Speaking Engagement

Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) Virtual One-Day Symposium Series: Negotiations Strategies: Creating and Claiming Value

Event Details

February 26, 2021


Areas where Employers can Benefit from Strategic Negotiations – 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Presentation by: Sophia Duguay, Andrew J. Movrin and Grant R. Nuttall

This presentation will discuss strategies and tactics to contain increasing labour and benefit costs of municipal employers as they relate to benefit packages, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Top Ups and Vacation/Lieu Day accrual during disability leaves (both short-term and long-term) and WSIB.

The topics of discussion are:

  • Benefit Packages Don’t Always Have to Increase
    • Pre-authorization of drugs has the potential to save some money with regard to the new and expensive drugs
    • How is this different from just generic drugs with a “do not substitute”?
    • What does “reasonable and customary” mean?
  • WSIB Top-Up
    • Are you topping-up to net pay or gross pay?
    • Are you giving employees off on compensation an annual $23,000 bonus due to the tax treatment of WSIB benefits?
    • What language do you need in your collective agreement to prevent this from happening?
  • Vacation/Lieu Day Accrual During STD/LTD/WSIB
    • Are you paying 52 weeks of pay for every year that an employee is in receipt of these disability benefits?
    • Are you allowing employees to accumulate them and get a large payout at the maximum rate of pay when they retire?
    • Can you force employees to use or give up benefits?

The learning objectives of the session are:

  • A deeper understanding of options available to municipal employers to control labour and benefits costs; and,
  • Language for collective agreements.


What is the Difference in Planning in a Right to Strike World versus an Interest Arbitration World? – 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Presentation by: John W. Saunders and Lucy Wu

This presentation will help you determine if you can engage in soft or hard bargaining and how to mitigate risk in these different situations, and where mediation fits into the process. It will address the benefit of gathering comparative data and how to decide if an issue should be left on the table as a “trader” or abandoned as a proposal that you will not achieve. Can you change proposals or add to your proposals? How do you respond when the other side does that? Is that type of bargaining in bad faith? Discussion will also centre on the role that Council wants to play and what role you should have it play.

The learning objectives of the session are:

  • To learn how to alter your approach to the negotiating task before you;
  • How to strategically prepare for and execute bargaining agendas; and,
  • How to protect yourself against unfair labour practice charges.


How do you Prepare for a Labour Dispute? – 3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Presentation by: John W. Saunders and Lucy Wu

Explore the difference in planning for a strike versus a lockout and how to obtain a mandate from Council for each of these situations.

This presentation will address such questions as:

  • Do you use replacement workers?
  • Are there any essential services that must be kept going?
  • How do you deal with the public?
  • Do you engage or ignore the bargaining unit at the start of a strike?
  • Do you continue benefits?
  • What level of security do you need?
  • How important are public relations during a labour dispute?
  • What about employees who do not want to strike – can they cross the picket line?

The learning objectives of the session are:

  • To provide an understanding of the options available in the event of a strike or lockout to minimize the impact on municipal operations and budgets.

For more information on this event and to register, please visit the OMHRA website.