Another briefing note on recent changes to Canadian labour laws from our friends at Sherrard Kuzz.
As a result of recent federal legislative amendments, a federally-regulated workplace may now be certified without a secret ballot vote.
On June 19, 2017, Bill C-4 received Royal Assent and is currently in force, amending the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, and the Public Service Labour Relations Act. The Canadian Industrial Relations Board may now certify a federal workplace without a vote where a union is able to demonstrate it has membership support from a majority of employees in the bargaining unit (i.e., 50%+1). Although federally-regulated employers had previously been subject to card-based certification, the Federal government introduced changes in 2015 to require a secret ballot vote in all certification applications. Bill C-4 also requires that an employee seeking to decertify a workplace must now show support of a majority of employees in the bargaining unit for the application to be considered (not 40% as was the case prior to Bill C-4). This higher threshold was also in place prior to the 2015 amendments.
In addition to re-introducing card-based certification, Bill C-4 repeals the financial reporting requirements for labour organizations and trusts introduced in the Income Tax Act by Bill C-377 in 2015.
Bill C-4 is not good news for an employer governed by the Canada Labour Code, because trade unions may seek to leverage this ‘easier’ route to certify a greater number of federally regulated workplaces.