Bargaining Process


Collective agreements in the Ontario public College sector can vary in length.

On average, agreements are signed for the timespan of two to four years.

The below process reflects bargaining practices on behalf of the employer.

Bargaining process demonstrated as a cycle

  • A collective agreement is signed.
  • Regular meetings with the Employer Employee Relations Committee occur. At these meetings, ongoing concerns are discussed and resolved where possible. These meetings occur for the duration of the Collective agreement until notice to bargain is provided.
  • The collective agreement is approaching its expiry year.
  • CEC recruits College administration employees to be part of the bargaining team
  • The bargaining team is finalized. Team members are representative of small, medium, and large Colleges across Ontario.
  • The College bargaining team distributes a survey to College human resources to identify areas of the collective agreement that require clarification or amendment.
  • The College bargaining team holds consultations with different groups across all 24 Colleges to receive feedback on areas survey responses highlighted.
  • The College bargaining team presents its findings and suggestions to Human Resources Steering Committee. A bargaining mandate is set.
  • 90 days before the collective agreement expires, notice to bargain is provided.
  • Active negotiations occur where both CEC and OPSEU bring proposals for collective agreement amendments to the table.
  • An amended collective agreement proposal is put forth to members to vote.
  • A new collective agreement is signed.


*Should a strike occur, it would take place prior to the signing of a new collective agreement but after the collective agreement has expired. Additionally, a conciliation “No Board” report must have been issued by the Ministry of Labour and 16 days from the date of the No Board Report have passed.

 **The College bargaining team has the ability to ask the membership to vote on its offer once. It can take place as early as 15 days before the collective agreement expires.