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What are conciliation and mediation, and how do they relate to the labour negotiation process?

Conciliation and mediation are ways for a third party to help with negotiations and to identify the terms of a possible settlement.

Conciliation is required by the Labour Relations Act before a strike / lockout position becomes legal. A conciliator is a government-appointed third party that assists the two sides in clarifying their positions to each other. Mediation is not legally required, but is available if the two sides voluntarily agree.

mediator (often the same person as the conciliator) takes a more active role in negotiations, suggesting possible ways to settle the issues in dispute. However, neither a conciliator nor a mediator has the power to impose a settlement. Both conciliation and mediation are phases in the overall negotiations process.