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Canadian Bargaining Pacts Settled in 2013 Show 1.4 Percent Average Wage Increase

Monday, February 3, 2014
By Peter Menyasz

Jan. 31 --Major collective bargaining agreements reached in Canada during 2013 produced average base rate wage increases of 1.4 percent, smaller than the 1.7 percent average in 2012 and the 1.8 percent average in each of 2011 and 2010, Labour Canada reported Jan. 30.

The average wage increases provided by settlements reached during 2013 also remained significantly below the averages of 2.4 percent in 2009, 3.2 percent in 2008 and 3.3 percent in 2007, the department said. The data will be published in February in its Workplace Bulletin publication. Labour Canada reports only on settlements involving 500 or more employees.

The 2013 figure was based on 432 collective agreements covering 1,014,210 employees, with durations averaging 36.0 months. By comparison, 265 agreements were reached in 2012, covering 735,721 employees and with durations averaging 36.6 months. The average duration of agreements has been gradually decreasing--39.8 months in 2011, 41.4 months in 2010, 41.1 months in 2009, and 41.7 months in 2008.

Private sector collective agreements in 2013 produced base rate wage increases averaging 2.2 months, based on 134 agreements covering 385,300 employees and with an average duration of 40.1 months. Public sector agreements, meanwhile, produced average base rate wage increases of 1.0 percent, based on 298 agreements covering 628,910 employees and with an average duration of 33.5 months.

By industry sector, the largest average wage growth in 2013 was in primary industries (3.1 percent), followed by finance and professional services (2.5 percent), utilities (2.3 percent), construction (2.2 percent), manufacturing (1.9 percent), information and culture (1.8 percent), entertainment and hospitality (1.6 percent), wholesale and retail trade (1.5 percent), public administration (1.4 percent) and education, health and social services (0.7 percent).

On a regional basis, the largest average wage growth in 2013 was in Nova Scotia (2.6 percent), followed by Quebec (2.0 percent), Manitoba (2.0 percent), the federal jurisdiction (2.0 percent), Saskatchewan (1.9 percent), territories--Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories (1.9 percent), multi-province settlements (1.8 percent), British Columbia (1.7 percent), Prince Edward Island (1.6 percent), New Brunswick (1.1 percent) and Ontario (0.9 percent). 

Fourth Quarter Settlements Average 1.9 Percent

Collective agreements reached during the fourth quarter of 2013 produced average base rate wage increases of 1.9 percent, smaller than the 2.5 percent average in the third quarter and 1.5 percent in the second quarter, but larger than the 0.7 percent average in the first quarter and matched the 1.4 percent average in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The fourth quarter 2013 figure was based on 58 agreements covering 150,800 employees, with durations averaging 50.2 months.

Private sector agreements in the fourth quarter produced average base rate wage increases of 2.6 percent, based on 33 agreements covering 59,090 employees with average durations of 51.1 months. Public sector agreements in the fourth quarter produced average base rate wage increases of 1.5 percent, based on 25 agreements covering 90,900 employees, with average durations of 49.6 months. 

December Agreements Average 1.7 Percent

Major collective agreements reached during December produced average base rate wage increases of 1.7 percent, smaller than the averages of 2.0 percent in November, 1.8 percent in October, 2.1 percent in September, and 1.8 percent in August. The December figure was based on 17 agreements covering 43,960 employees, with durations averaging 49.9 months.

Private sector collective agreements settled in December produced average wage increases of 2.6 percent, smaller than the 2.7 percent in November but larger than the 2.3 percent in October and 2.4 percent in September. The December figure was based on 11 agreements covering 14,030 employees, with durations averaging 45.9 months.

Public sector agreements in December, meanwhile, produced average wage increases of 1.4 percent, smaller than the 1.7 percent in November, matching the 1.4 percent in October, and smaller than the 2.0 percent in September. The December figure was based on six collective agreements covering 29,930 employees, with durations averaging 51.8 months.

On a sectoral basis, the largest average wage growth in December was in wholesale and retail trade (2.9 percent), followed by manufacturing (2.7 percent), finance and professional services (2.4 percent), transportation (2.0 percent), public administration (1.7 percent), information and culture (1.6 percent), entertainment and hospitality (1.2 percent) and education, health and social services (1.1 percent). No settlements were reported in the other industry sectors.

On a regional basis, the largest average wage growth in December was in Alberta (3.4 percent), followed by Quebec (2.3 percent), the federal jurisdiction (1.8 percent) and British Columbia (1.5 percent). No settlements were reported in the other provinces or Canada's three territories. 

Details of Major Contracts

Major agreements reached in December included (average annual wage increases in parentheses):

• 16,600 Health Employers Association of British Columbia paramedical professional and technical employees, represented provincewide by the Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (1.1 percent);

• 9,440 Canada Border Services Agency customs officers, represented nationwide by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (1.7 percent);

• 3,000 Interior Forest Labour Relations Association mill employees, represented in British Columbia's Southern Interior region by the United Steelworkers (2.6 percent);

•  2,200 Canadian Forest Products Ltd. mill employees, represented in Prince George, British Columbia, by the United Steelworkers (2.6 percent);

• 1,700 Finning (Canada) service and maintenance employees, represented provincewide in Alberta by the International Association of Machinists (3.4 percent); and

• 1,670 Bombardier Inc. technical employees, represented in Dorval, Quebec, by the Canadian Auto Workers, now Unifor (3.0 percent).

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Menyasz in Ottawa at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com

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