect to Article 42 and LTIP – is it confirmed that workers in this category will still receive the wage increase at 66 percent for each year?

If you are on LTIP and currently receive 66 percent or 2/3s of your salary:

  • In 2022, your salary (wage grid) increased by 1% and you will get an additional 2%
  • In 2023, your salary (wage grid) increased by 1% and you will now get an additional 2.5%
  • In 2024, your salary (wage grid) increased by 3%

Therefore, you will receive retroactive payments for 2021 and 2022 and a 3% increase for 2024.

13. My job was red circled about a year and a half ago as the result of a grievance. Where does this leave me in terms of the increases?

Any red circled positions are frozen and not eligible for the general wage increases until the classification rate equals the red circled rate. Once that happens, the red circled employees will no longer be frozen.