The Montreal Symphony canceled the remainder of its season Thursday as the result of a conflict with the its musicians' union.

The conflict involved changes in work rules that the musicians said would overburden them and a wage package they said was "insulting."

The symphony's management had offered the musicians an annual wage increase through 2009 that averaged 0.9 percent each year. The musicians have been working without a contract since August 2003, and had announced they were striking next Monday, endangering the orchestra's touring and recording schedules.

Like many other symphony orchestras, the Montreal is the victim of a financial crunch reflecting increased labor costs and lower attendance by an increasingly older audience. It has acknowledged a $2.7 million accumulated deficit, but its musicians claim it has not been aggressive enough in raising funds.