Yesterday, Monday June 2, 2014, the Government of Newfoundland
and Labrador introduced brand new (and unexpected) amendments to
the Labour Relations Act (the Act). The full text of the
proposed amendment can be accessed here. If it is passed, Bill 22 would amend
the Act in several notable ways:
Amending the certification process to remove the possibility of
Removing the requirement for the parties to formally request a
Rearranging and restating provisions relating to conciliation
proceedings, strikes, and lockouts.
What does Bill 22 do?
Bill 22 reverses substantial changes to the certification
process introduced in June 2012. The most significant change in
2012 was the introduction of a card-based certification system,
granting automatic union certification where 65% or more of the
employees in the bargaining unit sign a union membership card. The
40% threshold to trigger a certification vote was maintained in
The proposed 2014 amendments remove the automatic certification
provision and return the Act to its former, vote-based
certification model. A vote will only occur where there is more
than 40% support for the union, based on a review of union
membership cards signed and submitted to the Labour Relations
Bill 22 also replaces the entirety of Parts V and VI of the
Act, which deal with conciliation proceedings and
strikes/lockouts, respectively. The changes relate to a more
significant emphasis on conciliation proceedings, and removal of
the requirement to request that conciliation proceedings take
What does this mean for you?
To date, Bill 22 has received only its first of three readings
in the House of Assembly. Second reading is set to take place
today, June 3, 2014. We will be watching the progress of the newly
proposed legislation closely, and will provide an update if
and when it is passed into law.
If you are currently undergoing certification proceedings, the
Bill provides that the current model, including the automatic
certification provision, will remain in effect for any
certification drive commenced while the current Act is in
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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