Negotiators for the union representing 140 staff at the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA), after months of trying to secure a fair collective agreement, say they have reached a ‘crossroads’ and have requested a ‘No Board’ report from the Ministry of Labour.

“We believe the two sides are close to an agreement, but it became clear to us that we are now at a crossroads,” said Harry Goslin, President of the Ontario Compensation Employees Union (OCEU), Local 1750 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1750).

IHSA provides health and safety training, audit and evaluation services to a wide range of Ontario employers and employees who perform high-risk activities, such as construction, electrical work, dangerous goods transport and utility line clearing, to name just a few.

The Ministry of Labour issues a ‘No Board’ report when one of the parties to a labour negotiation believes that the sides have reached an impasse and requests the report. From the date of issue, the parties then have 17 days before a lockout or strike can occur.

The Ministry is expected to issue the report by the end of the week, or early next week, and a lockout or strike deadline is expected on or around June 12.

For several months, OCEU has been attempting to negotiate a fair collective agreement that recognizes the important role their members play in keeping Ontario workers safe, and provides a secure, dignified retirement for all IHSA staff.

Goslin urged IHSA to “take full advantage” of the ‘No Board’ period.

“We have an opportunity to successfully conclude negotiations, with no disruption in service, if both parties are prepared to use the time we have wisely and are willing to negotiate,” he said.