Human Resources Legislative Update
New Proposed Federal Bill to Reverse Canada Labour Code Certification and Decertification Reforms, C-377 Union Disclosure Obligations
Date: January 29, 2016
Further to its election platform, on January 28, 2016, the federal government introduced Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.
Among other things, this legislation would, if passed, amend the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) to effectively repeal key reforms enacted by Bill C-525 with respect to the federal certification and decertification processes (“C-525 reforms”). These reforms, which came into effect on June 16, 2015, were outlined in our FTR Now of December 18, 2014, “Elimination of Federal Card Check Union Certification and a Lower Threshold for Union Decertification Votes.”
Of particular note to federally regulated employers, Bill C-4 would:
- restore the previous “card check” system for union certification. Currently, the C-525 reforms require a secret ballot certification vote in every case, which is similar to requirements in other jurisdictions such as Ontario. The union is required to demonstrate membership evidence of support by 40% of the bargaining unit to trigger the secret ballot vote. Under the “card check” system, a union can become the certified bargaining agent if it provides membership evidence of more than 50% of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit. Certification votes would only be required if the union demonstrates support of 35-50% of the bargaining unit; and
- restore the previous, higher threshold of evidence required to trigger a secret ballot union decertification vote of 50% +1 majority. Currently, the Bill C-525 reforms require a lower threshold of 40% of employees in the bargaining unit no longer wishing to have the union represent them.In addition, Bill C-4 would amend the Income Tax Act to formally repeal the union financial disclosure obligations created by Bill C-377, which we discussed in a prior blog post. If passed in its present form, these amendments will come into force on Royal Assent.
We continue to monitor Bill C-4 and other legislative initiatives, and will provide updates as they become available.
Transitional provisions are set out to deal with applications before the Canada Industrial Relations Board that were filed after June 16, 2015 and before the date the Bill C-4 CLC amendments come into force (i.e. on the third day after the day it receives Royal Assent).