Labour Relations Outlook 2020

The Conference Board of Canada, 51 pages, January 17, 2020
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The Labour Relations Outlook 2020 informs labour, management, and policy-makers about issues that will influence labour relations and collective bargaining in Canada over the coming year.

Document Highlights

The Labour Relations Outlook outlines employers’ and unions’ key priorities going into negotiations for 2020. It provides a view into the top issues that parties will bring to the table, and suggests ways in which unions and employers can work together to face upcoming challenges head-on. The report brings together data from quantitative and qualitative sources. It uses data from The Conference Board of Canada’s Compensation Planning Outlook 2020 survey and also pulls from the dialogue of six labour and employer leaders who participated in a roundtable discussion in the fall of 2019.

The report addresses key issues such as labour shortages, advancements in technology, budget constraints and business competitiveness, employee retention, and the fast pace of change in the workforce. It also discusses the impact the “gig economy” will have on today’s employers and unions.

With a divisive political climate south of the border, the regulatory environment in Canada has become increasingly complex over the last several years. Combined with only slight economic growth expected for 2020, labour leaders and employers have a challenging bargaining year ahead of them.

Table of Contents


  • Negotiation issues
  • Top issues for employers
  • Top issues for unions
  • Top issues for unions
  • Structural labour relations issues in 2020
  • Union-management climate
  • Next steps

Appendix A—Methodology

Appendix B—The Compensation Planning Outlook

Appendix C—The macro climate

Appendix D—Economic Outlook

Appendix E—Bibliography

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