Human Resources Legislative Update
Significant Reforms to Federal Union Certification and Decertification Regime
Date: December 17, 2014
On December 16, 2014, Bill C-525, Employees’ Voting Rights Act, received Royal Assent. This omnibus legislation amends the Canada Labour Code (“Code”), the Parliamentary Employee and Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act to significantly reform the existing federal union certification and decertification processes under these three statutes.
Of particular note to federally regulated employers, amendments to the Code will come into force effective June 16, 2015 that:
- will eliminate the automatic “card check” certification process. Currently under the Code, a union can become the certified bargaining agent if it provides membership cards signed by a majority of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit. Certification votes are currently only required if the union demonstrates support of 35-50% of the bargaining unit. Under the Code amendments, a secret ballot certification vote will be required in every case, as is already the case in jurisdictions such as Ontario. The union will be required to demonstrate membership evidence of support by 40% of the bargaining unit to trigger the secret ballot vote; and
- will reduce the threshold of evidence required to trigger a secret ballot decertification vote from a 50% +1 majority, to 40% of employees in the bargaining unit no longer wishing to have the union represent them.
In both instances, a majority of votes cast in the secret ballot vote is required to either certify or decertify the union as bargaining agent.
An FTR Now outlining the impact of these significant reforms on federally regulated employers will be published on our website.