Canada: Labour Law - British Columbia

Last Updated: December 19 2014
Practice Guide by Blaney McMurtry LLP
BRITISH COLUMBIA Labour Relations Code, RSBC 1996, c 244
Certification/De-certification Certification

Where a collective agreement is not in force, a trade union claiming to have as members in good standing not less than 45% of the employees in that unit may at any time apply to the board to be certified for the unit 18(1)

Unless the board consents, a trade union is not permitted to make an application for certification during a strike or lockout 18(3)

Board must be satisfied, before certification, that when a trade union applies for certification as the bargaining agent for a unit, that the unit is appropriate for collective bargaining and may include or exclude employees from the unit 22(1)

Where an application is received and the board is satisfied that at least 45% of the employees in the unit are members in good standing of the trade union, the board must order that a representation vote be taken among the employees in that unit 24(1)

The board may direct that another representation vote be held if less than 55% of the employees in the unit cast ballots 24(3)

If after a representation vote is taken, the board is satisfied that (a) the majority of votes favour representation by the trade union, and (b) the unit is appropriate for collective bargaining, the board must certify the trade union as the bargaining agent for the unit 25(2)

If, following a representation vote, the board is satisfied that (a) a majority of the votes are not in favour and (b) that the unit is not appropriate for collective bargaining, the trade union may not be certified as bargaining agent for the unit 25(3)

De-certification (Revocation of bargaining rights)

If, after undertaking any investigation it deems necessary, the board is satisfied that the trade union has ceased to be a trade union, or that the employer has ceased to be the employer of the employees in the unit, it may cancel certification 33(1)

Where 45% or more of employees of the unit sign an application for cancellation of certification, the board must order a representation vote to be held within 10 days 33(2)
  • If the majority of the votes are against having the trade union as bargaining agent, the board must cancel certification
  • If the majority of the votes favour having the trade union as bargaining agent, the application must be refused 33(4)
  • If the certification of a trade union is cancelled under any provision of this Code, a collective agreement between the trade union and the employer of the employees in the unit for which the certification is cancelled is void with respect to that unit 33(8)
Collective Bargaining Rules Notice must be given in order to commence collective bargaining 45(1)

Where notice has been given, the employer or trade union must not alter any term or condition of employment until (a) a strike or lockout has commenced, (b) a new collective agreement has been negotiated, or (c) the right of the trade union to represent the employees has be terminated 45(2)

Once notice is given, the parties must, within 10 days of the date of the notice, begin to bargain collectively in good faith, and make every reasonable effort to conclude a collective agreement or a renewal or revision thereof 47

A collective agreement is binding on (a) a trade union that has entered into it, and every employee of an employer who has entered into it and who is included or affected by it, and (b) an employer who has entered into it 48

Terms of a collective agreement must be carried out 49

Agreements made for less than one year must be deemed to have a term of one year from the commencement date, and must not be terminated before the expiry of the one year term 50(1)

If an agreement is for more than one year, then after 8 months, either party may apply to the minister for leave to have it terminated at the conclusion of one year 50(2)

All parties to a collective agreement must, within 30 days of its execution, file a copy of it with the board 51

Either party may apply to have a mediator assigned to assist the parties in negotiating a first collective agreement 55(1)

Every collective agreement must provide that there will be no strikes or lockouts during the term of the agreement; must contain the provision: "There must be no strikes or lockouts so long as this agreement continues to operate." 58
Dispute Resolution in Collective Agreements Arbitration

Every collective agreement must have a provision governing dismissal or discipline of an employee bound by it 84(1)

Every collective agreement must contain a provision for final and conclusive settlement without stoppage of work, by arbitration or another method agreed to by the parties 84(2)

The minister may modify an arbitration provision where, at the request of one of the parties, it is examined and deemed unsuitable 85

Where the parties fail to appoint an arbitration board, the director shall appoint one 86

Either party may, within 45 days of the completion of the steps of the grievance procedure contained in their agreement, may request a director to appoint a settlement officer to confer with the parties and assist them to settle the difference 87(1)

Arbitration boards have, where appointed, the authority necessary to provide a final and conclusive settlement of a dispute arising under a collective agreement 89

Parties may appeal the decision of an arbitration board to the Labour Relations Board, which may set aside, remit, and stay the proceedings of an arbitration board hearing or decision, on the ground that (a) a party has been or is likely to be denied a fair hearing or, (b) the decision of the arbitration board is inconsistent with the principles implied or expressed in the Code or another Act dealing with labour relations 99
Conciliation Mediation

A mediation officer may be appointed where (a) notice has been given to commence collective bargaining, (b) either party requests, in writing, that a mediator be so assigned, and (c) the request is accompanied by a statement of the matters the parties have and have not agreed to in the course of collective bargaining 74(1)

Minister may appoint a mediator at any time during process of collective bargaining 74(4)

Parties conferring with a mediation officer must provide the information requested of them by the mediation officer 74(6)

Minister may appoint a special mediator to assist the parties in settling the terms and conditions of a collective agreement or a renewal or revision thereof 76(1)

Associate chair may appoint a fact finder in respect of a collective bargaining 77(1); fact finder confers with the parties and inquires into the matters agreed and those that remain in dispute for the purposes of a report to the associate chair 77(4)
Strike / Lock-out Procedures If a strike or lockout has commenced, the trade union or employer commencing the strike or lockout must immediately inform the chair in writing specifying the date the strike or lockout commenced 75(1)

Before a strike or lockout is commenced, the employer of the employees may request a vote of the employees with respect to the last offer tendered 78(1)

Before a strike or lockout is commenced, the trade union may, if more than one employer is represented, request that a vote of those employers be taken with respect to the last offer tendered 78(2)

Strikes and lockouts are prohibited during the term of a collective agreement 57

Strikes and lockouts are prohibited before bargaining has taken place and a vote has been conducted 59

A strike must not commence until a vote to strike has been taken, and written notice has been provided to both of the employer and the board 60

A lockout must not commence until a vote to lock out has been taken, and written notice has been provided to both the trade union of the employees and the board 61

A trade union or its members which are lawfully on strike or locked out may picket at or near a site or place where a member of a trade union performs work under the control or direction of the employer if the work is an integral and substantial part of the employer's operation and the site is that of the lawful strike or lockout 65(3)

The board may define the site or place at which picketing is permitted 65(6)

Picketing may be conducted only as permitted herein 67

Employers may not, during an authorized strike or lockout, make use of replacement workers 68

Employer must not require any person who works at a place in respect of which the strike or lockout is taking place to perform any work of an employee in the bargaining unit that is on strike or is locked out without the consent of the person 68(2)
Unfair Labour Practices Employers and their agents must not participate in or interfere with the formation, selection or administration of a trade union or contribute financial or other support to it 6(1)

6(3) Employers must not:
  • Discharge, suspend, transfer, lay off or discipline an employee, refuse to employ or discriminate against a person in regard to employment because the person (i) proposes to become or seeks to induce others to become a member of a trade union, or (ii) participates in the promotion, formation or administration of a trade union
  • Discharge, suspend, transfer, lay off or discipline an employee except for proper cause when a trade union is in the process of conducting a certification campaign for employees of that employer
  • Impose contract of employment a condition that seeks to or restrains an employee from exercising his or her rights under the Code
  • Intimidate, dismiss, threaten, or make any other inducement to compel an employee to refrain from becoming or continuing to be a member of a trade union
  • Use or authorize the use of the services of a person in contravention of section 68
  • Refuse to agree with a trade union certified under the Code that all employees in the unit will pay union dues from time to time to the trade union
Statutory Tribunal Labour Relations Board

140 Powers:
  • Summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce evidence as required
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Examine evidence submitted to it in respect of a trade union seeking certification
  • Examine documents relating to: trade union certification, trade union forming part of a council of trade unions seeking certification, or employers' organization seeking accreditation
  • Examine records and make inquiries as required
  • Require an employer to post and keep posted notices it considers necessary
  • Enter during regular working hours any land, ship, vessel, vehicle, aircraft or other means of conveyance or transport, factor, workshop or place of any kind where: (a) work is or has been done by employees, (b) an employer carries on business or (c) anything is taking place or has taken place concerning a mater referred to it; the board may also inspect any work, material, appliance, machinery, equipment or thing and interrogate any person in relation to it
  • Order that a representation vote be taken or that ballots case in the vote be sealed and not counted until the parties have been given an opportunity to be heard by the board
  • Enter an employer's premises to conduct a representation vote during working hours
  • Authorize a person to do anything that the board may do and report back to it
  • Adjourn or postpone a hearing
  • Shorten or lengthen the time for beginning a proceeding or taken any action in relation thereto
  • Amend or permit amendment of a document filed in a proceeding
  • Add a party at any stage of a proceeding
This document is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information in this document without first seeking legal advice. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any specific questions on any legal matter, you should consult a professional legal services provider.

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