Collective bargaining negotiations between CFL and CFLPA have ‘hit a wall’: report

Talks between the CFL and the CFLPA have reached an impasse with just nine days to go until the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement, according to a report from Postmedia’s Dan Barnes.

“Negotiations between the Canadian Football League and the CFL Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement have ‘hit a wall,’ according to a source who requested anonymity.

The two sides worked well into Wednesday night during a marathon bargaining session in Toronto, and met as well on Thursday morning, and are scheduled to speak again next week. The current CBA expires on May 14.

It is believed the two sides are no longer involved in the ‘interest-based’ negotiating phase that had facilitated agreements on several issues.

It’s believed there are less than a handful of major issues remaining for the two sides to tackle, and they include the level of the salary cap, as well as roster ratio. They were characterized as ‘significant hurdles’ by the source.

The two sides are not expected to reconvene until next Wednesday, piling on the pressure to reach a deal before veterans report to training camp.

The existing collective agreement between the CFL and players’ association was ratified in 2019 and amended prior to the 2021 season to help facilitate a safe return under pandemic restrictions.

On Monday, CFLPA membership voted 95 percent in favour of giving the union permission to strike should an agreement not be reached before training camp. The vote is part of the standard process of collective bargaining, but provides considerable pressure as the deadline looms.

Players took a massive financial hit over the course of the pandemic but appear to be on more trusting footing with the league than in years past, in part due to increased financial transparency. However, the league’s desire to reduce the Canadian ratio and unwillingness to provide financial guarantees has proved to be divisive in negotiations.

The CFL has reportedly offered a 10-year deal to the players, but the union will not budge until their members receive an increased share of league revenues.