University of Calgary

Allen Ponak

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Faculty [OBHR]

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources


Allen is an emeritus professor specializing in labour and employment relations. He joined the Haskayne school in 1982, after holding faculty positions at McGill and UBC.  He was department chair for a number of years and founded and is director of the Industrial Relations Research Group. Allen received his B.A. from McGill, a master’s degree at Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

Allen’s area of expertise is labour-management relations. He currently teaches an arbitration course for undergraduates and MBA students. He is a frequent media guest on labour issues and regularly speaks at professional conferences.

Allen’s research has focused on dispute resolution and public policy. His work has appeared in most major labour and employment journals in Canada and United States. His most recent project has been a documentary film entitled “Beyond Collision: High Integrity Labour Relations” that Allen produced and narrated. The film highlights successful practices of four major Canadian employers and their unions and won a Silver Screen Award at the 2006 Los Angeles International Film and Video Festival. In 2007, he received the Gerard Dion Award from the Canadian Industrial Relations Association for “outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of Canadian and international industrial relations”.

Allen is the chair of the editorial board of the academic journal Relations industrielles. He is a vice-president of the National Academy of Arbitrators and is one of Canada’s leading arbitrators of union-management disputes. In 2007, Allen was named a part time vice chair of the federal Public Service Labour Relations Board. 


Gunderson, M., Ponak, A., & Taras, D. G., (eds.). (2005). Union-Management Relations in Canada. (5th). Toronto: Pearson Publishing. 558 pages. Leading industrial relations textbook in Canada. Used nationwide in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. Author/Co-author of:
Chapter 1. Introduction to Canadian Industrial Relations. Taras, D. G., Ponak, A., & Gunderson, M.
Chapter 5. The Management of Industrial Relations. Thompson, M. & Ponak, A.
Chapter 12. Strikes and Dispute Resolution. Gunderson, M., Hyatt, D., & Ponak, A. & Hebdon, R.
Chapter 16. Public Sector Collective Bargaining. Ponak, A., & Thompson, M.

Adell, B., Grant, M., & Ponak, A.  (2001). Strikes in Essential Services. Kingston: Queen’s IRC Press. 270 pages. National study of strikes and dispute resolution, analysing effectiveness of different Canadian policy approaches. Included 150+ interviews. Funded by $90,000 SSHRC grant.
Gunderson, M., Ponak, A., & Taras, D., (eds.). (2001). Union-Management Relations in Canada. (4th). Toronto:  Addison-Wesley Longman. Author/coauthor of Chapters 1, 11, 15.

Gunderson, M., & Ponak, A. (eds.). (1995). Union-Management Relations in Canada (3rd).  Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley. Author/Coauthor of Chapters 1, 11, 15, 17.
Anderson, J., Gunderson, M., & Ponak, A., (eds.). (1989). Union-Management Relations in Canada, (2nd).  Don Mills, 


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