Rideauwood Bargaining Fact Sheet

OPSEU Mental Health Division

Strike vote

Thousands of people depend on the treatment we provide, but we can’t provide it without decent working conditions. That’s why, on November 24, 2017, 84% of us voted to authorize a strike. We are committed to protecting the services we provide.


For the past year, your bargaining team has been trying to negotiate a collective agreement that gives us what we need to offer the best possible care and treatment: security, stability, and fairness.
We met with Rideauwood Executive Director Marion Wright, her bargaining team and her counsel 24 times. We were unable to reach an agreement, so on November 17, 2017, we applied to the Ministry of Labour for conciliation.


During conciliation, the two sides are assisted by a conciliation officer, who is a neutral third party appointed by the ministry to help the parties reach an agreement on the outstanding issues. On Wednesday, Jan. 17, your bargaining team sat down for conciliation with Wright, her team and her legal counsel, but they refused to compromise on the key issues of:

  • Seniority in layoffs
  • Our right to be represented in disputes over insured benefits
  • Fair wages

The “No-Board” Report

If a collective agreement isn’t reached during conciliation, either party may ask the ministry for a “no-board” report, which is an official acknowledgment that bargaining has reached an impasse. 

When the ministry issues a no-board report, a 17-day clock starts ticking towards a legal strike or lock-out. But bargaining still continues while the clock ticks down. Soon after the no-board report, the ministry appoints a mediator. Like a conciliator, a mediator is a professional third party who helps resolve outstanding issues. The mediator is usually the same individual who was the conciliation officer, but mediation has greater urgency as the clock ticks down to a strike or lockout.

On January 17, 2018, your bargaining team requested the no-board report, and it was issued on Tuesday, January 23. A strike or lock-out could have begun as early as Thursday, February 8, but your bargaining team has triggered  “First-Contract Mediation-Arbitration,” which will defer a strike or lockout by at least 45 days.

First-Contract Mediation-Arbitration

Because this is our first contract, either your bargaining team or the employer could trigger a process called “First-Contract Mediation-Arbitration,” which gives the sides extra time and the continued assistance of a mediator to reach an agreement. 

Your bargaining team has triggered first-contract mediation-arbitration, deferring a legal strike or lockout by 45 days from the date the Ministry of Labour appoints a mediator.

If a tentative agreement is reached during these 45 days of mediation, a ratification vote will be held, giving all employees in the bargaining unit the right to vote by secret ballot on whether to accept or reject the tentative agreement. If an agreement still isn’t reached 45 days after “first-contract mediation-arbitration” was triggered, a strike or lockout becomes legal.


If an agreement isn’t reached after 45 days of mediation, either side can apply for “First Contract Arbitration,” which would see the appointment of an arbitrator who considers the outstanding issues and then unilaterally assigns a collective agreement. The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) has up to 30 days to consider the application and make its decision.

A strike or lockout can occur while the OLRB considers the application.

If the OLRB grants arbitration, a strike or lockout ends and the arbitration process begins and a collective agreement will be imposed shortly after. No ratification vote is held on an arbitrated agreement.

If the OLRB decides not to grant arbitration, the strike or lockout continues until the two sides agree to return to the table and reach a tentative agreement.

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