June 09, 2014

Amendments to the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Act Remove Automatic Certification for Union Support Greater than 65%

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Newfoundland and Labrador’s Labour Relation Act, RSNL 1990, c L-1 (the “Act”), has been amended by Bill 22, which passed into law on June 5, 2014.  The amendments replace section 47(1) of the Act which allowed for the certification of a union as the bargaining agent for a group of employees without a vote where 65% of those employees had signed union cards. 

The law has been revised to require a secret vote where the application for certification is supported by not less than 40% of the group of employees to which the application relates.  This broadly reflects a return to the certification procedure that was in place prior to the 2012 amendments to the Act.

This revised process affords employers the opportunity to lawfully speak with its employees about unionization between the application for certification being made and the time of the vote.  It is important to note, however, that any communication or actions that are coercive or intimidating is still strictly prohibited.

Although less controversial in nature, the legislative amendments also modify the conciliation provisions in the Act.

A copy of Bill 22 may be found here.

If you have any questions about the changes to the vote requirement or to the conciliation provisions, please contact a member of our Employment and Labour group.

Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.