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Labour Relations

Course Code: BUSN 3760
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Business
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is an introduction to the Canadian industrial relations system, including: the historical development of trade unions; the structure, organization and operation of unions; public policy covering labour and employment relations; union certification; collective bargaining; contract administration; dispute resolution; and, contemporary issues in labour relations.

Course Content

  1. Origins and history of Canada's labour movement
    1. International unions
    2. Craft and industrial unions
    3. The Winnipeg general strike
    4. Socio-political forces affecting the growth and support for unions
    5. The Great Depression, war and post-war labour-management conflict
  2. Structure of unions
    1. The union local, national and international structures
    2. Labour councils and federations
    3. The Canadian Labour Congress
    4. Unions and union membership in Canada
  3. Labour legislation and public policy
    1. B.C. Labour Relations Code and guide
    2. Employment Standards Act
    3. Impact of Human Rights legislation
    4. Recent changes to legislation
  4. Collective bargaining rights
    1. Reasons employees join unions
    2. The certification process
    3. Collective bargaining
    4. Contract administration
    5. Grievances
    6. Arbitration
    7. Conciliation
    8. Mediation
    9. Strikes and lockouts
  5. Contemporary issues
    1. The future of Industrial Relations: unionism vs. managerialism

Methods of Instruction

Methods will include lectures, seminars, text and reading assignments, role-playing and classroom discussion.  Guest speakers and audio-visual materials will be used where appropriate.  All students will participate in a collective bargaining simulation.

Means of Assessment

Midterm Examination   20-30%
Final Examination   30%
Simulation   10-20%
Participation   10%
Case Study (Individual Paper)   20%

NOTE: students must achieve a grade of at least 50% on the combined examination components to pass the course.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the purpose and history of trade unions in Canada;
  • identify the current structures, organization and operations of unions;
  • explain public policy and legislation covering labour and employment relations;
  • analyze the processes of union certification, collective bargaining, and the administration of collective agreements;
  • identify effective negotiating approaches for resolving conflict and apply this knowledge by role-playing in a collective bargaining simulation; and
  • recognize contemporary issues in labour relations.

course prerequisites

Completion of 30 credits OR instructor permission OR active in:
PBD Advanced Human Resource Management; 
PDD Human Resource Management; or
PDD Business Law.





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.