On April 30, 2019, the NDP/Green Coalition Government introduced the long anticipated proposed amendments to the British Columbia Labour Relations Code.
The proposed changes, which may be pushed through into law quickly, will significantly impact both union and non-union employers. “Highlights” include:
- Restricting employer free speech during union organizing campaigns;
- Reducing the timeframe in which a union certification vote will take place, following an application;
- Lowering the bar for “automatic certification” without a vote when an unfair labour practice has been committed;
- Extending the “statutory freeze” post certification from 4 to 12 months;
- Making it easier for unions to arbitrate first collective agreements;
- Imposing union successorship upon the retendering of contracts in the health, cleaning, security, food services and bus transportation sectors. This change will be retroactive to April 30, 2019;
- Imposing new timelines on the expedited arbitration process under the Code, that significantly erode a party’s right to a fair hearing and a reasoned decision; and
- The elimination of education as an “essential service”.
Perhaps the only good news is the Government did not eliminate the general requirement for a secret ballot certification vote, as the NDP was apparently unable to get the Green Party to support the elimination of that democratic process.
The proposed changes are significant, and swing the pendulum back toward labour, without due consideration to the impact on employers, on the economy and on British Columbia as a place to do business.
In the coming days, we will provide our full analysis of the proposed changes, and their likely impact on your business.
Read the British Columbia’s Government press release here
Read our latest In a Flash entitled An Overhaul of BC’s Employment Standards Legislation: Bill 8 – What Employers Need to Know here.
If you have questions regarding the impact of these changes, or steps you can take to reduce their impact, please do not hesitate to contract one of the lawyers in our British Columbia office.