Blurred lines: Managers may have right to bargain collectively

February 26, 2017 - by: Valérie Gareau-Dalpé 0 COMMENTS

by Valérie Gareau-Dalpé

In several jurisdictions across Canada, the issue of unionization of managers and supervisors is a thorny one. In many cases, unionization is restricted to “employees,” a definition from which managers are excluded. In the province of Québec, the exclusion is based partly on the potential for conflicts of interest in having managers collectively bargain their own conditions of employment.

In two surprising decisions, the Tribunal administratif du travail of Québec (Tribunal) has questioned the constitutionality of this managerial exclusion under Quebec’s Labour Code. While the decisions stem from an administrative tribunal and have yet to make their way to various appeal processes available through courts, as the case may be, they could have ramifications in other provinces.

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Strangers at the table: Employers may need to accept observers in collective bargaining

December 11, 2016 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

In Canada, collective agreements are generally accessible to the public. Canadian jurisdictions provide mechanisms to file collective agreements with government authorities, and it is not uncommon for the union or the employer to post their agreement on the web. However, the process of bargaining itself is private and typically carefully guarded by the parties. This allows for a free flow of information between the parties in order to achieve better negotiations.

In a recent case, a Canadian labor board was faced with a difficult question: What happens when one side tries to bring “observers” to the negotiation table? Surprisingly, the board ruled that observers could have a seat at the table.

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Arbitration awards: a permanent part of an employee file

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested

In Canada, amnesty clauses are commonly found in collective agreements. The purpose of such clauses is to erase disciplinary measures from an employee’s file after a given period, usually between six and 24 months. Therefore, normally employers cannot consider disciplinary measures that predate the amnesty period when determining the appropriate disciplinary measure to be imposed. read more…

Ontario court finds government’s ‘intransigent’ bargaining strategy unconstitutional

June 19, 2016 - by: Christopher Pigott 0 COMMENTS

by Chris Pigott

In 2015, we reported on the Supreme Court of Canada’s “New Labour Trilogy”—three landmark constitutional law decisions from January 2015 that called into question basic aspects of Canadian labor law. Those decisions sparked a massive debate in the labor law community as to whether Canadian workers had a brand new set of greatly expanded workplace rights.

Just over one year later, some lower courts appear to be taking the view that the New Labour Trilogy did not reshape Canadian workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively, and take strike action. read more…

BC Court of Appeal takes a narrow view of the SCC’s New Labour Trilogy

August 09, 2015 - by: Christopher Pigott 0 COMMENTS

By Christopher Pigott

In a previous article, we reported on the Supreme Court of Canada’s “New Labour Trilogy,” a set of three landmark constitutional law decisions released in January 2015 that raised questions about basic aspects of Canada’s labor relations system. Unsurprisingly, the decisions sparked a huge debate in the Canadian labor law community as to whether the Supreme Court of Canada had reshaped Canadian workers’ rights to organize, bargain collectively, and take strike action. read more…

Changes coming to union certification process for federally regulated employers

May 17, 2015 - by: Daniel Mayer 0 COMMENTS

by Daniel Mayer

On June 16, important changes regarding union certification and decertification for federally regulated employers in Canada will come into effect. The federally regulated sector includes interprovincial and international transportation companies, airlines, railways, banks, and employees who work for the federal government. read more…

Supreme Court of Canada reshapes labor law (again)

March 08, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by John D.R. Craig, Christopher D. Pigott, and Brandon Wiebe

In the January 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Court found, for the first time, that Canadian workers have a constitutional “right to strike.”

In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court overturned almost 30 years of case law that had expressly established that the guarantee of freedom of association in section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect strike activity. read more…

Union ordered to pay punitive damages, employer legal costs following illegal strike

October 12, 2014 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski

Following a Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ruling that an illegal strike had occurred against Canada Post on two dates in November 2010, the corporation sought damages from the union. The issue went before an arbitrator. read more…

Expedited union elections: The Canadian experience

April 20, 2014 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

Many Canadian provinces have in recent years transitioned to an expedited union certification vote system. Votes typically take place within five or 10 business days of a union application.

From the perspective of Canadian employers, this is better than the previous “card check” system that was in place in most jurisdictions and is still in place in some (such as the federal sector). But this does not mean that the expedited vote system in Canada is satisfactory. read more…

Mandatory flu vaccination/masking policy upheld

December 08, 2013 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Charles G. Harrison

A recent labor arbitration in British Columbia upheld the employers’ policy requiring annual flu vaccinations or masking for their healthcare staff. Coming as it does during flu season, this is a timely decision. read more…

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