The Labour Relations Board has confirmed that strike votes
must be meaningful. In effect, collective bargaining must
have progressed at least to the point where it is clear what is in
dispute before a strike vote can meet the legal requirements
of the Labour Relations Code.
There has been a growing frustration over unions quickly moving
to strike votes and strike notice in the middle of collective
bargaining. The Code requires collective bargaining,
followed by a strike vote, followed by 72 hour strike notice before
a union is in a legal strike position. Too often, unions have
been holding strike votes early in the bargaining
process. But it is not helpful, and in many cases actually
impedes the process, when the employer has to turn some
of its attention away from bargaining to worry about facing
strike action in as little as 72 hours.
The recent ruling in All Tech. Transport Ltd. (well known to
Vancouver parking violators as Buster's Towing) is an
important decision to help prevent normal course collective
bargaining from prematurely turning into a full-blown labour
The parties proceeded in bargaining for a first collective
agreement by discussing non-monetary issues before getting
into the monetary. There were brief discussions on some
monetary issues at a couple of meetings, before the parties
returned to discuss non-monetary items. The parties even
participated in mediation at the Board. But there was never a
comprehensive exchange on monetary issues before the strike vote
The employer challenged the validity of the strike vote.
The Board found in the employer's favour, and summarized the
requirements this way:
... [the discussions on monetary items] were not the kind of
discussions which satisfy what the Board has characterized as an
exchange of views on all the key or central issues in dispute for
the purposes of Section 59(1) of the Code.
... there must be an exchange of proposals and there must be
some discussion (an exchange of views) on all the key or central
issues in dispute ... .
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).