Youth and New Professionals
Greater Toronto's Top Employers 2019
Canada's Best Diversity Employers 2019
Canada's Top Employers for Young People 2019
Focus Area Information

Focus Area Information

The Ontario Internship Program places interns across the Ontario Public Service in 7 focus areas. Each focus area represents a line of work that is essential to serving the people of Ontario. You are encouraged to select the focus area that matches your skills and interests when you apply to the program. Check out the various focus areas to learn which stream will provide you with the best opportunity to reach your career goals:

Labour Relations

Labour Relations in the Ontario Public Service

Effective labour relations are critical to the OPS, a diverse working environment comprised of about 65,000 employees in more than 25 ministries and agencies. In a workforce that is over 85 per cent unionized, labour relations professionals represent the employer in ongoing interactions with employees and union representatives. A labour relations career in the OPS involves:

  • Representing the employer in collective bargaining
  • Representing the employer at conciliations, mediation, arbitration and other quasi-judicial panels
  • Working cooperatively with each of the OPS’s bargaining agents including Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Association of Management, Administrative & Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO), Professional Engineers Government of Ontario (PEGO) Association of Law Officers of the Crown/Ontario Crown Attorneys Association (ALOC/OCAA), the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) and the Association of Physicians and Dentists in the Public Service (AOPDPS)
  • Interpreting provisions of the collective agreements, employment policies and employment legislation such as the Public Service of Ontario Act, the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, the Employment Standards Act, and the Human Rights Code
  • Working with management, employees, and union representation on grievance administration
  • Providing labour relations advice to ministries on policy and corporate matters such as appropriate disclosures, restructuring and divestment
  • Developing critical techniques and strategies to build and maintain effective labour relations.

Please note the majority of Labour Relations assignments are within the Greater Toronto Area with some assignments in Peterborough and Oshawa.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

We are seeking candidates who possess certain knowledge and can demonstrate a variety of skills and abilities including:


  • Awareness of legislative framework and ability to interpret and apply legislation, collective agreements and policies: such as Ontario labour and employment legislation, multiple collective agreements and a wide range of HR policies, procedures and guidelines related to recruitment, health, safety and wellness, performance management, and learning and development
  • Knowledge of industrial/labour relations: refers to knowledge of the relationship between unions and management, unions themselves, management, government, unions and government, or between employers and non-represented employees. Knowledge includes an understanding of a range of subjects including employment law, collective bargaining, workplace diversity, human resources management and the application of conflict resolutions techniques to resolve workplace issues
  • Mediation: involves intervention to settle disagreements or disputes. It requires maintaining open communication and ensuring the interests of all parties are heard

Skills and Abilities

  • Collaboration: working with others to solve a problem or achieve a common goal that is mutually beneficial
  • Communication skills: presenting information using traditional and/or digital media in a clear, concise and accurate manner through effective written, oral and visual communication
  • Conflict resolution skills: to help employees, managers, human resource professionals and bargaining agents work towards joint problem-solving
  • Customer service: involves anticipating and identifying client needs to respond and provide better services with a goal of maximizing client satisfaction. Customers and clients may include the public, colleagues, partners, and peers
  • Influencing: refers to the ability to bring about change by compelling others to action
  • Problem solving skills: refers to the ability to recognize, understand and resolve a problem by breaking it apart into smaller pieces, and evaluating options and identifying alternative solutions
  • Professional judgement: refers to the ability to draw on one’s own experience, knowledge and expertise to demonstrate good judgement and relating professional knowledge (technical, theoretical and/or experiential) to specific problems
  • Relationship management: involves building and maintaining strong working relationships with clients, stakeholders, partners and colleagues and demonstrating respect, ethics and extending trust in order to achieve organizational goals
  • Research and analytical skills: to develop options, make recommendations, and provide advice to managers and human resources professionals on grievance management, collective agreement entitlements, and OPS policies, practices, and procedures
  • Work management: involves prioritizing tasks, managing competing priorities as to effectively manage time in order to meet deadlines.

What to Expect

As a Labour Relations intern, your work could include:

Managing Conflicts and Issues

  • Gain practical expertise in conflict resolution and client service skills
  • Prepare options and proposals for the resolution of disputed issues and grievances
  • Prepare and present research that reflects an understanding of relevant case law and/or legislation and how it relates to or affects current issues.

Mediating and Negotiating

  • Work on grievance administration, negotiations and labour relations research
  • Prepare and assist in the presentation of cases before the Grievance Settlement Board and other resolution forums
  • Participate in the negotiation of collective agreements.

Consulting and Advising Clients

  • Investigate complaints and provide collective agreement interpretations/advice to HR professionals and managers
  • Assist with the development of interpretive bulletins and practical guides on human resources and labour relations in the OPS.

Training and Development

  • Assist in the development and delivery of labour relations training programs to ministries.

Looking Ahead

This is just the beginning of your career in the Ontario Public Service.

An internship is an opportunity to learn and develop your labour relations skills along with your communications, research and consulting skills in the public service. It is intended to be the start of a public service career and will prepare and develop you for job opportunities in the Ontario Public Service. An internship in this area can prepare you for a career in several areas, among them:

  • Employee Relations Advisor
  • Corporate Staff Relations Officer
  • Mediator/Arbitrator
  • Operations Manager.