Unions and Labour Relations | Arts and Science ONLINE

Unions & Labour Relations

EMPR 200/3.0

This is an introductory course which focuses on the key factors which shape work and employment relations in Canada. Topics covered include aspects of labour and employment law, labour relations, human resources management, human behaviour in organizations, and labour markets and labour policies that govern workplace relations.

This course is part of the Queen’s Undergraduate Certificate in Employment Relations. The Certificate focuses on core elements of the field of work and employee-management relations, while taking account of social science perspectives from economics, law, management, and history. The Certificate provides a broad foundation in the field of employment relations, including the areas of labour/employment law, labour-management relations, conflict management and negotiations, human resources management, and labour policy. Taken together, these courses and the resulting Certificate form the basis for a recognized university credential that will support students who are seeking entry level jobs in labour relations and human resources management after leaving Queen’s.

This course involves teamwork, which strengthens sought-after transferable skills, including communication, relationship building, adaptability, conflict resolution, and more. Students will be asked to work with peers on activities contributing to graded assessments, with synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and engagement. Students can expect to be graded as Individually on their submission and individually on a peer evaluation of their teamwork skills. Queen’s University and the teaching team are committed to supporting students with strategies to succeed in a team-based setting.  

Please note: This course is typically offered in the winter term

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, successful learners should be able to:  

  1. Describe the legal framework governing union certification procedures and union-management relations in Canada.   

  1. Critically assess the various management strategies related to unionized workplaces.   

  1. Discuss the role of the collective agreement in unionized workplaces and interpret the application of contract language.   

  1. Critically analyze unions and their impacts on employees and firms in Canada.  

  1. Critically analyze and communicate employment relations and workplace issues  

  1. Apply labour relations theories to resolve conflict and address problems.  


Unions currently represent roughly thirty percent of the Canadian workforce, but the labour movement has a profound impact on all workplaces, both union and non-union. Studying unions involves a very different perspective from other disciplinary fields in employment relations, such as human resource management. For scholars and practitioners of labour relations, conflict is a natural feature of the employment relationship. While employees share some interests with employers, there are also diverging and conflicting interests between the parties. To study unions and labour relations, this course uses this pluralist perspective to analyze why workers form unions, how unions advocate for and represent employees, and what skills employers need to manage unionized workplaces.  

Course Topics




Introduction to Labour Relations  


The economic, social, and legal environment  


Employers and managers  


Unions and employees  


The roles of government  


Union organizing and certification  


The collective agreement  




Strikes, lockouts, and contract dispute resolution  


Administration of the collective agreement  


Public sector labour relations  


The future of unions  



Winter 2023
Course Dates: 
Jan. 9 - April 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
April 14 - 27, 2023


0% - Self-Assessment Quizzes (6)
20% - Current Event Discussion - Peer Discussion (2)
25% - Case Analysis - Individual Submission with Optional Group Work
25% - Simulation - Individual Submission with Group Work
30% - Proctored Final Exam
2% - Exit Tickets (2 out of 3) (BONUS)

**Evaluation subject to change**

Live Sessions

This course has required live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class.

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc. during the exam period.

Examity Statement

When you enroll in this online course, you are agreeing to write tests, quizzes, and block theory exams online with remote proctoring. The benefits of this are that you can complete the exam in your own space using your own computer. For each assessment, you will be using exam software developed at Queen’s, which is integrated with an online proctoring system. To ensure a successful exam experience, you are responsible for ensuring that your computer meets the Evaluation and Grading Policies.

8 minimum technical requirements, as described on the course web page, and that you are located in an area with sufficient high speed internet at the time of the exam. You will be given the opportunity to practice the exam initiation process in advance of any quizzes, tests or exams that require the use of this software


Robert Hickey (hickeyr@queensu.ca)

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study, listening and online activity for this course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.