Labour & Regulatory Services - Conciliation & Mediation Services

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  1. What is available to the parties when they cannot agree to the terms of a collective agreement?
  2. What is a conciliation officer?
  3. When is a conciliation officer appointed?
  4. How is a conciliation officer appointed?
  5. Does the conciliation officer have the power to impose a settlement?
  6. What if the conciliation officer is dealing with a first collective agreement between the parties?
  7. Is there a charge for conciliation services?
  8. What is the role of a conciliation officer of the Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade in grievance mediation?
  9. How is a grievance mediator appointed?
  10. Who pays for the services of a grievance mediator?
  11. Are there any other provisions of the act regarding conciliation services?

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1. What is available to the parties when they cannot agree to the terms of a collective agreement?

Procedures under the Act may involve a conciliation officer, a mediator, a conciliation board, or an industrial inquiry commission.

2. What is a conciliation officer?

A Conciliation Officer is an individual employed by the Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade to provide assistance in resolving outstanding labour relations issues between employers and employees. Conciliation Officers are available to assist parties to overcome difficulties and reach an agreement in collective bargaining. An Officer's task is to keep the parties communicating and working towards a settlement. Conciliation services are conducted under a strict code of confidentiality.

3. When is a conciliation officer appointed?

A conciliation officer may be appointed at any time after notice to commence collective bargaining has been given [Subsection 67(1)].

4. How is a conciliation officer appointed?

Either party may apply for conciliation services by writing to the Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, Labour and Regulatory Services Division, stating the parties involved and outlining difficulties in negotiations. A copy of the letter should also be sent to the Conciliation and Mediation Services Branch. The Minister may also appoint a conciliation officer where, although the parties have not made a request, the Minister is of the opinion that it is advisable. [Subsection 67(1)]

After appointment, a conciliation officer will, as soon as possible, confer with the parties and endeavour to bring about an agreement. Each party must attend meetings called by the conciliation officer and must provide a list of its terms of settlement. [Section 67] The failure of either party to co-operate with a conciliation officer may be construed to be an unfair labour practice. [Section 28]

5. Does the conciliation officer have the power to impose a settlement?

No. Conciliation officers have no power to impose a settlement, but have considerable skill and experience in negotiations and labour relations. Often, the officer can suggest to the parties' different approaches or a compromise that is acceptable to both.

Within 30 days [or longer as the parties may agree or the Minister may allow], a conciliation officer reports to the Minister setting out the issues [if any] on which the parties cannot agree and recommendations as to further steps that might be taken to facilitate a settlement. [Section 68]

6. What if the conciliation officer is dealing with a first collective agreement between the parties?

Where the appointment of a conciliation officer is in respect of a first collective agreement, and after conferring with the parties, the conciliation officer is satisfied that the parties have made reasonable efforts to conclude a collective agreement, and is of the opinion that the parties are not likely to conclude a collective agreement, the officer may, [after the expiry of 90 days and before the expiry of 120 days from the day of the appointment], notify the Manitoba Labour Board and the parties, in writing, that the parties, after making reasonable efforts, have not been able to conclude a first collective agreement[subsections 68(3.1) and 87(1)].

7. Is there a charge for conciliation services?

There is no cost for the conciliation officer's services.

8. What is the role of a conciliation officer of the Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade in grievance mediation?

Conciliation officers of the Department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade, in addition to assisting with collective bargaining, are also involved in the grievance arbitration process as mediators. Grievance mediation is a process where representatives of the union and the employer meet with a grievance mediator to attempt to resolve a grievance prior to arbitration.

In grievance mediation, the parties directly involved in the dispute make the final decision as to how the grievance is going to be resolved. They are also responsible for enforcing the settlement that is reached. If no settlement is reached, both parties are free to proceed to arbitration as set out in their collective agreement or as provided for under the Act. [See Part VII of this Guide for further information.]

9. How is a grievance mediator appointed?

A grievance mediator can be appointed in one of three ways. Firstly the parties can make a joint application in writing to the Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade requesting that a grievance mediator be appointed to assist them in resolving their grievance (section 129). Secondly, the parties may wish to name a grievance mediator in their collective agreement (section 129). Thirdly, if the parties apply for expedited arbitration, the Board may request the Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade to appoint a grievance mediator [section 130].

A joint application by the parties to a collective agreement to have the Minister appoint a grievance mediator must be in writing and be accompanied by a copy of their collective agreement, a copy of the grievance, and any written replies or other data related to the grievance.

10. Who pays for the services of a grievance mediator?

There is no charge for the services of a grievance mediator appointed by the Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade either on the joint request of the parties or upon the request of the Board under the expedited arbitration procedure. If the parties use a grievance mediator named in their collective agreement, the government will pay one-third of the cost incurred by the parties for payment of reasonable remuneration and expenses to the person named as grievance mediator in the collective agreement.

11. Are there any other provisions of the act regarding conciliation services?

There are provisions in the Act that provide for the appointment of a conciliation board or an industrial inquiry commission [Sections 97 and 113]. For more information respecting these please contact the Conciliation and Mediation Services Branch.

Contact Information:

Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Labour & Regulatory Services
Conciliation and Mediation Services Branch
606 - 401 York Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0P8

Email Conciliation & Mediation Services
General Office: 204 945-3367
Fax: 204 945-3286

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