Collective Agreements

Certification Process 

Quick Facts 
  • Fees: $20
  • Processing Time: 7.5 Weeks (if no amendments required)

Purpose of a Collective Agreement

A Collective Agreement (CA) is an agreement made between an employer and a trade union of employees on the terms and conditions of employment for the employees. The CA specifies the categories of employees covered, the duration of the agreement and the grievance procedure. The terms typically covered include working hours, rest days; termination of employment; salary and bonuses; annual and sick leave; and medical benefits. The CA is the outcome of negotiation between the parties, and reflects the expectations and concerns of each party. It gives certainty to the employer and employees on their respective rights and obligations.

Requirements for Collective Agreements

Under the Industrial Relations (IR) Act, a CA must meet certain requirements, viz:

  • Be made in writing and signed by the parties to the CA
  • Be delivered within one week of signing to the Registrar, IAC
  • Specify the validity period, which should be a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 3 years
  • Provide for the settlement of disputes between the parties while the CA is in force, including referral of the dispute to a Referee appointed under the IR Act.

Certification of Collective Agreements

A CA filed with the IAC is certified once the Court ascertains that the CA complies with the Industrial Relations Act and other labour laws such as the Employment Act; meets the requirements for a legally binding document and sets out adequately the terms of the agreement between the parties. The IAC may refuse to certify a CA if these conditions are not met or if the Court is of the view that it is not in the public interest that the CA be certified. The IAC may require part(s) of the CA to be amended if necessary, before certifying the CA. The IAC may also choose to amend the CA directly if the parties refuse to do so. A certified CA is binding on the employer and the union and their lawful successors.